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Blobaum out at Wilshire

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Christopher Blobaum, the talented Santa Monica chef who was one of Southern California’s leaders in sustainable dining, has left Wilshire Restaurant. ‘I guess it’s just one of those things they call ‘creative differences,’ ' says Blobaum, who had made a point of using farmers market produce, grass-fed beef and sustainable seafood, and even kept a compost tumbler on site and used a solar-powered dishwasher.

Blobaum’s cooking was praised by Times restaurant critic S. Irene Virbila in a two-star review: ‘In a restaurant landscape where menus all start to read the same, Blobaum has developed some unique dishes,’ she wrote. However, she also observed that at the trendy restaurant, ‘the scene makers far outnumber the foodies’ and that ‘trying to accommodate both must be positively crazy making.’

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In fact, the chef says, that is exactly what ended up being the root of the dispute between him and owner Steven Levine, a prominent Santa Monica cardiologist. ‘He really wants a bar,’ Blobaum says. ‘I’m more about finding great purveyors and keeping quality products coming in.

‘I’m not bitter about what happened. It’s just that I have my passion and what I want to do and he wanted something different. When it gets to that point, sometimes it’s better to just say, ‘You know what, let’s not butt heads.’ ‘

Representatives at Wilshire could not be reached for comment.

Blobaum says he has no immediate plans. ‘I have not decided what to do yet and [am] just now reaching out, hoping for a little down time,’ he wrote in an e-mail. ‘I have a 2 1/2-year-old daughter that would love to see more of me.’

‘I didn’t take any vacation last year and only a week at the holidays this year to move,’ he elaborated over the phone. ‘I’m taking a little time off and just kind of putting out feelers now.’

-- Russ Parsons


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