Chef Phil McDonald Dishes Out Details on Favorite French Dessert, Nature Spots & More!

Chef Phil McDonald. Photo Credit: Sean Murphy Photography

Phil McDonald, Executive Chef & Partner at Blackbear Bread Company, lists his top recommendations along 30-A!

1. Where do you go when you need some quality me-time

The places I like to go for some me-time would be The Beach at Western Lake and Topsail Hill state park. Both of these spots along 30-A offer amazing views and the perfect place to escape to clear your head and take in the amazing diversity of nature along the coast.

2. What’s your favorite dessert on 30A?    

My Favorite dessert on 30A is the Kouign Amann at Black Bear Bread co. It’s a classic pastry from Brittany, France. It’s so delicious.

It’s basically a croissant baked like a muffin and glazed with sugar and the perfect amount of salt.

It’s a flaky, sweet and slightly savory pastry that is memorable for life.

3. What’s your favorite way to stay fit on 30A? 

Credits: Lululemon Grayton Beach

My favorite way to stay fit is surfing but it’s not consistent here like the east coast or California. So when the surf is flat, I love to workout with TRX at Grayton Fitness and practice yoga with Marie at The Yoga Haus. Both of these workouts are movement-based. which keeps me surfing!

4. What’s something you’re looking forward to?

I am looking forward to projected Skate Park that’s about to be constructed in Santa Rosa Beach. This will be a major boon to the kids and adults who skate here and can have their own place to call home. Growing up in this area as a skateboarder, it was hard to practice our craft as we were always being chased out wherever we would skate.

5. What’s your favorite local event? 

My favorite local event is Digital Graffiti. It’s an amazing showcase for both the digital artists and the architecture of the amazing homes at Alys beach. It’s a one-of-a-kind event that brings digital media artists from all over the world.

Credits: Alissa Aryn Commercial

Three favorite local spots? 

My 3 locals spots are Grayton Beer Brewpub for the Double Stack Burger, Nicks in Basin Bayou for killer fried seafood and authenticity and La Chulapita for authentic tacos & tamales.

Bonus Question: What makes living at the beach so special?

It’s more about the body of water than the beach to me. It’s nice to be by the Gulf because I think it teaches us so much about weather, bounty and respect for the volatility of nature.

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Enjoy a summer getaway at Alys Beach, the premier luxury resort town on Florida's Gulf Coast. Alys Beach is a unique New Urbanist community that combines stunning architecture with the gracious character of courtyard living. Guests can tailor their vacation to include the finest culinary talents in the region, distinctive shopping choices, outdoor activities on an exclusive beach, winding nature trails, and a state of the art wellness center. The utmost in beauty and luxury awaits.