By Jaqueline Gutierrez
Twisted Gourmet has got to be one the biggest surprises this writer has ever encountered in the Inland Empire. Twisted Gourmet is located in the Corona/Norco area, tucked into a shopping center off Interstate 15 on Hidden Valley Parkway.
Derrick Foster and Kylie Gordon are both graduates of The Culinary Institute of America. Foster has worked at Michelin Star and James Beard Award-winning restaurants. The duo is bringing life back into Twisted Gourmet with vibrant, and anything but typical, dishes. Gordon takes particular pride in her fiancé’s modern cooking techniques and their push to include delicious gluten free options among their fare. After only six months after they took over the restaurant from the previous management and you can see that change in their new menu.
Looking over the menu, one may be inclined to think that there isn’t much that is different. That could not be more incorrect. The dishes embody the restaurant’s name – a twist on gourmet food. It captures the spirit of the chef that is bursting with creativity, yet still trying to cater to the clientele of the former version of Twisted Gourmet.
A particular standout was the Caprese salad – not only because it was visually striking, but also an interesting use of ingredients. What exactly makes a Caprese salad? It’s a simple dish comprised of mozzarella, tomatoes, basil, salt, olive oil, and maybe balsamic vinegar. The twist on this is the mozzarella foam and balsamic gelée. That’s right, mozzarella foam. It’s quite the culinary treat in that it is a rarely used technique in similar recipes.
This next dish is something you may think you know inside and out, but not at the Twisted Gourmet. The lollipop chicken wings are served with shaved celery, slivers of pickled onion and fresh buttermilk ranch, made in-house. When asked what about the main ingredients in the wings, Chef Derrick merely chuckled and said, “butter.” He was not kidding – the wings bring the same intense buttery satisfaction as the first bite from a fresh-out-of-the-oven croissant. They are not unpleasantly greasy by any means and are delightfully unctuous with garlic as butter’s main wingman. The chicken wings are sourced locally from a farm and slathered with homemade buffalo sauce.
Then there was the hanger steak, which was almost without words. A triumph in its own right for making such a humble cut of meat taste amazing, it figuratively melted in my mouth with Escabeche-style shimeji mushrooms, blistered tomatoes and a healthy dollop of fresh cream garlic butter melting over top.
The other dishes served were the Big Rig pasta, Shrimp N’ator and Tiramisu Cheesecake. The Big Rig is a rigatoni-based pasta dish with a divine cream sauce infused with roasted garlic flavors and Italian sausage, playing beautifully with the fresh corn embedded in the sauce-like juicy gems.
The Shrimp N’ator is the shrimp and garlic pizza of your dreams. It’s the pizza that Fettuccini Alfredo wants to be. The crust is covered in a white sauce, fresh mozzarella, whole roasted garlic cloves, tomato, bacon, garlic butter and parmesan.
Tiramisu Cheesecake – need I say more? It’s flavored with Kahlua, gets its creaminess from mascarpone and has a ladyfinger crust.
Aside from all of the amazing food, the Twisted Gourmet also has 12 craft beers on tap.
Foster and Gordon are a busy pair. They also run the Embers pop-up barbecue catering service out of Twisted Gourmet, along with Sweet Moment by Kylie event planning services.
The Twisted Gourmet has several upcoming events:
- Beer Dinner, Sunday, Oct. 30 (fall inspired gourmet)
- Barbeque for Veterans at Stone Church, Saturday, Nov. 5
- Wine Dinner, Wednesday, Nov. 9
In addition, the restaurant presents live music every Friday and Saturday from 6-10 p.m.
All in all, every single thing that was served was flawless. “I just make sure the ingredients are fresh, delicious and taste good,” said Foster. The soul of the restaurant could not be said better. The couple’s lives, love and travels are in every mouthful.