A hotel restaurant breaking boundaries with from-scratch honest cooking

Situated in the heart of Orange County, just off the 405 and 133, lies 90 Pacifica Restaurant & Bar, a satisfying restaurant nestled right inside the DoubleTree Irvine Spectrum. Owned and operated by Pacific Hospitality Group, the DoubleTree sets the tone for a friendly, hospitable, from scratch restaurant.

At the helm of the kitchen is Chef Scott Raczek, whose honest approach to cooking shines through his food.

“I am passionate about simple, tasteful cooking, mostly organic, elevating simple ingredients to its peak texture and taste,” he says.

Some of his signatures include his 24-hour brined Jidori chicken, jumbo luscious lump crab cake served with ice cold crisp watermelon, and his spicy ahi poke with tempura wasabi sticky rice balls. Chef Raczek believes a perfect dish balances on key notes, such as saltiness, spiciness, sweetness and acid.

Originally, Chef Raczek studied architecture, but after he landed a job in a kitchen during his studies, he was hooked. He soon found similarities between the two in that both required a strong vision to succeed. Given the keys to his first kitchen at 23, Chef Raczek brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the table. He believes in a hands-on approach to cooking, teaching to taste and investing in his staff. 

Chef Raczek not only enjoys the process of cooking and the delicious flavors that are a result, but rather the all-encompassing experience it creates.

“I am truly humbled by the emotional connection food, wine, and the conversations that are created by the company of our guests,” he says.

Earlier this year, Chef Raczek was one of the top chefs in Orange County chosen to participate in the annual Table for 10 chef event held at the Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort, benefiting The Teen Project and Vocational Visions.

At Table for 10, Chef Raczek created some truly original dishes.

“We paired duck foie gras and a sweet potato tart with a brush of brambleberry balsamic basil jam and a petit Kobe filet with a crust of bitter buttered char nestled with egg noodles tossed with briny buttery sea urchin roe, to name a couple,” he says.

If that is not enough, all the courses were perfectly paired with Trinitas Cellars red and white wines, which is the vineyard owned by its CEO and founder Tim Busch.

Chef Raczek balances his days at either 90 Pacifica or Meritage Restaurant & Bar, the sister restaurant located at the DoubleTree in Santa Ana. Meritage shares the same principles of from scratch, honest cooking, where the ingredients are made to shine. More than likely, you can find Chef Raczek right on the line with his crew, teaching, tasting and investing in the team.