Chef Talk
Chef Bernard Guillas
Award-winning Chef Bernard Guillas joined La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club, Inc. as executive chef de cuisine 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, 46, is responsible for directing the resort's three restaurants and all catering operations for: the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club, as well as the La Jolla Shores Hotel, and the landmark Marine Room Restaurant.

As executive chef de cuisine, Guillas oversees all menus, wine lists, and special events. 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.

Recently, Guillas has added a cookbook and television appearances to his roster of impressive credits and awards. Thanks to his being selected as one of fifteen "Rising Star Chefs" in 1996, he has appeared in Food Arts Magazine, the "Rising Star Chef" cookbook and PBS' "Rising Chef" television series and "Cuisine of California" cooking video. Guillas was part of a San Diego regional team, which appeared at the James Beard House . He was also awarded the "Best Chef in San Diego" award at the California Restaurant Association, San Diego Chapter's, Gold Medallion Awards Dinner.

Chef Guillas plays an active role in supporting his local community. He regularly participates in the Share Our Strength Taste of the Nation fund-raiser for hunger relief, the KPBS Food and Wine Festival, and recently was a guest chef for Celebrities Cook for Cancer, a fund-raiser that benefits the University of California San Diego Cancer Center. He travels extensively throughout the country promoting his restaurants and the San Diego region.