Chemical engineer Deborah Mok came to Cambria from San Francisco in 1995 to help her sister and brother-in-law, Shanny and Robin Covey, at Robin’s restaurant. At the time, Mok probably had no idea she’d still be in the small coastal town 22 years later, let alone that she herself would have exerted such a significant influence on the community’s fine-dining culture.
But indeed she is and has, as owner, operator, chef and more at the helm of Wild Ginger, the tiny restaurant she created out of a dream.
Wild Ginger marked its 15th anniversary July 9. The cozy eatery is at 2380 Main St.
“Life is a journey,” Mok said recently, “and you don’t know what the next turn is going to be.”
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Her background also includes managing the Little Shamrock, the “second oldest Irish pub in San Francisco.”
While the Wild Ginger menu has evolved through the years, Mok’s Pacific Rim/global emphasis, her innovative recipe concepts and ingredients have been constant.
Curries are a staple, but the calamari salad is one thing Mok simply cannot take off the menu (probably for fear of an uprising from her faithful customers).
Wild Ginger’s most popular item that’s not offered daily, she said, “is the lobster chili relleno. Every other week, I have to have it on the menu,” she said. “It’s a signature dish, even though it’s not Asian.”
Life is a journey, and you don’t know what the next turn is going to be.
Deborah Mok, owner-operator and chef at Wild Ginger
Mok and her second-in-command, Alfredo Colin, make it all, from the top-selling Singapore chicken satay and salt-and-pepper calamari appetizers to the pad Thai and Hunan beef entrees, salads, soups (including Tom Kha Kai), plus house-made sorbets and other desserts that also have their fervent devotees.
Mok said one customer — who always ends her meal with a sorbet — insisted that the restaurant owner put up a sign telling people that the sorbets are made in house. The customer “even offered to make the sign for me,” Mok said.
She said her loyal sidekick Colin “helped me open the business and he’s still here by my side,” in Mok’s continuing culinary adventure in Cambria.
For more about the restaurant, go to www.wildgingercambria.com.