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New Food Team At Waldorf Astoria


The Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach has seen its share of changes in the past few years, including a record $500 million property sale in 2019, a name and brand swap, and a multi-million dollar renovation between moves at the 400-room, 800,000-square-foot luxury resort in Recently.

The hotel’s latest makeover, Orange County’s first Waldorf Astoria, is food-oriented: The resort recently hired two distinguished culinary talents to its leadership team: Chef Gordon Mayberry and Chef Peter Lai.

Mayberry has been named executive chef of the resort, overseeing culinary experiences throughout the entire resort, while Lai takes on the role of executive chef of Bourbon Steakhouse Orange County, chef and restaurateur Michael Mina’s nod to the American steakhouse.

This announcement follows the retirement of the resort’s esteemed Executive Chef Jean-Pierre Debray, who helped select these culinary leaders to continue his legacy.

As the resort’s executive chef, Mayberry will direct the hotel’s culinary operations, including overseeing seven dining destinations and robust banquet and catering operations.

As executive chef of Bourbon Steak, Lai is tasked with championing Michael Mina’s culinary vision. Lai has served as executive chef at several notable restaurants in Orange County, including Water Grill, Blind Rabbit, and Oak Grill.

Business mindset

Mayberry has worked at several upscale resorts, including the Arizona Biltmore.

The Dana Point Resort, which was purchased by Ohana Real Estate Investors LLC for $1.25 million a key in 2019 and later renamed the Waldorf Astoria, is Maybury’s first project in California.

The main goal is consistency, Mayberry said.

“Guests want the same experience,” Mayberry said. “You have eight different outlets in Monarch Beach, so you’re responsible for the quality of the food at all those places, and you’re involved in staffing at all those places, so you have to have product consistency, as well as dealing with chefs and chefs and sous chefs, and dealing with financial obligations.” .

Ohana, which has invested in other OC resorts, last year sold a 40% stake in the resort to the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians for $600 million.

Dubray noted that there are many responsibilities that fall on the executive chef.

“Meetings are organized, not just for today or tomorrow, but for next week, or next month. Meeting for holiday menus. You’re always thinking about the next thing. Yesterday we cannot change. It’s the executive chef’s job to think ahead.”

“The staff works today and tomorrow, the sous chefs work for the week, the chefs work all month, and we work beyond that,” Mayberry said.

High quality standards

While Mayberry oversees all of the resort’s culinary offerings, Lay is focusing on its most popular restaurant, Bourbon Steak, which has seen its own makeover at the hotel; It was formerly known as Stonehill Tavern.

He is tasked with ensuring that all dishes are prepared constantly while introducing new ones.

“There are standards that you have to hold with the name Michael Mina,” Lay said. “There’s a little freedom in how we paint things, and we can change with the seasons. We do private dinners and tastings as well as menus.”

Lai also emphasized trying the bourbon steak.

“You can get steaks in a lot of places, but here we give you an experience. You touch the table with the bartender. If you order chicken, he carves the chicken at the side of the table, explains the story, smells the smells, the feelings, the essence. Everything here is done with meaning.” “

Chopped test

“It took him three months to hire,” Dubray said of Lai. “There was Operation Waldorf-Astoria and Operation Michael Mina.”

That process involved something akin to the Food Network show “Chopped,” where Lai had to cook dishes for a panel of judges, including Dubray.

“They gave me a choice of what to do. I had to prepare appetizers and entrees. They gave me free range, but also a surprise option, which was to make a dish with the ingredients they gave me,” Lai recalls.

Lai clearly passed the gastronomic test.

“We are fortunate to work for a great brand,” Dubray said. “Gordon’s not going to come to a broken place and have to put it back together again. Things are going well, so it’s about keeping going.”

Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach:
1 Monarch Beach Resort, Dana Point,
(949) 234-3368, waldorfastoriamonarchbeach.com

Dubray contracts One of the luxury restaurants

Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach’s departing Executive Chef, Jean-Pierre Dupray, has a 40-year career at some of the world’s finest hotels and resorts and an impressive track record in Orange County.

Before joining Dana Point Resort, he helped open The Resort at Pelican Hill in Newport Coast, where he spent more than 10 years before coming to what was known as Monarch Beach Resort during the pandemic.

Some of Dupray’s favorite memories include cooking alongside notable names like Julia Child and Paul Bocuse.

George Munz, the resort’s general manager, said Dubray “is leaving an indelible impact on the Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach and the broader hospitality community.”

“His close involvement in the selection of our new culinary leaders is a testament to Chef Duprey’s stewardship of his legacy and his commitment to the resort’s future success.”

Dubray came to America in 1980 from France when he was 21 and opened a restaurant in Brea called La Vie En Rose. He then became dining room chef and executive sous chef at the Ritz-Carlton in Dana Point, and then served as executive chef at the Ritz-Carlton in Rancho Santa Mirage and the Ritz-Carlton in San Francisco.

“San Francisco was the best job you could imagine,” Dubray recalls. “The food scene was amazing, and our hotel was a destination hotel. Then the stock market crash came, and I moved back to Southern California and opened Pelican Hill.

Dubray said he is looking forward to retirement because it will give him more time to garden, and he won’t have to sacrifice weekends and vacations.



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