Esin and Curtis deCarion are a culinary match made
in heaven. Well, make that Johnson & Wales University in Charleston
which seemed like paradise to them. As their friendship bloomed
at culinary school, they discovered a mutual passion for reading
cookbooks, crafting recipes, and talking incessantly about food.
Married with two sons, Esin and Curtis have served
up American food with Mediterranean flare since 1998. Before they
opened Esin Restaurant in Danvilles Rose Garden center in
2008, they ran the popular Café Esin a few miles away in
San Ramon. Similar in many ways, both deCarions grew up by the water.
Their love of seafood infuses the Esin menu from baked prawns Cazuela
to daily sustainably-caught fish specials.
Esin grew up near the Mediterranean Sea in Southern
Turkey. Local farmers markets displayed a cornucopia of producepomegranates,
olives, nuts, eggplant, tomatoes, greensand freshly-made yogurt
As a young girl, Esin recognized that food was
the backbone for the daily rhythms of life and holiday cycles. After
the couple married and settled in the Bay Area, Esin worked as sous-chef
at three-star Paragon and Evvia Estiatorio in Palo Alto before opening
But the story of how Esin became involved in pastries
marks a difference between the couple. Being the family-early bird,
Esin arrives early to design the daily dessert offerings from bread
pudding to baklava, fruit crumbles and cheesecakes. While she leads
the lunch service and then spends time with their sons, Curtis sets
up the restaurant for dinner and bar service.
Growing up in the coastal cities of Miami and then
Jacksonville, Curtis loves seafood. As a youngster, he asked the
chef at a Key West restaurant to show him the kitchen. After that
incident, his family teased him about being a chef. But his food-loving
grandfather fed his fascination for new ingredients and flavors
by frequently taking him out to dine.
Given the chance, Curtis would be a fisherman.
But as a teenager, Curtis gravitated to restaurants for his first
job, working up from dishwasher to cook. Curtis moved to Atlanta
where he was mentored by Jean Banchet, the consulting chef from
the renowned Le Francais in Chicago. In the Bay Area, Curtis was
the chef at Paragon and MacArthur Park in Palo Alto.
Curious, adventurous, and caring, the deCarions
meticulously oversee each meal for their guests. They are fussy
about everything at the restaurant from the pristine dining room
to the freshness of each ingredient. The couple also takes extra
care to mentor and train their staff. Curtis and Esin attract food-loving
servers who instinctively understand guests needs. They nurture
a spirit of teamwork and independent thinking. And keep a keen eye
on the environment by recycling and using many local purveyors.
When Esin isnt training for a run and Curtis
isnt exploring the waters of the Sacramento Delta, the family
is dining out, cooking together or planning their next meal. The
next generation deCarions also exhibit an obsession with food. In
middle and elementary school, their sons are already credible breakfast
chefs, preparing omelets and savory crêpes filled with eggs,
scallions and ham.
On all fronts, Esin and Curtis culinary partnership
is blooming in the Rose Garden marketplace in Danville.