Califonia Bountiful

Living the dream, sharing the kitchen

Mar./Apr. 2013 California Bountiful magazine

They're surfers, they're friends, they're chefs. San Clemente natives whip up recipes for California Bountiful readers.

Rayne Frey, left, and Moriah Robison share the title of executive chef at Tabu Grill in Laguna Beach.

There is no room for big egos in the snug open kitchen at Tabu Grill in Laguna Beach, so it's a good thing Rayne Frey and Moriah Robison, who share the title of executive chef, get along so well.

"We've been longtime friends," Frey said. "We know we can work together and we hold the same work ethic."

The two surfers and San Clemente natives were housemates while Frey attended Laguna Culinary Arts. It wasn't long before Robison, inspired by what his buddy was learning and popular cooking shows like Top Chef, took up classes as well.

"I was like, 'There's no way I'm letting him live my dream,'" Robison laughed.

The friends followed each other again when Robison began working at Tabu Grill, a place Frey had always kept an eye on.

"When I heard (Robison) was working there, I was like, 'No way! I wanted to work there,'" Frey recalled.

The two cooked under Tabu's former executive chef, Kevin Jerrold-Jones, and even joined him at his Los Angeles-based private event company before returning to Tabu as an executive chef team. Now the two work side by side, whipping up signature dishes like mero sea bass in miso soy truffle yuzu broth.

But it isn't just their friendship that makes them ideal partners. It's also their dedication to quality cooking.

"We use really top-notch protein," Frey said.

"And we try to stick with what's in season to assure top quality," Robison added, in reference to their produce.

It's their core philosophy, they agree, that makes the kitchen big enough for the both of them. As Frey put it, "We both want to be the best at what we do."

Sarah Mosqueda


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