The Marine Room
2000 Spindrift Drive
La Jolla, CA 92037
November 1, 2011
$175 per person includes tax and tip
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HOST VENUE - The Marine Room
For generations of San Diegans, the “Seahorse” symbol of The Marine Room has long stood for its dramatic on-the-surf location and award-winning cuisine by Executive Chef Bernard Guillas and Chef de Cuisine Ron Oliver. Considering this rare blend of culinary excellence, uncompromising service and beachfront setting, it’s no wonder The Marine Room has become a true San Diego landmark. Simply stated, this is fine dining at its finest.
Opened in 1941, The Marine Room quickly became famous as pounding surf created dramatic displays against the restaurant's windows. For more than half a century, celebrities, world figures, residents, and visitors have made it a habit to enjoy the spectacular panoramic views of the Pacific and exceptional cuisine. We invite you to San Diego's premier dining destination and experience how each tide brings something new to The Marine Room.
You’re not reserving a table – you’re joining a 70-year tradition.
GUEST CELEBRITY CHEF Jose Garces
RESTAURANT Amada, Philadelphia PA
Since opening his first restaurant, Amada, in 2005, Chef Jose Garces has emerged as an enormous talent and one of the nation’s most gifted young chefs. He has opened seven additional restaurants, in both Philadelphia and Chicago; authored a stunning cookbook, Latin Evolution (Lake Isle Press, September 2008); won the James Beard Foundation’s prestigious “Best Chef Mid-Atlantic” award 2009; appeared on Food Network’s Iron Chef America; and won the most recent season of The Next Iron Chef, making him one of just six chefs in the country to hold the prestigious title of Iron Chef America.
“These past few years have been an amazing time in my life,” says Chef Garces. “I have experienced a tremendous amount of personal and professional growth, and I feel incredibly lucky that I’m able to make a career out of doing the things that I love.”
Garces’ Philadelphia restaurants form his eponymous Garces Restaurant Group. He is owner and executive chef of each, and they are all counted among the city’s best: Amada, an authentic Andalusian tapas bar; Tinto, a wine bar and restaurant inspired by the Basque region of Northern Spain and Southern France; Distrito, a spirited celebration of the vibrant culture and cuisine of Mexico City; Chifa, a Latin-Asian restaurant named after the Peruvian eateries of the same name; Village Whiskey, a classic American bar with more than 80 whiskies and world-class bar snacks; Garces Trading Company, a gourmet market and café; and JG Domestic, a restaurant in the Cira Centre serving artisanal American food and drink. Other Philadelphia projects in the works for 2010 include: Frohman’s Wursthaus, a fun beers-and-bratwursts joint; and Guapos Tacos, a Mexican food truck.
Chef Garces is also the executive chef at Chicago’s much-praised Catalan restaurant Mercat a la Planxa, where he works in collaboration with Sage Restaurant Group. Both Distrito and Mercat were named to Esquire magazine’s list of “20 Best New Restaurants, 2008.”
“Growing from chef to chef-owner to restaurateur has been an incredible thrill,” says Chef Garces, “but once I’ve completed these upcoming projects, it will be time to relax and enjoy everything that I have worked so hard to build.”
In addition to his successful restaurant ventures, Chef Garces found time to write his first cookbook, Latin Evolution (Lake Isle Press, September 2008). The book contains modern recipes through which Chef Garces provides authoritative, much-needed context for the newly ubiquitous flavors and cooking styles of Spain, Mexico and much of South America, exploring the history of these cuisines even as he shapes their future.
“As a chef,” he writes in the introduction, “my constant challenge is to find the possibilities that new ingredients and techniques offer, while honoring what has come before. My mantra is simple: ‘authentic’ and ‘innovative’ are not contradictory. This recipe collection is a highly personal mix of my family history, culinary training and personal creativity. That’s how my cuisine evolved.”
Chef Garces won the most recent season of Food Network’s The Next Iron Chef, a fierce competition between 10 top chefs, and is now appearing on the 2010 season of Iron Chef America. As in his other television appearances, he was relaxed and amicable, able to easily explain his method while executing top-notch culinary marvels. His photogenic presence and ease onscreen make him a natural choice for such roles, and a compelling voice for America’s thriving Latin food movement.
An American chef born to Ecuadorian parents and raised in Chicago, Chef Garces began his culinary training in the kitchen of his paternal grandmother. In developing his personal cooking style, something he says is an ongoing pursuit, Garces spent years perfecting different cuisines in top-rated professional kitchens. “I’ve been privileged to work with some of the finest chefs in America and Spain,” says Chef Garces, “but my passion for cooking comes from my early memories of preparing meals for my family with Mamita Amada. Even when I was a child, I was drawn to the joy of cooking a great meal. I have always loved the way that food can transform a person’s whole outlook and really make their day.”
Today, that young man from Chicago is known for his wide smile and educational approach to food. Garces has been featured on top TV shows and in prestigious publications such as: Today Show, Nightline, The New York Times, Travel & Leisure, Conde Nast Traveler, Bon Appetit, Food & Wine and Wall Street Journal
GUEST CELEBRITY CHEF Nicola Chessa
Nicola Chessa was born in 1966 on the Mediterranean Island of Sardinia. From the very start, his life was filled with a passion for food. He studied and mastered the foods of his native land while serving as an apprentice at The II Ginepro Restaurant, located on the coast of Sardinia.
During his life in Sardinia, he began to travel each season to various northern and southern Italian regions. His travel provided an opportunity to learn all of the basic techniques and ingredients unique to each region. In addition, Chessa received personal guidance from many highly-regarded professional chefs specific to each region. In effect, these experiences have allowed him to master the diversities of his culinary skill.
In 1992, Chessa moved to Rome to work in special events and catering at the prestigious Petrollini Banchetti. During this time, he had the opportunity to present his talent for Italy's jet set and other infamous clientele. Pope John Paul II even received the pleasure of tasting a delight from Chessa during many events held in Vatican City, including serving as the executive chef at the gala reopening of the Sistine chapel in 1996.
In 1998, Chessa set his sights on North America. He presented his culinary art as chef at Arcodoro in Houston, Tex., recognized by restaurant critic John Mariani of the New York Times as the finest Sardinian-style restaurant in the United States. Eventually, he relocated to Washington, D.C., and served as executive chef at Café Milano, where he presented his talent to celebrity clientele including congressional leaders, world-renowned entertainers and numerous dignitaries.
Chessa joined restaurateur Piero Selvaggio's award-winning Valentino Restaurant Group in May of 2003. He worked as a sous chef under James Beard award-winning Chef Luciano Pellegrini, at Valentino Las Vegas inside The Venetian-Resort-Hotel-Casino and after a short time was named Executive Chef at Giorgio Las Vegas at The Mandalay Bay-Resort-Casino where he was in charge since the opening of the kitchen operations and menu. In early 2010, Chessa was named Executive Chef at Valentino Santa Monica, Selvaggio's flagship restaurant that first opened its doors in 1972. Here Chessa will oversee kitchen operations and menu creation for the one-Michelin star dining icon.
HOST CELEBRITY CHEF Bernard Guillas
RESTAURANT The Marine Room
Maitre Cuisiniers de France and Award-winning Chef Bernard Guillas joined La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club, Inc. as executive chef in June 1994. Right at home in La Jolla, Guillas' affinity for the coastal lifestyle reminded him of his home in Brittany. "When I lived in France, the smell of the sea and the lure of its bounty were constantly part of our table," Guillas recalls. "I'm inspired by the variety and quality of the local produce and seafood found throughout our region. I love to use my classical training and my love for Pan Pacific flavors in all our restaurants." Guillas is responsible for directing the resort's three restaurants and all catering operations for the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club, the Shores Restaurant at the La Jolla Shores Hotel, and the landmark Marine Room restaurant.
Guillas, no stranger to classic tradition, insists, "a good cook is a sorcerer who dispenses happiness on a plate." For this chef, it is the magic of adding unusual seasonings to titillate the palate. He learned his alchemy early. Born into a family of butchers, bakers, and restaurateurs, Guillas' Britannic upbringing was
influenced by his daily exposure to fine cuisine. He began his formal training in 1978, at Le Bretagne Restaurant in Questembert, France, where he apprenticed with the legendary Georges Paineau. Over the next six years he expanded his culinary knowledge with several Maitres Cuisinier de France fine dining restaurants. Jumping continents, Guillas moved on to become chef de cuisine at Le Dolmen in French Guyana. Richly diverse South American flavors still influence his food today.
In 1984, Guillas moved to Washington DC as chef tournant, chef saucier, and sous chef under Pierre Chambrin, former White House executive chef, at Maison Blanche. In 1989, he relocated to San Diego and spent five years as chef de cuisine at the Grant Grill, located in the US Grant Hotel in downtown San
Diego's historic district. In 2001 Guillas was inducted into the International Restaurant & Hospitality Rating Bureau's American Chefs' Hall of Fame. Guillas is one of only fourteen chefs to receive this honor.
Recently, Guillas has added and self published his first cookbook, Flying Pans with co-author and chef de cuisine of the Marine Room, Ron Oliver. Flying Pans was awarded two IACP book of the year awards in the categories of Chefs and Restaurants and the coveted People's Choice. The cookbook was also named as IACP top three finalist in the category of Food Styling and Photography. Flying Pans was awarded top 10 Cookbook in America at Book Expo America in 2010.
A recent appearance on The Today Show added to the list of Guillas' multiple television appearances to his roster of impressive credits. Chef Bernard was selected as one of fifteen "Rising Star Chefs" (1996), he has appeared in Food Arts Magazine, the "Rising Star Chef" cookbook and PBS' "Rising Chef" television series and has been a guest on Martha Stewart Living Radio show and KPBS. He was recently featured on the Today Show and is a regular guest chef on KTLA morning show in Los Angeles.
Guillas has been invited as guest chef to the prestigious James Beard House in New York on many occasions. Selected as San Diego's "Best Chef" numerous times, including the Gold Medallion Awards (California Restaurant Association, San Diego Chapter), Chef Magazine, San Diego Home/Garden Lifestyles Magazine Readers Poll and San Diego Magazine People's and Critic's Choice. Guillas continues to infuse the local culinary scene with his unique talent and engaging personality.
Chef Guillas promotes sustainability and plays an active role in supporting his local community. He regularly participates in Mama's Kitchen, Share Our Strength Taste of the Nation fund-raiser for hunger relief, the San Diego Bay Wine and Food Festival, annual guest chef for Celebrities Cook for Cancer, a fund-raiser that benefits the University of California San Diego Cancer Center. Guillas is also the chef spokesman for the Macy's School of Cooking where he shares his passion for the culinary arts. He travels extensively throughout the world promoting his restaurants and the San Diego region.
CO-HOST CHEF Ron Oliver
RESTAURANT The Marine Room
Chef Ron Oliver travels to far reaches of the world in search of culinary inspiration.
But back in his home kitchen, he seeks out the finest local, natural, and fresh
ingredients to star in his tasty creations. A tireless globetrotter from an early age,
Ron's unique talent is to blend the exotic ingredients found on his travels into signature
dishes that surprise and delight the palate.
His first cookbook, the celebrated Flying Pans, nominated for Cookbook of the Year,
illustrates Chef Ron's fine balance between ethnic discovery and culinary sophistication.
As Chef de Cuisine at the prestigious Marine Room in La Jolla, California, Ron has led
his talented team to eight titles as Best Restaurant in San Diego.
His passion for food and cooking expands to support local schools and to help young
people learn about food literacy by planting sustainable gardens. Ron is also an
accomplished artist creating unique food-inspired art objects for his fans.
Ron lives in San Diego with his wife, Isabel, and their two daughters.