Participating Restaurants & Chefs 2017

Meet The Chefs

Orange County's Top Chefs*

Andrew Sutton
Host Chef
Executive Chef, Napa Rose
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Chef Andrew Sutton’s cuisine celebrates the bounty and heritage of California, inspired by the seacoast, farms and diverse flavors of the state, and then presented with refinement to guests at the award-winning Napa Rose restaurant and the new Carthay Circle Restaurant and Lounge, signature restaurants at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, Calif.

“I’ve always thought the best restaurants reflect the personality of the chef,” says the exuberant Chef Sutton, who has developed a talented, dedicated staff. It is a philosophy that works, as Napa Rose has been recognized as one of the premier restaurants in Orange County. The awards are powerful endorsements for Sutton’s culinary skills and recognize the chef’s interesting blend of formal French roots and American regional explorations.

“I like a beautiful plate with great flavor,” Sutton said. “After all, the culinary arts are the only art forms that touch all the senses.”

Disney recruited Chef Sutton in 2000 to create Napa Rose as a destination restaurant at the luxurious Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa. In 2012, he led the opening of Carthay Circle Restaurant and Lounge, which has a theme of 1930s Hollywood, inside Disney California Adventure Park.

Prior to joining Disney, Chef Sutton spent seven years as executive chef at the Ivy Award-winning Auberge du Soleil in Napa Valley, Calif. and five years with Dean Fearing at the five-star, five-diamond Mansion on Turtle Creek in his hometown of Dallas, Texas. In 2009, Sutton received the prestigious Antonin Careme Medal awarded by the American Culinary Federation of San Francisco Chapter that honors those who have made “extraordinary contributions to the culinary profession, particularly to education and the advancement of gastronomy and the culinary arts.”

Pascal Olhats
Chef Chair
2016 Community Champion
Executive Chef, Pascal
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Chef Pascal Olhats is an extraordinary French born and trained Executive Chef and restaurateur. He has won numerous awards, owning and collaborating on a number of restaurants in Newport Beach over the past 27 years. He currently owns four businesses, including: Café Jardin Restaurant & Pascal’s Tea Garden Creperie (on the lush grounds of Sherman Gardens & Library in Corona del Mar), Pascal’s Café in San Juan Capistrano (a café/ bakery/ fine dining establishment) , and Pascal’s Catering (offering full-service catering for 20 years throughout Southern California). Pascal also partners with Manassero Farms, and orchestrates breakfasts, dinners, and incredible special events, often showcasing guest chefs.

Born in Normandy , France and like many chefs in Europe, it is all about apprenticeships in the kitchen. Pascal’s his first jobs were in the top kitchen of his home town of Rouen. This included, Hotel de Dieppe and La Couronne in the heart of the old city. La Couronne also happens to be the first restaurant Julia Child visit when she and her husband moved to France (She enjoyed the Sole Meuniere by the way.)

Next stop was Brussels and Pascal spent 4 years attending school at the CERIA, a hotel and restaurant college. From there he worked for the well-known Chef Paul Bocuse, first as a server and then as Chef de Rang (Assistant Head Waiter). From there he moved to Lyon, which is well known for the production and weaving of silk, capital of gastronomy in France, and home to Paul Bocuse’s inside food hall and market, Les Halles de Lyon on Cours Lafayette. There Pascal worked at Leon de Lyon Restaurant, as Chef de Rang. From the river’s edge, it was to the shore and St. Tropez was calling. His next job was Service Staff Manager for three years at the famous Club 55. He was also in charge of catering and cooked and served for many celebrities. In 1984 Pascal moved to the United States working as Chef for Piret’s Restaurant, then Chef de Cuisine for Le Meridien Hotel in Newport Beach. He was also the Executive Chef at Player’s in Irvine, followed by an Executive Chef position at the Chanteclair Restaurant in Newport Beach.

In addition to managing day-to-day operations of his four businesses, Pascal consults for other restaurant groups (including: French 75, Savannah Chophouse and Brasserie Pascal), was recently hire by the Macanese government of Tourism, to promote and demonstrate their cuisine in the United States, and travels the world with groups to explore countries, culture and cuisine.

Beau MacMillan
Featured Celebrity Chef
Executive Chef, Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort
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As Executive Chef of Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain and its signature restaurant, elements, Beau MacMillan inspires his staff with his passion for fresh ingredients. His ingenuity in the kitchen is stimulated by his belief that food should not be overworked, but rather appreciated for its simplicity and natural perfection. This philosophy is evident in Chef MacMillan’s innovative seasonal menus that focus on fresh, local ingredients procured from a network of artisans and organic farmers.

Chef MacMillan has cooked in some of America’s most distinguished kitchens. He hails from Plymouth, Massachusetts and is a graduate of Johnson and Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island. His culinary career began at the age of 16 when he secured a position at Crane Brook Tea Room in Carver, Massachusetts. Chef MacMillan spent a year under the tutelage of Chef Francios Demueloge. Inspired by this experience, he joined the brigade at La Vieille Maison in Boca Raton Florida, rising through the ranks to the position of Sous Chef. Drawn to the culinary scene on the West Coast, Chef MacMillan moved to Los Angeles where he held Sous Chef positions at the prestigious Hotel Bel Air, and later Shutters on the Beach in Santa Monica. He was recruited to Arizona in 1998 to develop the cuisine at The Ranch on Camelback, which later became Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain. Chef MacMillan and former Executive Chef Charles Wiley opened elements restaurant in March of 2001.

Now as executive chef, MacMillan’s innovation has brought elements national recognition and acclaim. In March 2006, Chef MacMillan was invited to The Food Network’s kitchen stadium to compete in an episode of the hit series, Iron Chef America. Chef MacMillan was pitted against Iron Chef Bobby Flay in “Battle American Kobe Beef.” Ultimately, Chef MacMillan’s cuisine reigned supreme, letting him claim victory over Flay.

In addition to his appearance on Iron Chef America, Chef MacMillan has cooked at The James Beard House and at Bon Appetit Magazine in New York, and regularly conducts cooking classes for the guests of Sanctuary. He is also the personal Chef for Wayne Gretzky and his family and has cooked for such personalities as President Bush, Britney Spears, U2, Michele Richard, Jacques Pepin and Michele Roux, Sr.

Michael Pham
Executive Chef, Anchor Hitch
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Chef Michael Pham is an Orange County native, born and raised in Fountain Valley, to parents who immigrated to America to escape the Vietnam War. Cooking was always a huge event in his house, though he was a spectator and not allowed in the kitchen as a child.

His artistic side developed growing up, and eventually he found his way into culinary school at Le Cordon Bleu in Los Angeles. He cooked at The Foundry on Melrose, Melisse and Providence, before leaving the country to tour and cook throughout Asia extensively.

When he returned, he went into the test kitchen to explore what it meant to him to grow up in Southern California. Seafood became a passion during this time, which is now on display at Anchor Hitch in Mission Viejo. His dishes pair seafood-heavy, often Asian twists with classic dishes including Lobster Rolls, Tom Yum Agnoletti and Abalone Panna Cotta.

Gino Buonanoce
Executive Chef, Antonello
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Chef Bio Coming Soon.

Salvatore Ferrara
Executive Chef, Antonello
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Chef Bio Coming Soon.

Josh LaQuet
Executive Chef, Brio Tuscan Grille
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Chef Josh LaQuet grew up in Kansas City, MO, and while helping his mother create dinners as a child, he realized his true passion was cooking. He started working in restaurants when he turned sixteen and enjoyed all aspects of the industry, but found his niche in the fast paced environment of the kitchen.

His culinary journey with Brio has included stops in Kansas city, Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, Inland Empire and currently Irvine. Cooking Italian food every day is great however Josh enjoys dabbling in all different genres of cuisine. There’s always something new to learn, there’s always something different to try. His cooking could best be described as unique twists on familiar foods.

Chris Tzorin
Guest Executive Chef, Sol Agave
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Chef Chris Tzorin was born to be a chef. His ambition drives him to go beyond his dreams, because to him nothing is impossible. He is a second generation chef; his father Chef Luis Tzorin mentored Chris beginning at the age of 13. His passion for the culinary industry began when he started helping his father in the kitchen at work, while at home he helped his mother make traditional enchiladas and special Mexican sauces including her signature Mole.

He attended The Art Institute of California in Orange County to further his career. By age 20, was already Executive Chef at The Beach House in Dana Point. His extensive resume includes Chateaux, 195 Downtown Grill and Savannah Chop House. Now Chef Chris is bringing his inspiring and energetic spirit to Cafe Tu Tu Tango. Chef Chris has also appeared on the Food Network shows, Cutthroat Kitchen, Guy’s Grocery Games and Man vs. Child: Chef Showdown.

Alex Guzman
Executive Chef, Centrál Laguna Beach
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Chef Bio Coming Soon.

Zachary Geerson
Executive Chef, Citizen Kitchen
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Chef Zachary Geerson, originally from Fort Myers, FL has made his way through the culinary scene rather rapidly. After being promoted from a dish washing position to sous chef in just two and half years, Geerson left Florida to pursue a degree from the Culinary Institute of America. After taking on a ‘Manager in Training’ position and gaining experience at a restaurant on campus, he decided it was time to broaden his knowledge, and he made his way down to sunny Southern California.

Geerson started his Southern California culinary career at Tempo Urban Kitchen in Brea, CA, and became the Executive Chef in less than 2 months. During his time running the show at Tempo, Geerson became close with Front of House manager Fredie Garcia, who was later recruited as Hotel Fullerton'sFood and Beverage Director. Soon after, Garcia hired Geerson as the Executive Chef and Citizen Kitchen would never be the same. Garcia has moved on to other projects, but he certainly left his stamp on on the restaurant by bringing Chef Geerson on board. These days, Geerson handles everything from the food, the cocktail menu, restaurant aesthetics, communication with the entire staff, and more. He is a man of many talents, giving the title Executive Chef a whole new definition.

Since his transition to Citizen Kitchen, Geerson has been enlisted complete creative control with the menu, and the cuisine is innovative and unique. He’s serving plates such as Roasted Chicken with pistachio mole, Jamaica pickled onions and avocado yogurt, as well as Burnt Milk Panna Cotta with heirloom tomatoes, strawberries and fresh herbs. "Ultimately, I try not to cook anything I don't believe in."

Geerson foresees a trend in the culinary scene that focuses on simple artistry. He believes the avante garde phase in food is over, and that people don't want to wonder what's on their plate anymore. With plans on centralizing his next seasonal menu on this idea, he aims for each ingredient to be less tampered with, seasoned minimally, and to speak for itself.

Chef Geerson describes Citizen Kitchen as "A place you could come and get high quality food, but still wear sandals - casual fine dining." Be sure to give your compliments to the chef when you stop in to Citizen Kitchen.

Justin Monson
Chef de Cuisine, Club 33
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Hometown: Dana Point, CA

Current role with Walt Disney Parks and Resorts and describe your responsibilities: Chef de Cuisine of Club 33 and 21 Royal Street; Responsible for creating menus, recipe development, and staff training

Education/Training/Certifications/Awards: Culinary Institute of America; Apprenticeship at Ritz Carlton, Laguna Niguel; Introductory Sommelier Diploma (Level One)

How many years with Walt Disney Parks and Resorts? 2 years

How many years as a chef? 20 years

In what other notable restaurants have you worked? Auberge du sole, Napa Valley, CA; Vine, San Clemente, CA

Biggest inspiration? Cooking with seasons with what was grown in the Napa Valley

Describe your culinary style: Seasonally inspired and rooted in traditional cooking techniques

What is your culinary passion? Cooking outdoors with wood in a pizza or wood burning grill

What do you enjoy most about being a chef? Feeding and entertaining guests, friends and family. Educating people that great cooking can be healthy.

What are some of your favorite dishes to prepare? Sunday supper: Bolognese of braised meat and homemade pasta... and pizza in the backyard pizza oven.

Favorite spice? Coriander seeds, star anise

Favorite kitchen gadget? Japanese Mandoline

Favorite junk/snac food? Carnitas torta, sunflower seeds, and Twizzlers

You run a restaurant, but what do you cook for your family? Risotto with whatever is in the fridge

What food holds childhood memories for you? Thanksgiving Dinner

When you're not working, what do you enjoy? Gardening, amateur wine making

If you werent a chef, what would you be and why? Wine maker or landscape designer. I love the connection of farming and wine making and how you can interject yourself into the middle

Any secret culinary indulgences? Dim sum, braised lamb shank and pasta carbonara

What's always in the fridge at home? Sambai chinese hot sauce, arugula, and parmesan cheese

People would be surprised to know...? I love to tend my grape vines in my back yard.

Jeff Moore
Executive Chef, EATS Kitchen
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Chef Jeff Moore has been part of the food and hospitality industry since high school when he worked at his family’s Californian, fourth-generation Moore’s Market in Lunada Bay, Palos Verdes Estates. It was here he learned the art of butchering and appreciating cooking with different meats. This early exposure started a devotion to customer service and is when he developed his management skills. At 19, he worked in restaurants as a dishwasher, and his culinary career building experiences have continued in Utah and California for the last 15 years. Moore calls his cuisine “modern California” cooking and is committed to California farm-to-table kitchen values, highlighting the highest quality seasonal products and local sustainability. He looks forward to organizing and hosting wine and beer dinners and other fun culinary promotions. Chef Moore has two children, ages two and four, and when he’s not cooking and enjoying his family, he likes to hit the ski slopes and mountain bike.

Linda Johnsen
Executive Chef, Filomena’s Italian Kitchen
2017 Community Champion
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Chef Linda Johnsen is the Owner/Executive Chef of Filomena's Italian Kitchen in Costa Mesa and Filomena's Cafe & Wine Bar, located in the Laguna Design Center in Laguna Niguel. The Italian Kitchen was recently named one of the Best Top 10 Italian Restaurant's in Orange County and one of the 75 Best Places to Eat in Orange County by the OC Register.  It is also currently ranked the #1 Restaurant in Costa Mesa by Trip Advisor.

For the past two years Linda has had the honor to be the only female chef to participate in S.O.S.’s Annual Celebrity Chef Dinner held at the Huntington Beach Hyatt. Linda grew up in South Philly in a traditional Italian American family where she spent Sunday’s with her Grandmother Filomena and Aunt Rosemary making a pot of Sunday Sauce and learning the secrets to making “homemades” or pasta. This is where the tradition and techniques of Italian cooking were passed down to Linda and what she now shares with her guests.

Linda spends the majority of her time making sure her guests are being properly fed as a true Italian mother would do. She currently resides in Newport Beach with her family and can be contacted at linda@filomenasoc.com.

Mark Hagopit
Executive Sous Chef, House of Blues Anaheim
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Executive Sous Chef Mark Hagopit was born and raised in the Philippines and began his culinary career in California, joining House of Blues in 2011. His approach to food draws on his Asian background and classical culinary training. Chef Mark’s style is to keep food simple and natural, focusing on satisfying flavors and harmonious regional ingredients to showcase the Southern-inspired menu of House of Blues. His talents have also brought him to support other House of Blues locations in Dallas, San Diego, Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

In his role as executive sous chef of House of Blues Anaheim, Chef Mark oversees culinary operations of the House of Blues Restaurant & Bar including management of the kitchen team, menu development and food preparation. He takes time to educate his staff on the products used in the kitchen and their purpose within dish presentation. He also works closely with local suppliers to ensure availability of the highest-quality ingredients. He looks forward to presenting his culinary creations at the all-new House of Blues Anaheim, opening at GardenWalk in March 2017.

Eduardo Albarran
Executive Chef, Mastro’s
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Chef Eduardo Albarran is the Executive Chef for Mastro’s Ocean Club in Newport Beach. Chef “Eddie” is an Orange County native who has worked in such OC hot-spots as Crow Bar and Kitchen, as well as Tommy Bahamas Island Grille in Newport Beach. He has been with Mastro’s Ocean Club since 2010 and was recently promoted to Executive Chef. His hard work, dedication and passion for food have been the driving forces in his career.

Stephen LaFountain
Executive Chef, Mastro’s
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Chef Stephen LaFountain is the Executive Chef for Mastro’s Steakhouse Costa Mesa. Chef “Steve” began his career at Glenmoor Country club in Canton, Ohio and has more than two decades of experience in the restaurant industry. In that time, he has worked with such recognizable concepts as Cameron Mitchell Restaurants in Ohio, The Le Meridean Delfina in Santa Monica, as well as the Cheesecake Factory. Chef Steve’s is new to Mastro’s Restaurants and looking forward to making his mark at one of the country’s top steakhouses.

Niki Starr
Executive Chef, Mesa
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A go-to at The Camp in Costa Mesa for a fun night out with great food, Mesa elevates its dining program with the addition of Executive Chef Niki Starr Weyler.

Weyler’s reverence for locally sourced ingredients, simplicity and attention to detail are felt throughout every dish. Born and raised in Orange County, Weyler spent her formative years exploring food with her great aunt, picking produce from local markets and indulging in lobster dinners, which both inspired her and gave her a taste of what was ultimately to come.

Although she initially studied nursing at California State University Long Beach, she was lured into the culinary industry when she began cooking Julia Child’s famed recipes. That prompted her to let go of nursing and head south to the San Diego Culinary Institute.

After graduating, Weyler worked at French 75 in Laguna Beach before joining Charlie Palmer restaurant in Costa Mesa, where her mentors, Amar Santana and Seakyeong Kim taught her that creativity and playful dishes have no boundaries. After work, she and her Charlie Palmer coworkers often visited the nearby Mesa where she developed an admiration for the seasonal cuisine and philosophy of the restaurant. Mesa invited Weyler to guest chef at a special wine dinner, which spurred an invitation to permanently head the kitchen where she now resides.

Collin Thornton
Executive Chef, Monarch Beach Resort
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Executive Chef Collin Thornton leads the dining outlets and operations at the newly reimagined AAA Five Diamond beachside getaway, Monarch Beach Resort. Thornton oversees all culinary operations including the resort’s signature Michael Mina fine dining restaurant, Stonehill Tavern, the guest and members only Monarch Bay Club, and five new dining concepts that include: AVEO Table + Bar, a re-envisioned restaurant with a Mediterranean concept that embraces the seasonal bounty of the California coastline; Sombra, a new poolside Mexi-Cali cantina; 33˚ North, a new lobby and lounge area designed to become the convivial living room with live music and outdoor fire pits for social gathering; Part and Parcel Market, a grab-and- go marketplace; and Club 19, a gastro pub dining experience.

In his role, Thornton concepted five new dining outlets at Monarch Beach Resort that are reflective of the resort’s coastal location with a commitment to using fresh ingredients from local purveyors and sustainable practices. He leads the full culinary team, along with Stonehill Tavern Executive Chef Alan Mardonovich and Sommelier Paul Coker.

Thornton has a distinguished 20-year culinary career working at Fairmont Hotels & Resorts properties around the world. He most recently served as Executive Chef of the Fairmont Royal York hotel in Toronto, home to the largest hotel kitchen in Canada, and previously held positions at Fairmont Hotel MacDonald in Edmonton, Alberta; Fairmont Southampton in Bermuda; the historic Fairmont Chateau Laurier on the Rideau Canal; and Fairmont Orchid on the Big Island of Hawaii where he oversaw 540 guestrooms, four restaurants and three lounges.

Originally from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, Thornton began his culinary career at the early age of 14 in Edmonton, Alberta, starting as a dishwasher and working his way up to an apprenticeship at the prestigious Edmonton Petroleum Club. Thornton is an avid skateboarder, surfer, snowboarder, motorcycle rider and singer-songwriter who owns more than a dozen guitars.

Umberto Rubelli
Executive Chef, Naples Ristorante
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Having nearly 25 years of experience cooking fine Italian cuisine, chef Umberto Rubelli has made the art of food a huge part of his life. Rubelli received his education in Milan before moving into a sous chef position at the two Michelin starred Sadler Osteria di Porta Ciecca. He later accepted two subsequent head chef positions at one Michelin starred restaurants. Rubelli felt it was time to bring his tailored Italian style of cooking to the US, and took his first Executive Chef role at Brio Restaurant in Laguna Niguel. After leading the kitchen along the Newport coast, as well as a few years back in Italy, Rubelli joined the Patina Restaurant Group to bring his distinct cooking style to Naples Ristorante e Pizzeria where he currently serves as Executive Chef.

Rosendo Gonzalez
2016 Community Champion
Executive Chef, Nick’s Restaurants
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Chef Bio Coming Soon.

Omar Gonzalez
2016 Community Champion
Regional Chef, Nick’s Restaurants
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Chef Bio Coming Soon.

Mark McDonald
Executive Chef, Old Vine Cafe
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Chef Mark McDonald is an internationally recognized chef, restaurant owner, and restaurant consultant. Chef Mark’s passion for introducing unique foods and wines to customers and clients is built on collaborations with winemakers, sommeliers, and culinary professionals from around the world. He is the California Director for Aregala & Cooks Without Borders, and is frequently invited to international culinary competitions as both a judge and a participant. In recent years he has taught master courses and given presentations at gastronomy events and festivals throughout Europe, the Middle East, and North America.

In 2007 Chef Mark opened his award-winning restaurant, Old Vine Cafe, in Costa Mesa, CA. His menu offerings reflect a commitment to regionalism and the use of local seasonal ingredients, a hallmark of Chef Mark’s culinary training under Master Chef John Nocita at the Italian Culinary Institute in Calabria, Italy (ICI). Chef Mark now partners with the Italian Culinary Institute to lead the annual Splendors of South Italy tour, a culinary-driven trip through Calabria and Sicily that treats travelers to hands-on cooking lessons from master chefs, winery and agriturismo visits, and multi-course meals of regional cuisine. The first Splendors of Northern Italy tour launches in 2016.

Chef Mark also supports his local community. He can be found judging culinary finals at his alma mater, Laguna Culinary Arts, as well as teaching cooking classes to both young “aspiring chefs” at local elementary schools, and adult students pursing professional culinary education.

Anthony Endy
Executive Chef, Paul Martin’s
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Chef Bio Coming Soon.

Colleen Flynn
Executive Chef, Pizzeria Ortica
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Chef Bio Coming Soon.

John Vega
Executive Chef, Roy’s
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Newport Beach Chef Partner John Vega had an unconventional start to his culinary career, first working as a dishwasher in high school for gas money. After high school, Vega continued to work in various roles throughout the kitchen as he pursued an unrelated career in underwater welding. Vega recognized a passion for the culinary arts as he quickly worked his way up the ranks and decided to follow his true calling. Vega moved to Los Angeles where he attended Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Los Angeles at Pasadena. Upon completing the program, Vega was determined to join the Roy’s Restaurant family after being inspired by an experience at Roy’s. He recalls, “When I was young, I ate at Roy’s Waikoloa and just had to know what sorcery created that chocolate soufflé!” After being part of the Roy’s family for more than 10 years, Vega has familiarized himself with the true culinary vision of Roy Yamaguchi.

Andrew Gruel
Celebrity Chef
Executive Chef, Slapfish
2017 Community Champion
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Chef Andrew Gruel, a summa cum-laude graduate of Johnson & Wales University, is currently the Founder and Executive Chef of Slapfish Restaurant, the award-winning food truck turned international brick and mortar, based out of Huntington Beach, CA. Chef Gruel has taken Slapfish (bootstrapped!) from 2 food trucks to 10+ restaurant locations in just over 3 years.

Chef Andrew Gruel has appeared on multiple Food Network shows including his most recent role as a Judge on the show Food Truck Face Off. Gruel has also been on "TODAY Show", PBS, Cooking Channel, as well as in numerous publications including The Wall Street Journal, Men’s Health, Food & Wine Magazine, Entrepreneur, and Restaurant Business. In 2013 he was named top 40 under 40 entrepreneurs in Orange County. He is currently the host of a new restaurant makeover show set to air spring 2015 on a major network.

Brian Jenzer
Executive Chef, SOCIAL
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My Bio is born in Huntington Beach, went to Culinary Institute of America where I met our Chef De Cuisine Daniel Chavez and graduated in 2007, I worked for Momofuku Noodle bar after graduating, Part of the opening team for the Pelican Hills Resort, worked in Singapore for two years at Iggy's and while there we were awarded 28th best restaurant on the San Pellegrino list. Worked in Vermont help opened E.B. Strong's Prime steak house and then was a Sous Chef for Quality Italian where i also worked with Daniel Chavez, New York New York. Now currently at Social Costa Mesa for two years and was promoted to Executive Chef April of 2016. I am currently residing back in Huntington Beach with my wife Chelsea and Daughter Everly. I was nominated for Best Chef costa mesa from Locale magazine and was nominated for California Cuisine for the golden foodies.

Ron Fougeray
Executive Chef, Splashes at Surf & Sand Resort
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Gobbling up homemade chocolate chip cookies has been a culinary primer for kids in the kitchen for generations. For Splashes Executive Chef Ron Fougeray, the techniques and ingredients were more intriguing. His quest for knowledge eventually led him to study at the respected Johnson & Wales University in the Culinary Arts Program.

Time spent at Philadelphia’s most famous restaurant, Le Bec-Fin proved instrumental for Chef Ron. Considered an institution in Philadelphia, the restaurant was rated America’s finest French restaurant, and the Mobil Travel Guide consistently awarded it five stars for 40 years. During his nearly seven year tenure, Chef Ron was mentored by renowned owner and French chef, Georges Perrier, and worked his way up to Chef de Cuisine. Georges left an indelible impression on Chef Ron, teaching him to expect only the highest standards for his menu, staff and cooking equipment. Chef Georges continues to be a mentor and personal friend. In 2009, Chef Ron transitioned to Bibou BYOB, where he worked side-by-side with owner and chef, Pierre Calmels. He started off as Chef de Cuisine and worked his way up to Executive Chef in 2013. Bibou garnered a variety of accolades during his tenure. GQ Magazine named it one of “The Top 10 New Restaurants” and it was voted the top restaurant in Philadelphia on NBC.com. It was also named a James Beard Finalist for Best New Restaurant and received four bells (highest rating) from the Philadelphia Inquirer. There were only four restaurants in the entire city to be awarded that distinction.

Having learned from such respected culinarians, Chef Ron is passionate about making everything from scratch and sourcing the finest possible ingredients. A keen appreciation for food history plays a large role in the style and flavors that he displays at Splashes. “Culinary arts is a revolving wheel. It helps to remember the ideas and techniques of those that came before us, while putting a modern twist on flavors and presentation.”

While in the kitchen, Chef Ron stresses teamwork to elevate the performance of the entire staff. Everyone being in sync is critical to achieving the ultimate goal – smiles from guests.

Kevin Meyer
Executive Chef, Tanner’s at Pasea Hotel & Resort
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Chef Bio coming soon.

Hiroki Uchida
Executive Chef, The Blind Rabbit
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Chef Bio Coming Soon.

Jay Lacuesta
Executive Chef, Twenty Eight
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Chef Bio Coming Soon.

Ernie Alvarado
Executive Chef, Urbana
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Chef Bio Coming Soon.

Leo Razo
Executive Chef, Villa Roma
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Chef Bio Coming Soon.

Damon Gordon
Executive Chef, Water Grill
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Chef Bio Coming Soon.

Michael Doctulero
Executive Chef, Water Grill
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For more than 35 years, Chef Michael J. Doctulero has been amazing guests with his creative and sustainable dishes, which magically combine tradition with innovation. Committed to using locally-sourced ingredients, Chef Mike’s passion for cooking is almost as strong as his dedication to preserving the environment for future generations. A devotion he brings with him to Waterman’s Harbor Restaurant.

Chef Mike first fell in love with cooking while working alongside his grandfather in the family’s San Francisco home. He has fond memories of fishing on the San Francisco Pier and bringing his prize home to prepare for his family. His time with his grandfather taught him an appreciation for fresh ingredients and the importance cooking can play in our lives.

“The act of Breaking Bread together has been a part of our culture for as long as we can remember,” according to Chef Mike. “It is how friendships are formed and how families celebrate. As a chef, I have the privilege of making folks happy through food and sharing the sacred ritual of breaking bread together.”

Chef Mike’s culinary career has taken him from Seattle, WA to San Francisco, CA to Orange County, CA. His time on the West Coast sparked his passion for seafood and fresh cuisine which draws from global influences. Chef Mike has earned numerous accolades, and his name is synonymous with seasonal, sustainable and delicious (even before they were industry buzz words).

Joining Waterman’s Harbor in March 2016, Chef Mike is exploring his passion for creating tantalizing dishes while maintaining his commitment to the sustainability of the ocean. A true Dock-to-Dish restaurant, Waterman’s Harbor allows Chef Mike to work with the local fishermen – who deliver fish to the restaurant’s dock within hours of being caught - as well as the freedom to express his culinary artistry. Although new to Waterman’s Harbor, Chef Mike has already garnered a loyal following and great appreciation from the restaurant’s staff and guests.

Manfred Lassahn
Executive Chef, Watertable
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Hospitality industry standout, Chef Manfred Lassahn is the executive chef of the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort & Spa and the mastermind behind Watertable, recently named to Open Table’s Diner’s Choice Top 100 Restaurants in North America. Watertable, the resort’s wildly popular, signature restaurant that newly opened in Spring 2014 has been featured in Coast, LA Times, Orange County Register Magazine and Rivera OC as a visionary putting a new, creative spin on American-style cuisine, Chef Lassahn continues to evolve the dining concepts throughout the resort with his innovation and passion.

With a history that spans nearly three decades in executive-level culinary roles within the Hyatt Hotels Corporation, Chef Lassahn is uniquely equipped to lead the resorts’ award-winning restaurants into ever-new phases of culinary excellence with seasonally dictated, naturally raised and sustainably sourced offerings. Chef Lassahn oversees all aspects of the resorts cuisine, including Watertable, the stately and sophisticated Red Chair Lounge, Pete’s Sunset Grille and all special events and banquet functions.

Throughout his career, Chef Lassahn has served as executive chef at various high profile Hyatt properties including the Hyatt Regency Long Beach, Hyatt Valencia and most recently at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza. A polished industry expert, Chef Lassahn was recognized in 2011 as Hyatt Hotels’ Chef of the Year. He has played an active role in introducing leading food and beverage trends into the resort dining experience by heading the development of Vines restaurant at the Hyatt Valencia, renowned for its seasonal menu changes and quarterly wine-pairing dinners, consulting on the Hyatt Hotels “For Kids by Kids” innovative menu concept and the brand’s “Culinary Diversity Taskforce Boot Camp.” Due to his stellar track record, Chef Lassahn was among those chosen to develop and manage Hyatt hotel’s fine dining standards and banquet servicing.

*Chefs listed in alphabetical order by restaurant.