Born to a restaurant family, Doug MacMillan was destined to follow in the family business. At a young age, he began rolling pastas in the kitchen of the family restaurant. “I remember fishing in Boston with my Mom, I caught a flounder. I remember thinking as I looked at this thing on my line, no way am I eating that! My mother cooked it for me, I took a taste and I’m still trying to recreate that dish till this day.” Doug grew up listening and observing, unaware he would become a successful Chef himself one day.
While attending school, Doug excelled in soccer and leadership roles, but was never far from the kitchen. He later opened a restaurant with his parents on the central coast in Pismo Beach, California. Craving more kitchen knowledge, Doug jumped at the opportunity to become an apprentice in Northern Italy. During his apprenticeship, he realized how skilled and knowledgeable his Mother actually was.
Now, 47 years of age and cooking since the age of 10, he brings his experience into the way he operates his restaurant and kitchen. “I am grateful every time someone walks through my front door—I truly want them to have an experience that they are looking for.” Doug loves demonstrating the dynamic flavors expressed in a variety of fish. “For example, when I run the Mahi Mahi with the coconut risotto topped with a salsa of mango, tomato, avocado, jalapeno citrus and tequila, the customer flips.” Another favorite dish he prepares is Cioppino, a “tomato based seafood stew [which] can be a challenge if you don’t pay attention to the cooking times of the different varieties of fish and shellfish.”
Being the Chef and restaurant owner has its challenges and rewards. He prides himself in what he calls FLO at his establishment. FLO is the feeling in a restaurant where everything functions correctly and the entire staff feels successful at the end of the day. We all know it takes a team effort to attain FLO. A question I continuously ask myself is “How can we be better?” This is one of the reasons Doug appreciates his SMS rep, Deborah Petit. He describes her as “My Fish Momma,” because “she works hard for me to get what I want. I know that she wants me to be successful and [she] has also educated me on product and availability.”
Chef Doug says the most important thing we do in life is to spend time with family, and this primarily happens at the dinner table. Chef Doug and his team pride themselves in bringing families together. Santa Monica Seafood understands the importance of family, being a family owned and operated business since 1939. “It’s nice to know that there is a company like Santa Monica that you can rely on to deliver excellent quality and that you can trust you’re getting what you ask for. Quality comes first—without that, the success part will never come.”
491 Price St
I worked for Doug for five years and am blessed to have had the opportunity to work for and beside the coach. Doug is not only a chef, he’s a mentor and a teacher. Anybody who has the chance to work at his establishment is very lucky to have such a great leader. Very humble, takes care of his staff like a family and gIves back to the community. Thanks coach for showing me that hard work pays off, love what you do and do what you love!