By Karen Billing/Staff Writer
The staff at the elegant Addison restaurant, located adjacent to The Grand Del Mar, works together to create a nightly harmony. Chef William Bradley said execution is everything, from the bartender to sommelier, hostess to wait staff, chef to dishwasher.
“We all have to sing the same song,” Bradley said.
Their esteemed conductor, Bradley, has just been tapped for one of the highest culinary honors in his field, the prestigious designation of Grand Chef from Relais & Chateaux hotel and restaurant group. Only 160 chefs in the world have achieved this honor. The Relais & Châteaux Congress, which Bradley attended, officially presented selected new members of this international organization at its annual recognition ceremony, held on Nov. 7 in Cape Town, South Africa.
To receive the honor, Bradley had to apply to the group in Paris and also be sponsored by other Grand Chefs. Relais & Chateaux then secretly visited the restaurant for meals six times before granting him the Grand Chef.
“It’s disbelief,” Bradley said, saying his team worked so hard to bring this accolade to San Diego. “It’s very satisfying because of the teamwork it took to get. It was a goal and vision of mine. It’s a very humbling experience that still hasn’t really sunk in.”
He said this is the highest honor of his career and he is excited to be a part of such an elite group of chefs.
“But it’s also treacherous at the same time to maintain that high level, it’s going to be a lot of hard work,” Bradley said.
The new kitchen motto is not to rest on their laurels.
Bradley first fell into the kitchen out of necessity—he was 16 and he needed a job. A fortuitous job as a line cook forever changed him.
“The job turned into a love affair,” Bradley said. “I’ve never done anything else.”
Bradley took a hands-on approach to learning the art of cooking, working under chefs, developing his skills and sharpening his own unique palate.
The San Diego native worked as an executive chef for Vu in Scottsdale, Ariz., before coming back to open Addison four years ago. Bradley said he feels like he’s really grown here, admitting a few gray hairs have sprouted on the way to making Addison Southern California’s only Forbes five star and AAA Five Diamond restaurant.
A Carmel Valley resident, Bradley rides his bike to and from work every day and once at home, his wife does all the cooking.
Bradley is mostly inspired by French chefs and names his greatest strength as “daring to be different.” He doesn’t follow trends or get wrapped up in the latest food fashions.
“I have a huge respect for tradition and for me it’s about the best products applied by the best technique to make the best flavors,” Bradley said.
The menu at Addison always changes with the season, but Bradley does believe in repetition, keeping great flavors that will keep customers coming back—he says they do a great risotto.