Meet the Chefs
Executive Chef, Nicolas Bour
Executive Chef, Nicolas Bour has cooked for two presidents; steamed scallops in a clay pot for Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia; created authentic curry dishes for the sultan of Brunei; and served up huge pans of post-Superbowl paella for the New Orleans Saints. But ask him about his favorite culinary experience and you won’t hear about any high-profile appearances – instead, he’ll talk your ear off about Iris, the highly acclaimed Atlanta bistro he launched in 2002. Opening his own restaurant didn’t come without hiccups and heartache, but the craftsmanship that went on behind the scenes made every minute worth it.
That’s because Bour, Executive Chef of AVANT and Rancho Bernardo Inn, inherited a passion for food, fresh ingredients and authentic flavor from his French father and American mother who raised him on a working organic farm. Meals were made with the day’s harvest, and even at a young age, Bour formed an appreciation for the simplest ingredients.
“My cooking philopsophy is simple and fresh,” says the chef who took the reins at Rancho Bernardo Inn in 2010 and led the way for the property’s new signature restaurant. “AVANT menus highlight the best quality ingredients San Diego has to offer, and our team brings them out the best we can.”
Chef de Cuisine, James Kozak
Originally from Chicago, Chef Kozak learned to cook at a young age with his mother. Always passionate about his hobby, he decided to attend the Western Culinary Institute in Portland. With experience in excellent restaurants across the country including Angele in Napa Valley, the Talon Lodge in Alaska, Larkspur and Juniper in Colorado and most recently, Charlie Trotter’s in Chicago, James is very ambitious and is constantly learning new modern cooking techniques. An avid outdoorsman, in his spare time he loves riding motorcycles, mountain biking and surfing. He’s excited to get started in San Diego after a long stint in Chicago, where produce is available year-round, and farm-to-table is common practice. And we’re guessing he’s pretty excited about the surf as well.
Margaret Nolan Carvallo, Pastry Chef
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 worked 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.