Honors to Chief Chef at Antoine

Anne Michaud is a staff writer for The Times Orange County Edition

Jean Pierre Lemanissier, chef of Restaurant Antoine in Newport Beach, was named "Chef of the Year" on Sunday by the Southern California Restaurant Writers Assn.

Lemanissier, a native of Dunkerque, France, served his apprenticeship with Paul Bocuse in Bocuse's Lyon, France, restaurant, Collonges-au-Mont-d'Or. He went on to become chef de partie for the restaurant of London's Connaught Hotel and sous chef for Los Angeles' L'Ermitage. He served as chef de cuisine at Ma Maison and at the restaurant in the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills.

Past winners include Pascal Olhats of Pascal in Newport Beach and Alan Greeley of the Golden Truffle in Costa Mesa.

And speaking of Antoine, guests are invited to bring their Bordeaux wines for a bring-your-own-bottle menu tonight and Friday.

Dinner, which is $65 per person plus tax and tip, includes a mixed Chino Farm vegetable salad, sauteed monkfish with fennel, goat cheese with green olive sauce, squab with four-leaf salad and braised pork loin in coconut milk. For dessert, the chef plans to make his grandmother's recipe for light chocolate mousse.

Corkage fees are waived for the event. Dinner hours are 6 to 10 p.m. on Thursdays and 6 to 10:30 p.m. on Fridays.

In the Hotel Meridien, 4500 MacArthur Blvd., Newport Beach. (714) 476-2001, ext. 2158.

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Raffaello Ristorante will offer a four-course dinner and wine-tasting Tuesday evening at 7:30. Cocktails begin at 7.

The price is $47, not including tax or tip. On the menu is puffed pastry filled with porcini mushrooms, bow-shaped pasta sauteed with rock shrimp and scallops, roasted veal chop and chocolate souffle.

Reservations are recommended.

1998 N. Tustin Ave., Orange. (714) 283-8230.

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Emporio Armani Express has begun an "aperitivo," or happy hour, from 4 to 6:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. The South Coast Plaza restaurant will serve free appetizers during those hours. Also, on Fridays, the restaurant plans to present informal modeling of clothes from Emporio Armani.

3333 Bristol St., Costa Mesa. (714) 754-0300.

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The Overture Company of Opera Pacific will entertain diners at Gustaf Anders from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday with a selection of love songs, popular duets and arias. Doors open at 5:30.

1651 Sunflower Ave., South Coast Plaza Village, Santa Ana. (714) 668-1737.

Information for the Newsbites column can be faxed to (714) 966-5663 or mailed to Newsbites/OC Live!, The Times Orange County, 1375 Sunflower Ave., CA 92626. Or call (714) 966-7898.

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