AVANT at the Rancho Bernardo Inn (FKA El Bizcocho) Reservations

Meet the Chefs


Carissa Giacalone,
Executive Chef / Director of Culinary Operations (Rancho Bernardo Inn)

Giacalone’s love affair with food was sparked as a child growing up on a small dairy farm in South-Central Washington State. In 2003 she attended Le Cordon Bleu culinary institute in Paris, France. After graduating with a degree in both French cuisine and French Pâtisserie (pastry), she honed her culinary skills under the tutelage of some of Paris’ premier chefs and patissieres, including Jean-Louis Nomicos at Lasserre, Laurent Duchene and Pierre Hermé. In 2005, Giacalone returned to San Diego and has continued to perfect her skills in sous chef, chef, and executive chef positions, most recently as executive chef at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront Resort.

Always on the hunt for new and interesting things, Carissa currently teaches local culinary classes, acts as the Executive Chef at the Rancho Bernardo Inn, is in the process of writing her own cookbook and continues to pursue her ultimate dream of hosting her own television cooking show.


Margaret Nolan Carvallo,
Pastry Chef (Rancho Bernardo Inn)

Having come from a long line of sweet tooths, Margaret says in her large family, life thrived and revolved around the dining table. Her love for sweets was born during childhood, when tea parties and baking with Grandma were the norm. Today, after having trained at The California Culinary Academy in San Francisco, and working at The Lodge at Torrey Pines, The Ivy Hotel and Currant American Brasserie, this talented chef creates each dessert as though she were embarking on a fun new adventure.