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Top Chef Experience: 24 Carrots Brings Bold New Flavors to the Table

By: 
Megan McCarty Lara Burnap

24 Carrots, the Orange County catering company known for top-notch, trendsetting cuisine, has upped its game with new executive chef Ashley Santo Domingo. No stranger to challenges, the innovative former Top Chef contestant and nominee for the James Beard Foundation Rising Star Chef Northwest award has been setting catering trends since taking over 24 Carrots’ cooking range last February. Known for her unique twist on traditional dishes, Domingo constantly reinvents comfort food by finding new ways to surprise guests, whether it’s displaying an item in an avant-garde manner or finding a new way to express a dish, such as her signature caramelized pork belly that fuses pickled German cabbage with Vietnamese flavors to create a balance of salty caramel flavors and the fatty pork, with an unexpected sour kick.

To create seamless events, Domingo works closely with 24 Carrots creative art director Arpi Torosyan to infuse the menu with the couple’s personal tastes as well as any themes or color palettes. “We strive to make weddings super-unique. If a couple loves lavender, we find ways to work it into the menu or play on the color by picking specific fruits or vegetables that tie into the theme,” explains Torosyan. And freshness is key to Domingo; she crafts everything in-house—from the simple syrups poured at the bar to the marinades, specialty sausages and even edible spoons.

This year, Domingo says, catering trends are focused on interactivity paired with beautiful presentation, whether it’s a decadent bread station with made-to-order pretzels or a grilling station preparing lamb before guests’ eyes. “For 24 Carrots, it’s about marrying taste and design,” says Domingo. “It’s the total experience.”

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