Ranch 45 welcomes Executive Chef Aron Schwartz


In March 2020, when the surge in COVID-19 cases first caused restaurants to close across San Diego County, Chef Aron Schwartz was the executive chef for a major downtown San Diego hotel. He was furloughed, but he chose to keep his chef’s apron on. While his wife Pam continued to work as general manager at Ranch 45 Local Provisions in Solana Beach, Chef Aron focused on cooking inventive meals at home for their two teenaged children. By the time restaurant restrictions lifted, Chef Aron found himself in the kitchen again—this time at Ranch 45.

Is it difficult to adjust to working in Ranch 45’s kitchen after overseeing the culinary program at a big downtown hotel?  Not at all. I enjoy the uniqueness of the size of the Ranch and prefer it to the hotel. It is more intimate. The move resulted in a better balance between work and my personal life. And of course, I don’t miss the commute.

In general, how would you describe the food at Ranch 45 and what makes it so popular? Ranch 45 is dedicated to using locally sourced ingredients. We work directly with like-minded ranchers, farmers, fishermen, and wineries, so we can tell our customers exactly where their food came from. We care about freshness. We have a fresh, easily approachable menu. And we keep things simple. I think that Ranch 45’s straightforward approach makes us appealing to all tastes.

How are you adding your personal touch to the menu? I like to introduce creative dishes that require a little exploration for our customers. One of my current favorites is the Dry-aged bone marrow, Dutch steak, Chino Farms corn, and house-made sourdough bread with red wine sauce. We serve the wine sauce separately so the customer can pour it themselves. Many people have told us that it’s the first time they’ve tasted dry-aged bone marrow and they are big fans.

Are there any culinary directions you want to pursue at Ranch 45? I would like to expand our dry-aged beef program. Dry aging makes beef more tender and richer in flavor. I also want to participate in a broader effort to help educate local chefs and the public about beef as a source of nutrition. I believe that the more we know about the food we are eating, the more we appreciate and enjoy it.

Chef Aron’s prized Dry-aged bone marrow and Dutch Steak entree
Chef Aron’s prized Dry-aged bone marrow and Dutch Steak entree