Margot Blondet describes her career as “every chef’s dream.”
Blondet came to the U.S. from her native Peru in 2005, and soon thereafter landed the position of executive chef at Sidebar, a bustling restaurant in Dayton’s Oregon District. Her menu was truly fusion: Blondet applied classical French techniques to dishes that borrowed significantly from South American cuisine, which in turn was influenced by immigrants from Europe, Asia and Africa.
Blondet, 48, ultimately was able to launch her own restaurant in the very same space where she served as executive chef, and today, oversees Salar Restaurant & Lounge at 400 E. Fifth St. as both its executive chef and owner. We caught up with our Daytonian of the Week to learn a little more about her.
What’s your favorite spot in Dayton?
What’s your guilty pleasure?
I have so many, but if I have to pick: chocolate!
What’s one word you think people would use to describe you?
Why did you decide to come to and settle in Dayton?
Long story short, my now-husband and I moved from Florida to Dayton. When we first came here to visit, I really fell in love with the kindness of Dayton people – they are always smiling and willing to help without even knowing you.
How did you get involved with owning and running a restaurant?
I think this is every Chef’s dream. I was the Executive Chef of the restaurant that was located in the building that now holds Salar. When the building become vacant, I didn’t hesitate about opening my own place. I was lucky to get special help from a Dayton believer, and the project took off after nine months of planning and hard work — which is why I call the restaurant “my baby.”
What was the most challenging part of that?
Having to put family in second row for almost two years because of my lack of time.
How did you push through the challenge?
Setting up long-term, big goals and working one day at a time, and achieving small challenges daily. I was lucky to be surrounded by good people that helped in every aspect of the project.
What inspires you about Dayton?
Daytonians! I have lived in different cities around the world and never found nicer people than in Dayton — and I really mean it. I am not just trying to be nice.
If you could change or bring one thing to Dayton, what would it be?
No doubt about it — I know it is impossible — but it would be nice to have an ocean.
What do you think Dayton will look like in 10-15 years?
I’ve been here for 11 years and I’ve seen the city grow and become more alive and prosperous. I think with all of the projects that they’re working on right now, especially downtown, Dayton will continue to thrive.