Top local chef Maegen Loring has joined Dolphin Bay Resort and Spa in Shell Beach as its pastry and events chef — a move that will help the resort expand its off-site catering business and give her more time in the kitchen, which she loves.
Loring and her husband, Jeff, have closed their Neon Carrot restaurant completely in San Luis Obispo and are negotiating to sell the business, she said. In August, the couple closed the popular South Higuera Street eatery for breakfast and lunch, staying open only on Friday nights for happy hour and continuing their catering business.
Although their efforts were financially successful, Loring said, they decided to change gears. Jeff Loring, an architect who helped her with the restaurant, has his own work, and she tired of the administrative details that consumed 90 percent of her time.
“It was getting hard to balance all of those things,’’ she said, plus she wasn’t getting refueled in the kitchen. “The two things I love are logistics, organizing the big events and cooking,’’ Loring said.
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The move to Dolphin Bay would allow her to cook more, collaboratively, and be part of a great team that includes executive chef Pandee Pearson, she added.
Loring is taking all of her current catering contracts with her to Dolphin Bay.
Katie Bottrell, sales manager at Dolphin Bay Resort and Spa, called the hiring of Loring a “case of perfect timing.”
At the same time that Loring wanted to step back from running a restaurant, the resort lost its pastry chef, Bottrell said, adding that Loring will enable the resort to expand its catering business — especially off-site events such as wine festivals. Asked if she ever envisioned operating her own restaurant again, Loring, 50, replied no. Owning a restaurant is for young people, she said.
“But who knows what life holds? I’m just excited to be where I am.”