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. As executive chef, 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. 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. Guillas’ multiple television appearances added to his roster of impressive credits in addition to being 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.
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.