Renowned Chef to Open His First U.S. Restaurant

Courtesy of Deckman's en el Mogor

Drew Deckman is chef and co-owner of Deckman’s en el Mogor, a zero-kilometer, sustainable restaurant in Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico, which he runs alongside his wife, co-owner Paulina Deckman. The preeminent voice for the country’s ethical farming and slow food culture, Deckman is on a mission to bring principles of environmental sustainability at every level directly to the table. A 38-year industry veteran, he spent more than a decade cooking throughout Europe with masters Paul Bocuse, Jacques Maximin, and mentor Madeleine Kamman. He was honored with a coveted Michelin Star for his leadership at Germany’s Restaurant Vitus, and his Baja restaurant, Deckman’s, was named to World’s 50 Best Latin America in 2022, serving as a working model to revolutionize sustainable food culture.

Now, more than a decade since opening his eponymous al fresco restaurant on a ranch in Mexico’s wine region, Deckman is preparing to introduce his first concept in the United States. Watershed is expected to open in Spring 2024 in San Diego, CA within the city’s urban North Park neighborhood at 3131 University Avenue.

“The name and concept were derived from our desire to preserve the actual ‘watershed’ of Southern California and northern Baja but also to mark a ‘watershed’ moment in my life, to create an inspiring restaurant in the U.S. that defines the future of sustainable dining,” says Drew Deckman.

The “earth-to-table,” cause-based concept will donate 1% of monthly revenue to help farmers implement carbon farming projects through various grants in partnership with international nonprofit Zero Footprint.

Courtesy photo

Watershed’s farm on a 50-acre private ranch in Ramona, approximately 30 miles away, will serve as the main source of ingredients, growing everything from organic vegetables and produce to herbs and flowers to guarantee quality, but also to ensure kitchen waste can be recycled or composted properly. The restaurant will use livestock exclusively from San Diego County and tap into San Diego/Baja’s advanced sustainable aquaculture to utilize carbon-reducing ocean plant proteins such as seaweed, underutilized species like Grondin, Mackerel, and Hake, and farmed shellfish including Kumiai Oysters, Whale’s Cove mussels, and Venus Clams.

A daily changing menu will be composed of a dozen or so a la carte plates with some larger items designed to share. The bar program will epitomize the liquid pride of Mexico offering a heavy selection of agave spirits. To minimize the restaurant’s carbon footprint, inclusive of product sourcing and transportation, wines will come from no further north than Santa Barbara and no further south than Baja with beers from San Diego and northern Baja-based breweries.

“We’re building out the space with three floors designed to provide equally unique dining experiences – from drinks and a la carte dishes to a full tasting menu experience, we want to offer something for everyone,” says Drew.

Watershed’s 4,200 square-foot, three-story property is being designed by Megan Power, principal interior architect & designer at San Diego-based Workind Studio (Puffer Malarkey Collective's Le Coq; Marisi La Jolla). She founded her agency in 2019 after seven years as a lead designer for industry behemoth Paul Basile of BASILE Studio. While the restaurant’s design details are under wraps, Watershed will include main dining on the first floor, two cocktail bars, a 10-seat chef’s counter and oyster bar bellying up to an open chef’s kitchen, a second-floor private dining room, and a rooftop patio. 

For more information on Watershed, please follow the restaurant on social at @watershedsandiego and Chef Deckman @bajafishingchef.

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