Califonia Bountiful

Food and fun

January/February 2021 California Bountiful magazine

Chef is enamored with life in the kitchen

At 6 feet, 9 inches tall, San Diego chef Daniel England stands out in the kitchen. Photo: © 2021 Walter Wilson

Daniel England vividly recalls the night he discovered his life's work. He was only 13, starting a job as a bus boy at an Italian restaurant—one of the few employers within walking distance of his upstate New York home.

"I remember being in the kitchen, watching the cooks interact and the music blasting and the fire from the grill and all the smells and aromas, and the swearing," he said with a laugh. "It was just the culture and vibe, and I was like, oh, I want to do this. This looks like so much fun."

England is still having fun—now as corporate chef of OMG Hospitality Group, overseeing a catering business and six San Diego restaurants ranging from seafood-centric (Waterbar) to American comfort food (Union Kitchen & Tap).

"What I like most is that every day is different," he said. "All day long, I get to talk about food, cook food, play with food, whether it's talking with the other chefs or working with the cooks or explaining dishes to our servers or managers, or even talking with guests about it. I literally just talk about food all day long and that's my passion. I get to do that every day, so I don't really have a bad day."

England, who said he enjoys the opportunity to change menus with the seasons, created a five-course winter feast especially for California Bountiful readers.

"With COVID, a lot more people are eating in with their families, so I thought, what can we do to help people eat together?" he said. "That's why I built the menu family style, with things I thought were warm and just comforting."

Barbara Arciero


Maple bourbon braised lamb shanks with white cheddar grits and pecan horseradish gremolata

Curry roasted acorn squash with mint pesto

Beets and burrata

Fig and chevre tart

Pan-roasted branzino with celery root puree

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