Meet the Chefs
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 outlets at the Rancho Bernardo Inn Golf Resort & Spa in San Diego, 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.
After leaving the farm, he sharpened his skills in some of the country’s best restaurants and trained under a succession of storied chefs. He spent his formidable years working side by side with James Beard “Best Chef”, Elizabeth Terry (of Elizabeth’s on 37th fame), Michelin Star chef Guenter Seeger and acclaimed chef Jean Banchet. While he learned first-hand the concept of farm-to-table from his parents, from these culinary legends he mastered technique and the ins and outs of a professional kitchen. It’s the kind of grueling education that can make or break a young chef – for Bour, the experience enhanced his natural ability to create ambitious, memorable food.
“My cuisine is simple and fresh”, says the chef who in 2006 steered the helm at The Farmhouse in Georgia and helped garner Gourmet Magazine’s Best Farm to Table restaurant award. “I don’t like to play with food too much. Instead, I focus on the ingredients and how best to bring them out.”
Dark chocolate tequila truffles may sound simple to some, but for Margaret Nolan, they are liquid gold.
“These truffles provide just the right amount of decadence to end a meal,” says the Rancho Bernardo Inn Pastry Chef. “The subtlety of the tequila blends with the chocolate, leaving a warming sensation that clings to your lips. And when you break through the shell, it’s like liquid gold melting in your mouth. I’ve never had someone eat just one.”
The same can be said of any of Margaret’s creations. No one ever eats just one. From her Meyer Lemon Poppyseed Cake with Huckleberries and Creme Fraiche to her Lemon Verbena-Soaked Olive Oil Cake to her Dark Chocolate Brownie Infused with Cumin and Paprika then Covered with Chocolate Ganache – her pastries are more than indulgent, they are down right addicting.
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.
Garde Manger Banquet Chef
Nicolai has been working in and around upscale kitchens for over 17 years throughout CA. A resort style chef, he graduated with honors from Le Cordon Bleu culinary school in San Francisco in 2004. Spending the next few years on the Hawaiian islands working for various resorts including the Fairmont Orchid Hotel and Resort, he returned to California. Nicolai currently works as Garde Manger Banquet Chef and focuses on large in-house groups at Rancho Bernardo Inn. He enjoys writing and blogging about food and has a few published articles on foodanddrinkdigital.com and in the La Jolla Village newspaper.