Corporate Executive Chef
Gobbling up homemade chocolate chip cookies has been a culinary primer for kids in the kitchen for generations. For Corporate Executive Chef, Ron Fougeray, the techniques and ingredients were more intriguing. His quest for knowledge eventually led him to study at the respected Johnson & Wales University in the Culinary Arts Program.
Time spent at Philadelphia’s most famous restaurant, Le Bec-Fin proved instrumental for Chef Ron. Considered an institution in Philadelphia, the restaurant was rated America’s finest French restaurant, and Mobil Travel Guide consistently awarded it five stars for 40 years. During his nearly seven year tenure, Chef Ron was mentored by renowned owner and French chef, Georges Perrier, and worked his way up to Chef de Cuisine. Georges left an indelible impression on Chef Ron, teaching him to expect only the highest standards for his menu, staff and cooking equipment. Chef Georges continues to be a mentor and personal friend. In 2009, Chef Ron transitioned to Bibou BYOB, where he worked side-by-side with owner and chef, Pierre Calmels. He started off as Chef de Cuisine and worked his way up to Executive Chef in 2013. Bibou garnered a variety of accolades during his tenure. GQ Magazine named it one of “The Top 10 New Restaurants” and it was voted the top restaurant in Philadelphia on NBC.com. It was also named a James Beard Finalist for Best New Restaurant and received four bells (highest rating) from the Philadelphia Inquirer. There were only four restaurants in the entire city to be awarded that distinction.
For the past three years, Ron has been Executive Chef of Surf & Sand Resort, including banquet operations and renowned Splashes Restaurant. He is excited to work with and lead a larger team as Corporate Executive Chef, overseeing all culinary operations for JC Resorts. Having learned from such respected culinarians, Chef Ron is passionate about making everything from scratch and sourcing the finest possible ingredients. A keen appreciation for food history plays a large role in the style and flavors that he brings to all JC Resorts dining. While in the kitchen, Chef Ron stresses teamwork to elevate the performance of the entire staff. Everyone being in sync is critical to achieving the ultimate goal – smiles from guests.
“Culinary arts is a revolving wheel. It helps to remember the ideas and techniques of those that came before us, while putting a modern twist on flavors and presentation.”
Regional Sommelier & Cellar Master
Joe Baumgardner, our Sommelier & Cellar Master at JC Resorts, has been bringing new wines and exciting pairings to the table at AVANT since October 2015. Joe’s interest in wine was sparked by his father who collected wines in the 1960s and 70s (and lucky for Joe, he was able to learn about these wines by dipping into the family cellar when his father wasn’t looking). Working in restaurants since the age of 15, it became apparent that Joe’s passion was strong enough that he should pursue a career in wine. He achieved the Sommelier Diploma from the International Sommelier Guild in 2008.
Director of Food & Beverage
Christopher Reid, Director of Food & Beverage at Rancho Bernardo Inn, brings a wealth of executive leadership to the position. Reid has been Director of F&B at La Valencia Hotel in La Jolla, General Manager and Wine Director at Hotel Del Coronado’s 1500 Ocean, Managing Partner at downtown San Diego’s Magnolia Tap & Kitchen, and Director of Outlets at the Manchester Grand Hyatt. Additionally, he was the General Manager of Puesto San Diego, organizing the company’s transition from a single unit fast-casual concept to a multi-unit full service business model.
Christopher became passionate about food & beverage at a young age. This passion, combined with a sense of wanderlust, took him on an international journey in his early twenties, exposing him to a wider world of food and beverage. Christopher’s philosophy is, “To eat well, you must travel well; and to travel well, you must eat well.” Reid enjoys the continuous changes happening in this industry, from grape varietals to cooking techniques noting, “Food nourishment is one of few things that all living beings have in common – and several of us have a true appreciation for it.” Reid has continually expanded his culinary knowledge, and is particularly interested in pairing wine with food. His training includes classes through the Wine & Spirit Education Trust and feels Rancho Bernardo Inn has a truly fantastic wine program. Additionally, Reid feels Rancho Bernardo Inn is particularly well positioned to take advantage of emerging trends in the industry - hyperlocal foraging, experiential dining, exclusive Chef-driven tasting menus, and health-conscientious, ‘thoughtful’ cuisine.
Reid’s management philosophy is to provide an unparalleled dining experience while delivering on his five quality measurables: food, beverage, ambiance, service, and value. “If high marks are earned in these areas while consistently exceeding expectations within our five senses, the potential is limitless.”
We are thrilled to have Christopher here at the Inn as our Director of Food & Beverage.
Executive Chef John Shelton’s culinary adventure began as an apprentice breakfast cook at the Ritz-Carlton working his way up the ranks to Banquet Chef, Chef de Cuisine, and fine dining Sous Chef positions. After the Ritz-Carlton, he was a Regional Area Executive Chef for Starwood Hotels crisscrossing the country opening properties and acting as the culinary charge for global events and overseeing the pre-openings of multiple hotels. In this role, he developed kitchen designs, set up multi-property purchasing programs, and constructed innovative plated dinners with open kitchens in large convention areas.
He ran the famous Hotel Del Coronado kitchens for 12 years creating world class dining events for up to 2,500 guests and building elegant large scale beach clambakes as well as redesigning all kitchen outlets. John went to Hawaii as the area Director of Food and Beverage for Outrigger Hotels & Resorts before his visionary direction was needed back in San Diego for the multi-million-dollar renovation of the Town and Country Hotel.
John brings culinary leadership from his word class culinary environments and innovative cooking techniques from his many travels to San Diego's legendary Rancho Bernardo Inn.
His greatest assets are creativity and pulling strong teams together. John spends his off-time surfing, fishing, working on his various art projects, and photographing marine life. His marine photography works have been used in California State Fish Advisories, National Geographic presentations, and nonprofit marine life groups.
Margaret Nolan Carvallo
Executive 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.
AVANT Chef de Cuisine
With over a decade of experience in kitchens throughout San Diego, AVANT Chef de Cuisine Sergio Jimenez was instilled with a passion for cooking at a very young age. A humble introduction to the culinary world, Chef Sergio discovered his love for food while cooking alongside his Aunt with nothing more than a small flat top, cutting board, and knife.
At the age of sixteen, Chef Sergio enrolled in the San Diego Culinary Institute where he learned valuable lessons and was introduced to new flavors and cuisines. From there, he joined the apprenticeship program at Bertrand at Mister A’s where he learned discipline, respect for the craft, and mise en place.
In 2014, Chef Sergio joined the team at AVANT under the mentorship of former Chef de Cuisines, Tomas Baistrocchi and Matt Sramek. Prior to his current role as Chef de Cuisine, Chef Sergio held numerous positions at AVANT, starting as a sauté cook and working his way to Chef de Partie and Sous Chef.
Chef Sergio is dedicated to bringing a refined and elegant dining experience to AVANT and elevating the process of enjoying a meal. With Chef Sergio at the helm, AVANT will become a place not only revered for its food, but a relaxed and fun environment for guests to create memories for years to come.
Jason Sorge comes from a family of artists—there’s a woodturner, a baker, and a painter. He inherited his passion for flavor combinations from his mom who is a wiz at pairing ingredients.
Even during his career in leadership development, he wanted to unleash that creativity in the liquid realm. After dabbling at parties and doing an internship at Ken Wright Cellars, he sought to learn bartending from his friend Hector Bury who had 30 years of bar and restaurant experience. Sorge has never looked back. When Sorge was the lead bartender of Scott Conant’s Scarpetta at Montage Beverly Hills, he worked with the renowned mixologist Rob Floyd. Floyd said bartenders are liquid chefs; Sorge has never forgotten this.
Sorge lives in a world of ideas and possibilities. He’s collected data from his surroundings, travels, childhood and experiences. With these influences, he is constantly noodling on innovative ways to introduce flavors and concepts. He is constantly tinkering on ways to do it all better.
Sorge says it this way “We are all standing on other people’s shoulders. There are the classics and then we improvise on flavors and ingredients to establish something similar or altogether different. I have a keen sense of how flavor profiles work, how they fit together like instruments in a band. A cocktail riff is a lot like a cover of a song—when you hear a good cover, you think, ‘Wow. That was super interesting. I really dig how that was created.’ I hope people have a similar experience when they taste one of my cocktails.”