Maitre Cuisiniers de France and 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.
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. Flying Pans was awarded two IACP book of the year awards in the categories of Chefs and Restaurants and the coveted People’s Choice. The cookbook was also named as IACP top three finalist in the category of Food Styling and Photography. Flying Pans was awarded top 10 Cookbook in America at Book Expo America in 2010.
A recent appearance on The Today Show added to the list of Guillas’ multiple television appearances to his roster of impressive credits. Chef Bernard was 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. He was recently featured on the Today Show and is a regular guest chef on KTLA morning show in Los Angeles.
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.