Smart Seasoning is the brainchild of James Beard nominated Chef Lucas Manteca, and his wife, Deanna Ebner.


    Manteca and Ebner initially created Smart Seasoning to boost the nutritional value of their young daughter’s meals. Their friends and family loved it and the health-conscious couple began using it at their restaurants. When the pandemic forced their restaurants to close, they pivoted to release Smart Seasoning — a product perfect for home cooking — to the public.


    “As a chef, I know that salt can make or break even the simplest dishes,” said Lucas Manteca, Founder of Smart Seasoning. “Deanna and I love that Smart Seasoning is good for us while making our food delicious. We’ve replaced salt with a better salt and can’t wait to share our creation with home cooks everywhere!”


    Smart Seasoning is made in small batches in Manteca’s test kitchen in Cape May.



    Born in Argentina, Lucas studied hospitality management in Buenos Aires before his love of surfing drew him to Costa Rica. There, he opened his first restaurant at the age of 21, and he met his wife Deanna Ebner, a New Jersey native. The couple settled in New York City where Lucas attended the French Culinary Institute. Lucas has spent time in some of the most acclaimed kitchens in the world, including Blue Hill (New York), Martin Berasategui (Spain), and Fat Duck (UK).


    For Lucas, the bounty of local seafood and New Jersey produce is the inspiration behind his menus. His signature cuisine is a blend of New England coastal classics with South American flavors. "Growing up, farm-to-table was the way my family ate. For me, farm to table isn't a trend. It's a way of living. We take local ingredients and keep them as pure as possible. It's what I call honest food."

    Besides his 2014 James Beard nomination, he has been named Local Food Hero by Edible Jersey (2018) and was awarded Forty Under 40 (2008), amongst many other accolades. His four South Jersey restaurants form Bread+Butter Restaurant Group.


    In his free time, Lucas is an avid surfer, and loves spending time at the beach with his wife, daughter, and two chihuahuas.


    An Avalon native, Deanna was working in Costa Rica when she and Lucas met. They moved to Miami together and then New York City. After a "visit" to her hometown Jersey Shore, they never left. The duo established a home in Cape May, and went on to create, own and operate some of the best restaurants in South Jersey. Deanna is the creative designer behind the spaces of The Red Store, Quahog's Seafood Shack, the Taco Shop, and Beachwood at the Dunes. She is co-owner, and also an artist and a realtor.


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