with Marine Room’s Chef Bernard Guillas
If you are a La Jollan, then the name Bernard Guillas should be one you are only too familiar with. As executive chef of the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club, the Shores Restaurant at the La Jolla Shores Hotel, and the landmark AAA 4-diamond Marine Room restaurant, Maitre Cuisinier de France Bernard Guillas has called our jewel by the sea home for well over two decades now. He describes it as love at first sight!
“As I entered the Marine Room, the wall to ceiling window being kissed by the waves reminded me of my childhood growing up on the coast of Brittany. It was the beginning of a beautiful journey,” says Chef Guillas. “La Jolla is a unique community with natural beauty and multi-faceted global culture, art and cuisine. My goal as a chef has been to promote our region and cuisine throughout the world.”
In doing so, his impressive roster of credits include appearances on The Today Show, Martha Stewart Radio, Food Arts magazine and the Discovery Channel’s Great Chefs of the World television series. He has been guest chef multiple times at the James Beard House in New York and he has been named Chef Magazine’s Chef of the Year and San Diego’s Best Chef numerous times.
His philanthropic pursuits include Slow Food, The Beard House Foundation, Chaine des Rotisseurs, American Institute of Wine and Food, and international charities. He is also a cookbook author, having self-published his first book, Flying Pans, with co-author and chef de cuisine of the Marine Room, Ron Oliver. His second cookbook, Two Chefs One Catch: A Culinary Exploration of Seafood, was published November 2014.
Chef Guillas’ romance with the culinary world began early, his Brittanic upbringing influenced by his daily exposure to fine cuisine. “Born into a family of bakers, butchers, farmers and fishermen made my calling to the kitchen a natural path and vocation. Endless creativity, artistry and intuition were always part of my passion while cooking in the kitchen growing up. The discovery of ingredients would awaken all of my senses.”
He began his formal training at Le Bretagne Restaurant in Questembert, France, where he apprenticed with the legendary Georges Paineau. Jumping continents, Chef Guillas moved on to become chef de cuisine at Le Dolmen in French Guyana and to the Maison Blanche restaurant in Washington DC as chef tournant, chef saucier, and sous chef under Pierre Chambrin, former White House executive chef.
Chef Guillas 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. He became the Executive Chef of La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club in 1994. He is also the chef spokesman for the Macy’s School of Cooking where he shares his passion for the culinary arts.
Chef Guillas travels extensively throughout the world promoting his restaurants and the San Diego region. “I am energized by the beauty of life, the art of cooking, the discovery of travel and the passion of the human race,” he shares. “Traveling the world, I am inspired by all of the warm, friendly hospitable people who opened their hearts and homes along the way while sharing their culture and cuisine with me during this exhilarating voyage.”
For this chef, it is the magic of adding unusual seasonings to titillate the palate that does the trick. He promotes sustainability and plays an active role in supporting his local community while infusing the local culinary scene with his unique talent. “Sustainable cuisine is the future. Focusing on the ingredient’s freshness and flavor profile enhances each dish. All ingredients must be in synergy to create the ultimate culinary experience.”
So what’s in store next in the life of this highly acclaimed chef? “In January, I have the honor of being inducted in the prestigious Acadamie Culinaire de France in New York, the Cayman Cookout in the Cayman Islands with my friends Eric Ripert, Anthony Bourdain and many others. As for more books, they are simmering gently. Stay tuned…Life is delicious!”