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Q&A with Chef Daniel Shemtob of TLT Food
Jan 8, 2015
We had a quick chat with Daniel Shemtob, the chef-owner of Irvine Spectrum Center’s newest culinary resident, TLT Food.
Fans already know of Shemtob’s claim to fame from his winning days on Season Two of Food Network‘s The Great Food Truck Race, where The Lime Truck ultimately won with its flavorful SoCal inflected fare. Since then, Shemtob has successfully launched TLT Food in L.A. and now, he’s circled back to his roots in O.C. He shares what’s next for TLT Food and his current faves:
Z: Can you describe to us the concept behind TLT Food and what sets it apart from other restaurants?
DS: The concept behind TLT is simple. Deliver amazing quality food with complex and delicious flavors quickly and at an affordable price. People love good food.
Z: Did you specifically choose to open in Irvine? If so, why?
DS: I have always wanted a TLT in Irvine. We started The Lime Truck in Irvine and all of the support of the local community is why TLT is a brand today. Also, Irvine is awesome in the sense that you have so much diversity and exploration of different cultures, it definitely shaped how I cook and look at flavors and ingredients for the rest of my life.
Z: What are TLT Food’s signature, must-try items?
DS: This is a tough question since it’s like picking a favorite child. I will pick a few but I think our menu is really balanced. Any dish you end up with has my total faith that you’ll love it. We also evolve the menu monthly and add three new AMAZING specials every month. So, drumroll … favorites are: Short Rib Taco, Pork Belly Nachos, Brussels Sprouts, and Ahi Tuna Tostada.
Z: Any new or upcoming dishes you want to share?
DS: This month’s specials are particularly dear to heart. Our Blue Crab Grilled Cheese was one of our signature hits but thanks to Yelp and the mixed reviews of it being tasty but too heavy (just eat less of it), we took it off the menu. We now re-launched it as a special and it’s a little different than before but it’s soo freakin’ good. We also added a broken rice dish with our signature chimi, miso pickled radishes, and pork belly.
Z: Tell us about the cool limeade beverages at TLT:
DS: Everyday we switch our fresh limeades, and you can spike them!
Z: What are you favorite types of foods to eat when you’re not working?
DS: KOREAN, KOREAN, KOREAN!
Z: Your favorite three restaurants in O.C.?
DS: House of Kabob, Pho 79, Playground 2.0
Go visit TLT Food at Irvine Spectrum Center today! The restaurant is located behind Sports Authority: 949-727-1414.