Who’s Who of Wilmington Today: John Scott Yada Executive Chef at Oceanic
Meet John Scott Yada the Executive Chef at Oceanic.
Wrightsville Beach can thank the recent pandemic for bringing Chef Scott Yada to the Oceanic. A vet tech for 10 years, he heard a calling of a different sort and enrolled in Le Cordon Bleu cooking school in Pasadena, California. After graduating at the top of his class, he worked for Michelin-star restaurants and throughout Europe before returning to Los Angeles to work for the Patina Restaurant group.
When COVID hit, he was forced out of a job. As things began opening back up, Chef Scott started looking for a position on the East Coast, eventually landing in Wrightsville Beach.
Chef Scott has been at the helm of the iconic Oceanic, named after the historic hotel that was destroyed in the 1934 Great Fire of Wrightsville Beach, since March 2022. The restaurant has been serving amazing food with a side of stunning ocean view since 1990.
Read on to get to know this local chef a little better.
Where are you from?
I am from Los Angeles, California.
How did you end up in Wilmington?
I was transferred to North Carolina to work at the Corning Optics Plant in Wilmington.
What is your favorite part about living in the area?
The people are one of the best parts of where I live. They’re very friendly and always looking out for each other.
What are 3 words that describe you?
Father, adventurous, passionate
What is your average workday like?
It begins with the daily fish order. When it arrives, I hand cut all the daily catch. Then we go through lunch service, creating delectable meals for our guests. I make my way around the dining room to meet and greet and then it’s back to the kitchen to do afternoon orders and get ready for dinner.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I love the sea and all foods that come from it. You can’t beat working on the pier.
What is the most difficult part of your job?
Difficulties are very rare when you love what you do.
How has being a chef influenced who you are as a person?
Everyone always wants a chef for a friend, so it has opened lots of doors for great friendships over the years.
What are your goals for Oceanic?
Increase business year after year and create new memories for our guests.
What is your favorite dish right now at Oceanic?
Local Tuna Poke Bowl
As a chef going out to other restaurants, what makes for a great dining experience personally for you?
Service is always the standout. If you can’t execute that, it doesn’t really matter how great the meal is.
What is your favorite movie?
There are so many to choose from, but currently it is VVitch
What was the last series you binged?
I don’t binge because I can’t watch hours on end without falling asleep. But I just finished Wednesday on Netflix. I am a huge fan of Tim Burton and Danny Elfman.
What is your favorite song out right now?
“Da Ruba Girl” by Kenny Chesney
What is your biggest pet peeve?
I cannot stand vaping.
Do you have a favorite quote or mantra?
“The kitchen is stressful and will be chaotic, but just remember, it’s just food.”
Photography by Matt McGraw