Terranea’s signature restaurant, mar’sel exudes the warmth and classic elegance of Southern California set against a panoramic ocean backdrop. mar’sel takes its name from the Spanish term for sea, mar, and French term for salt, sel – a reflection of its contemporary twist on the California-inspired menu. Chef de Cuisine Rebecca Merhej brings fresh flavors to her seasonal creations with local ingredients and produce grown in Terranea’s herb garden.
Being only 24, Chef Marhej is the youngest member of the culinary team to earn the position of Chef de Cuisine. She has been an integral part of the resort since opening and contributed greatly to the development of mar’sel. Prior to joining Terranea Resort as sous chef in 2009, Merhej earned her stripes at Chef Kerry Simon’s celebrated restaurant, Simon LA. Since then she has spent the last three years honing her culinary skills and working alongside award-winning Terranea Resort Executive Sous Chef and mentor Michael Fiorelli and under the tutelage of the highly acclaimed Destination Hotels & Resorts Corporate Executive Chef Christian Schmidt.
Now at the helm of mar’sel, Merhej’s dynamic interpretation of a classic, California-inspired menu is enhanced through European and Mediterranean influences. She is committed to utilizing local, seasonal ingredients to develop farm-to-table menu offerings that change daily. Merhej’s inspiration for cooking is fueled by, “the joy that is felt in creating happiness for others through unique dining experience.”
Imitate Chef Mehej’s specialty brunch items with the following recipes.
Buckwheat Waffle Mix
- 1 c buckwheat flour
- 1 c All purpose flour
- 2 tbl brown sugar
- 1 tbl baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 eggs separated
- 1 ½ c milk
- 8 tbl unsalted butter- melted
- Powdered sugar for dusting
- ¼ c of your favorite preserves or fresh berries
- Preheat waffle iron
- In a large bowl sift together all your dry ingredients.
- In a separate bowl whisk your egg yolks, butter and milk. Pour the mixture into the bowl with the dry ingredients. Stir in briefly just to incorporate them all together.
- With a stand mixer or a hand mixer whisk your egg white until they form soft peaks and gently fold them into your batter.
- Ladle your mix into your waffle machine (use the amount according to how much your waffle machine holds).
- The waffle should take about 5 minutes or until its golden brown.
- Once the waffle is done, cut it into 4 triangles, dust it with the powdered sugar and top it with the berries or the preserves.
Ricotta and Blueberry Pancakes
- 2 c water
- 1/3 c sugar
- 1/3 c honey
- 2 c pancake mix (Bob’s Red Mill all organic mix is great)
- 1 c whole milk
- 1 c ricotta cheese
- ½ c blueberries
- Melted butter for your skillet
- Powdered sugar for garnish
- Blueberries for garnish
- Using a rubber spatula, stir the water, honey, sugar and vanilla in a large bowl.
- Add the pancake mix and stir just until its incorporated (no lumps).
- Stir in the ricotta into the pancake mixture.
- Gently fold in the ricotta but try not to break it up too much, clumps are a good thing.
- Fold in the blueberries.
- Heat a griddle over medium heat & brush with the melted butter.
- Ladle the pancakes onto the griddle, flip when you see small bubbles around the edges.
- Cook until both sides are golden brown.
- Top with fresh blueberries and shake powdered sugar on top.