Art Alive 2012 | Opening Celebration | Meet the Chefs
The Museum is pleased to introduce the chefs who will be providing the delicious food for the Art Alive 2012 Opening Celebration. Thank you all in advance for your hard work and the spectacular tastes.
Nick Shinton, Chef | Trulucks
Originally from Washington, D.C., Nick has called San Diego home for 5 years.
Growing up in the mid-Atlantic, Nick knows a great crab cake when he sees one and considers it his favorite comfort food. In Washington, D.C., Nick worked at a number of Washingtonian favorites including Clyde's, Smith Point, The Felix and Jetties. Prior to his Chef position at Truluck's, Nick was a Sous Chef at Delicias in Rancho Santa Fe.
Nick is an avid surfer, loves the ocean, and is passionate about sustainable seafood.
Amy Dibiase, Chef de Cuisine | The Shores Restaurant
After leaving her hometown of Hollis near Portland, Maine, and her family’s restaurants to pursue her culinary career, almost a decade has passed since DiBiase arrived on the San Diego culinary scene. Within her first five years she worked her way up from Cook to Executive Chef at Laurel Restaurant & Bar and honed her cooking style – a California twist on Italian and French cuisine – to incorporate the fresh, local and sustainable ingredients available in San Diego.
After Laurel Restaurant & Bar, DiBiase was Chef de Cuisine at Paradise Point Resort & Spa’s Baleen
restaurant and helped open Roseville in Point Loma – both stints garnered top reviews and best dining
A member of San Diego’s Cooks Confab, a group of San Diego chefs who promote local, sustainable and responsible menus, DiBiase also donates time to local events and charities, including the San Diego Center for Children, the Center for Community Solutions, Chef Celebration, and Olivewood Gardens. She holds degrees in Culinary Arts and Food Service Management from Johnson & Wales University in Rhode Island.
Simon Dolinky, Executive Chef | Saltbox Dining & Drinking
Executive Chef Simon Dolinky's passion for cooking was sparked at a young age when he embarked on childhood trips to the Madison Farmers Market in Wisconsin’s bustling Capitol Square. During these weekly outings, the aspiring chef found himself fascinated by the local farmers who dedicated their time and effort to bring a bounty of fresh produce to the market to share with others. This interest in locally-grown produce deeply inspired Dolinky, and became the backbone of his culinary path and style.
Dolinky has worked with some of the most prestigious and well-recognized chefs in the industry, beginning his culinary career under the tutelage of one of his personal heroes, James Beard Award-winning Chef Sanford D’Amato of Coquette Café in Milwaukee. Working under D’Amato’s guidance, Dolinky learned about the importance of hospitality and infusing each dish with equal parts skill and enthusiasm – a technique that Dolinky maintains in each of his dishes today.
After four years, Dolinky took his culinary adventures abroad to Madrid, Spain. His passion and budding talent landed him as pastry chef at one of the city's best Italian restaurants, Ristorante II Gusto de Milano. Dolinky returned to the United States in 2003 where he delved further into culinary diversity, settling in New Orleans where he secured positions at August restaurant, helmed by Iron Chef winner and Food & Wine Best New Chef John Besh, as well as the kitchen of Susan Spicer’s Bayona restaurant, and David English’s restaurant, Cobalt.
His current culinary journey brought Dolinky to Southern California. In 2005, he served as Executive Sous Chef to acclaimed Executive Chef Christian Graves of JSix Restaurant at the Hotel Solamar in San Diego. Dolinky further honed his culinary and leadership skills as Executive Chef at BLVD 16 Restaurant & Lounge at the Hotel Palomar in Los Angeles. In fall 2011, Dolinky returned to San Diego, becoming Executive Chef of Saltbox Dining & Drinking in the Hotel Palomar in the city’s urban downtown area.
Jonathan Hale, Executive Chef | The Prado at Balboa Park
Executive Chef Jonathan Hale knew at an early age that he would one day become a chef. He had always enjoyed tasting different types and textures of food from all over the globe, which is most likely the result of Jonathan’s varying regional background. He was born in India, raised in London, and finished high school in New York. Jonathan’s first job in the restaurant industry began at the age of 17 as a waiter in Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
Jonathan’s ambition led him to the Culinary Institute of America in New York, where he graduated in 1991. He then began moving further westward and landed a position as Chef Tournant at the Renaissance Restaurant in Aspen, Colorado. He remained there for over 2 years and then decided to relocate to Hawaii where he could work with the freshest seafood possible. He started as a line cook at the famed Pacific Café with Jean-Marie Josselin in Maui and Kauai and was soon promoted to Executive Chef. After 7 years in Hawaii, Chef Hale moved to San Diego in 2001 and took over the helm as Executive Chef at the first seafood restaurant in the Gaslamp Quarter- Blue Point Coastal Cuisine.
In early 2010, Cohn Restaurant Group was very pleased to announce that Chef Jonathan Hale was appointed as the new Executive Chef of CRG’s award winning restaurant, The Prado at Balboa Park. Jonathan’s experience and unique style have quickly distinguished him as a leader and an innovator for the Cohn Restaurant Group.
Candace Nelson, Founder and Pastry Chef | Sprinkles Cupcakes
Candace Nelson is the founder and pastry chef of Sprinkles Cupcakes, the world's first cupcake bakery. Started in Beverly Hills in 2005, Candace's sophisticated take on the classic American cupcake made Sprinkles an overnight bakery sensation. Candace's cupcakes, made from the best ingredients and baked fresh throughout the day, inspire long lines of devoted fans as well as accolades from the likes of Oprah Winfrey, Blake Lively, Katie Holmes, Ryan Seacrest and Barbra Streisand. Today, Sprinkles has eight locations across the U.S. and a traveling Sprinklesmobile, sells its cupcake mixes at Williams-Sonoma stores in the U.S. and Canada, and has inspired a worldwide cupcake-bakery phenomenon.
Candace is a judge on Food Network's Cupcake Wars, and has been a contributor to The Best Thing I Ever Ate, as well as a judge on Bobby Flay's Cupcake Throwdown. Candace has appeared on The Martha Stewart Show and has been profiled on the Today show, Nightline and in People magazine. Her cupcakes have been featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show, and in Bon Appetit, Food and Wine, The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times.
Candace is a graduate of Tante Marie's Professional Pastry Program in San Francisco and Wesleyan University.
Stephen B. Window, Executive Chef | Roppongi Restaurant & Sushi Bar
British-born Stephen B. Window attended culinary school near his hometown of Manchester and embarked on a career that would take him to acclaimed restaurants around the world. His extensive travels give him an impressive expertise in many diverse cuisines—from the cooking of exotic Pacific islands to the classic recipes of Escoffier—all of which are embodied in his kitchen at Roppongi.
Following graduation, Window cooked at a number of prestigious properties throughout Great Britain, including a stint at the venerable Stanneylands Hotel. It was there that Window developed his own culinary style, winning Young Chef of the Year honors for the region, and an impressive top five finish.
Recruited by Westin Hotels, Window accepted an assignment at the Westin Maui, where he was Chef de Cuisine at its upscale seafood restaurant. He purchased his seafood directly from fishing boats and became acquainted with previously exotic Asian ingredients. The experience would ultimately be the genesis of the Pacific Rim cuisine he now serves at Roppongi. Window’s tenure with Westin took him to Ottawa, Kauai, and Palm Springs, all of which helped him develop his inventive signature style.
With a foundation of classic French technique and knowledge of Asian ingredients and culinary traditions, Window was selected to run the kitchen at the luxurious Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Manila. In addition to working at the hotel’s elegant Tivoli Restaurant, he took time out to coach the Philippine National Culinary Team, which brought home 29 medals from the International Culinary Olympics. Window found the firsthand exposure to authentic Asian cuisine invaluable, but a longing to return to America led to a position as Chef de Cuisine at Roy’s Seattle, a venture of celebrity chef Roy Yamaguchi at the Westin Seattle.
In 1998 Window joined the Ladeki Restaurant Group and opened Roppongi Restaurant & Sushi Bar in La Jolla, CA, where his love of classic culinary traditions and his appreciation for the diverse flavors of the Pacific have been allowed to flourish. During Window’s tenure at Roppongi, the restaurant has won many awards and he has received top honors, including the Institute of the Americas’ Chef of the Year (2001) and Critics’ Choice for Best Chef of 2003 by San Diego Magazine. Window served as a featured chef at the James Beard House—an honor all chefs dream of—not once but twice, in October 2002 and March 2004.
Jeffrey Strauss, Chef & Owner | Pamplemousse Grille
Chef and owner Jeffrey Strauss has a flair for presentation and an unquestionable talent for taste that has delighted the palates of the world’s most powerful business brokers, socialites, United States Presidents and both American and foreign dignitaries. He has turned from the world of “Chef to the Stars” to creating food that’s more personal and serving his family and friends.
Strauss’ eclectic inspirations for Pamplemousse Grille are drawn from the New Jersey farm of his grandparents, where he visited frequently as a child. He brought these inspirations to the prime Solana Beach location of the restaurant, just moments from the Pacific Ocean, across the street from the Del Mar Racetrack and down the road from acclaimed produce farms, nature preserves and polo grounds.
When he opened Pamplemousse Grille in 1996, Strauss made a personal statement with the casual yet elegant atmosphere, and inspired yet straightforward food that delights all the senses. His menu at Pamplemousse Grille melds his many creations and inspirations from his tenure as Executive Sous Chef and Executive Chef at Glorious Food, and his many travels to Europe.
In 2008 Jeffrey was honored to accept the 2008 ‘Nice Guy of the Year’ award from the very generous San Diego charitable foundation known as the ‘Nice Guys’. This organization’s focus is to empower struggling local families. This honor has been one of his more meaningful achievements due to its profound effect on the community he calls home.
Since its debut, Pamplemousse Grille has received many local and national awards including: “Best Restaurant, People’s Choice” San Diego Home & Gardens, “Best New Restaurant” “Best Caterer” and “San Diego’s Best Chef” San Diego Magazine, Zagat Rated #1 Restaurant in San Diego for three consecutive years.
David Meade, Chef | Nobu
Since its opening in 2007 David Meade has been the executive chef at the San Diego location of the world renowned Nobu restaurants. Dave has been with Nobu since 2001 working in Miami and as the executive sous chef at both Nobu Tribeca and Nobu 57 in New York. In addition to Nobu, Dave has also worked at L.A.’s Abiquiu, San Fransisco’s Plumpjack Café, and New York’s Tabla.
Dave’s father was also a chef and he names him as the main influence as to why he got into cooking. “All my life I’ve been in and out of kitchens so I’ve always felt naturally comfortable in one. That’s how I always knew I would become a chef” His approach to cooking is simple. “Don’t over complicate things with too many flavors. Let the food speak for itself. Also when it comes to flavors, you have to be bold and you have to be fearless. Always assume that everyone else out there is one step ahead of you to stay focused. Lastly, if it says it in the menu description you had better taste it in the dish.” His “less is more” approach naturally compliments the undeniable simplicity of Nobu’s cuisine.
Along with various television appearances, participation in numerous local charitable events, and his contribution to the success of Nobu’s Happy Hour, Dave has helped the restaurant earn several awards including: The California Restaurant Association’s Best Japanese 2010, San Diego Magazine’s Best New Restaurant 2008 and Best Japanese 2009, the Gaslamp Lamplighter’s Award for Best Asian in 2009 and 2010, and San Diego City Beat’s Best Japanese in 2010.
Patrick Ponsaty, Master French Chef | Mistral at Loews Coronado Bay Resort
Influenced by years of extensive training in kitchens around the world, Chef Patrick Ponsaty brings 30 years of experience and multiple Michelin Stars to his role as Chef de Cuisine of Mistral at Loews Coronado Bay Resort.
A fifth-generation French chef, Patrick’s culinary career started in his father’s own restaurant, Cochon de Lait (the Suckling Pig), in Cazeres, near Toulouse, France. By the age of 10, he worked side-by-side with his father to prepare roasted chicken, fresh pommes frites and other traditional French recipes. He was raised with a strong sense of family heritage and years of classical training, which later provided the foundation to the simple, yet intensely flavorful, modern French cuisine he offers today.
Patrick graduated culinary school before completing an apprenticeship at one of the best restaurants in Toulouse. From there, he trained at a variety of Two- and Three-Star Michelin restaurants in France and Spain under the direction of legendary Chefs Didier Oudill and Alain Ducasse. He has earned an impressive list of awards and recognitions, including “Best Hotel Chef in America” by James Beard Foundation and “Chef’s Hall of Fame” by San Diego Home/Garden. In 2012, Patrick joined the prestigious ranks of the Maître Cuisinier de France, earning the honor and title of Master Chef of France.
Before Loews, Patrick served as Chef de Cuisine of Bernard'O in San Diego, which under his direction received an impressive Very Good to Excellent rating by Zagat. Prior to that, he was Chef de Cuisine of El Bizcocho at Rancho Bernardo Inn in San Diego where he achieved the Mobil Five-Star Rating.
Today, Chef Patrick takes the helm of Loews Coronado Bay Resort’s signature restaurant, Mistral. His menu is best described as an evolution of French cuisine with robust, intense flavors inspired by Europe’s Mediterranean coast. He brings his fond childhood memories to life by utilizing the bounty of San Diego – a region that shares the same ecosystem as his hometown – and celebrates the immediacy of skilled farmers, foragers and fishermen.
Trey Foshee, Chef | George's at the Cove
Trey joined George’s at the Cove in the spring of 1999. Since then he’s been perfecting the art of highly seasonal cuisine made from the freshest, local ingredients. As a classically trained graduate of The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, Trey blends the nuances of technique with trial and innovation. Most recently, he asked himself, “What would happen if you took a fish taco and turned it kind of inside-out?” So he tried it. And a few versions later, small slices of buttery raw yellowfin became the “tortilla.” They wrapped around fried pieces of avocado with a cool crème sauce. For a little toasted corn flavor and crunch, they were dusted in corn nuts. That’s Trey’s style of California Modern cooking.
Trey has been awarded numerous accolades, including San Diego Chefs Hall of Fame, 2010 | "Chef of the Year," California Travel Industry Association, 2004 | James Beard House 100th Anniversary Guest Chef, 2003 | One of America’s Ten Best New Chefs, Food & Wine Magazine, 1998 | Golden Dish Award, GQ Magazine | Cuisines of the Sun Host Chef
Trey is also a partner chef with the California Avocado Council and the California Olive Ranch.
Joe Magnanelli, Executive Chef | CUCINA urbana
Joe Magnanelli, executive chef at Urban Kitchen, began his career at the age of 16 and quickly made a mark for himself as a force of natural talent. After gaining experience at various small, family-owned restaurants in his hometown in Maryland, Magnanelli set his sights on our nation’s capital. He worked in some of D.C.’s finest restaurants, beginning with a study of the art of French technique with Chef Sandro Gamba, an Alaine Ducasse disciple, at Lespinanasse. Moving on to the acclaimed Bistrot Lepic in upper Georgetown, he learned the rich, rustic fare of southern France under Stephane Lezla. After making a stop in the nation’s capital at the exclusive Ritz Carlton on M Street, Magnanelli decided to head west to San Diego. He landed at El Bizcocho at the Rancho Bernardo Inn, where he worked as sous chef under the direction of executive chef Gavin Kaysen.
In mid 2006, Magnanelli joined Urban Kitchen and became the chef de cuisine at Chive. His creative flare was celebrated in the California-inspired small plates menu, and in 2008 Joe took over the reigns at Laurel restaurant + bar.
In 2009, returning to his roots and family heritage, Magnanelli welcomed the idea of transforming Laurel into a high-energy, California-inspired Italian kitchen and wine shop. At CUCINA urbana, Joe has painted his greatest culinary canvas yet, creating a beautiful and simple farm fresh menu that offers exquisite fare at a value-driven price point. In late 2011, he worked with restaurateur Tracy Borkum to open a 2nd CUCINA in Orange County – CUCINA enoteca.
Magnanelli regularly contributes his time on behalf of community and charity events throughout the county in support of various local and national organizations, including Chef Showdown benefitting the Center for Community Solutions, Chef Celebration which raises funds for an annual local culinary scholarship fund, Kawasaki Disease Foundation, CRA, the San Diego internship program with SDCI, and Rock the Cure to help fight women’s cancers. He is also an avid supporter of sustainable farming practices and strives to work with as many local supplier partners as possible.
Katie Grebow, Chef | Cafe Chloe
Cafe Chloe’s Chef Katie Grebow has worked in the restaurant industry since she was a teenager. After graduating with a degree in art history from UC Riverside, she worked as an art consultant before deciding to attend the California School of Culinary Arts in Pasadena. There she completed the school’s Cordon Bleu program with top honors. Because she possesses such interest in the fine arts, Katie chose to pursue a culinary career in order to express herself creatively, as it integrates her love of art and culture with the immediate, sensual pleasure of working with her hands.
She cites the Japanese tea ceremony, which demonstrates ritual through cuisine and art combined, as an inspiration for her. Alice Waters and Deborah Madison, in their celebration of fresh, local, and seasonal produce have been her strongest culinary influences. By intuitively using regional ingredients and a rustic style, Katie is able to express a sense of cultural heritage through her cooking.
Colin MacLaggan, Chef and Proprietor | Avenue 5
Raised in San Diego, Colin MacLaggan began working at local restaurants while still in high school. He always felt drawn to the kitchen. In truth, he was utterly fascinated by the controlled chaos and unpredictability of the kitchen, as well as the teamwork and melding of personalities typically found in culinary epicenters.
Colin made a key career move by enrolling at the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Institute in London. After graduating with a Grande Diplome, a distinction earned by only the highest-ranking chefs, he was recruited by London’s noted Conran Restaurant Group to work under the direction of Chef Jonathan Nicholson at the Le Pont de la Tour and Cantina del Ponte restaurants. Chef Colin found his skills, patience and determination quickly put to the test. This invaluable experience created the foundation for his future successes.
In 1999, Colin returned to San Diego to work under Martin Woesle at the top-rated Mille Fleurs in Rancho Santa Fe. Woesle, famed for his farm to table philosophy in partnership with the equally famous Chino’s Farm in Rancho Santa Fe, which Colin visited daily, impressed on him the importance of using only the freshest and highest-quality ingredients. From Mille Fleurs he ventured on to Boulder, Colorado where he cooked under the well-known Chef Kevin Taylor at Dandelion. Until his hometown of San Diego came calling him back to work as sous-chef at Bertand at Mister A’s, where he met Chef Carl Schroeder, whom he accompanied to Del Mar to open the noted Arterra restaurant. Here, both men opened the restaurant with the renowned Chef Bradley Ogden of the Lark Creek Inn Group.
In addition, Colin has held positions as Chef de Cuisine and Pastry Chef at La Jolla Country Club as well as Executive Chef at a Relais & Chateaux resort, Rancho Valencia in Rancho Santa Fe. Colin believes in constantly building upon his education and has taken master classes in places like the Culinary Institute of America (CIA), Napa, California.
In 2007, Colin successfully launched his first restaurant and bar, AVE 5, in Bankers Hill San Diego. AVE 5 is an award winning restaurant known for their monthly-changing menu with nightly specials featuring locally grown ingredients, great atmosphere, craft cocktails, nightly happy hours and one of San Diego’s few eccentric bars. They serve modern American cuisine in a simple, three-component dish philosophy, to suit an array of appetites and cuisine that highlights regional flavors. AVE 5’s continued success is attributed to Colin’s dedicated hands on approach with both the kitchen as well as the public.