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.
Playing football is not the most common route to becoming a chef, but it's how Travis Watson found his way into the culinary world. At the age of 14, he moved from his native Watts, California, to Arizona, where he played football for a coach who happened to be an executive chef.
His coach hired him to wash dishes at his restaurant, and within a few days Travis told his mom he wanted to be a chef. He worked two jobs through high school to be able to attend Scottsdale Culinary Institute - displaying the hard work, drive and dedication that his friends and coworkers know so well.
Following his culinary studies, he did an externship under Michelin-starred Chef Jacques Paccard in Paris. When he returned home, he attended - and played football for - the University of Arizona.
Since then, his culinary career included a position at the AAA Five-Diamond Ritz Carlton at Dove Mountain, and joining Fox Restaurant Concepts as Corporate Pastry Chef, where he was responsible for opening 27 restaurants across the country within eight years.
Prior to joining Rancho Bernardo Inn, Chef Travis was Executive Chef at Avalon in Scottsdale, the Executive Sous Chef at Phoenix's AAA Four-Diamond Royal Palms Resort and Spa, Chef de Cuisine at the AAA Five-Diamond Ojai Valley Inn and Spa, and Executive Chef at The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado.
During his time at the Rancho Bernardo Inn, he has fallen in love with the abundance of local product, the warm weather and the warmer people. Chef Travis is excited to be part of a team that focuses on seasonal, sustainable, nutritious and delicious food.
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
Instilled with a passion for food from the moment he could reach the stove, AVANT Chef de Cuisine Chris Gentile started with the basics – mastering the perfect breakfast eggs and homemade ravioli from his father. Growing up in an Italian family with a true love for food, Chris learned valuable lessons from his father early. One lesson he recalls fondly, “You can always add more, but you can’t take it out.”
While in high school, Chris’s family moved to North Carolina from Vero Beach, Florida. Chris got his professional culinary start at The Inn on the Biltmore Estate in Asheville. He progressed from dishwasher to line cook quickly. During Chris’s freshman year of college, he was promoted to Sous Chef at the prestigious eatery. Spending a total of 3 years as Sous Chef, Chris focused on learning the basics of French cuisine.
At the age of twenty, Chris travelled across the US and staged at 4 different Michelin Star restaurants before ending his tour in San Diego. Chris spent time with the Enlightened hospitality group as a Sous Chef and eventually Chef de Cuisine. Next for Chris was a renewed focus on the world of fine dining. He became Chef de Cuisine at L’Auberge Del Mar’s Kitchen 1540 and then lead cook at Nine Ten in La Jolla, under the direction of Chef Jason Knibb. After this, Chris received an offer to have his own restaurant and in 2014 opened Double Standard Kitchenette in San Diego. He then opened Parma Italian Roots in Scottsdale, Arizona. The restaurant won best new Italian restaurant, best new restaurant and Chris took home the title of best new chef in the Phoenix area.
Chris longed to return to San Diego, however, and yearned to live in this gorgeous city permanently. AVANT was the right answer. As Chef de Cuisine at AVANT, Chris is excited to be at Rancho Bernardo Inn and progress the menu at its signature dining establishment. His goal - give every single guest a one-of-a-kind dining experience.
AVANT General Manager
With more than 10 years of experience managing fine dining restaurants, Tyson Torres oversees all employee and customer relations, managing AVANT’s front of house operations. Torres established his career at a number of renowned locations, including Miro at Bacara Resort and Spa and The Dining Room at Belmond El Encanto. In his past, Torres played semi-professional football and maintains a vigorous training regiment, competing as an amateur powerlifter. His drive and dedication, combined with his luxury food and beverage experience, make Torres an indispensable leader for the AVANT team.
Chef's Garden Gardener
Trish Kydd blends her avid love of garden design with the dramatic impact of stage design to orchestrate extraordinary results. Using an artist's eye for color, Trish blends decorative plants with structural elements to create her garden retreats.
Trish studied privately with England's Queen Mother's landscape designer and author, Rosemary Verey; and with Kent Gordon England, a famous San Francisco Landscape Architect. She continues to expand her knowledge, taking classes in landscape and horticulture design - calling herself "obnoxiously obsessed" with gardens.
Kydd began transforming the Chef’s Garden at Rancho Bernardo Inn two and a half years ago. She removed the hard clay soil, implemented an efficient irrigation system, and overhauled the ecosystem; introducing fully organic materials and a colony of earthworms and praying mantis. The team has brought in over 60 yards of compost to date. The Chef’s Garden is now a “no-till” bio-intensive organic garden.
Trish has harvested thousands of plants and currently has 300+ varieties of fruits, vegetables, edible flowers and herbs. She works closely with the culinary teams from AVANT, Veranda Fireside Lounge & Restaurant and The Spa kitchen to grow ingredients the Chefs are excited to use in their culinary works. Additionally, Trish works with spa therapists to grow ingredients used in treatments such as the Floral Infusion treatment. Constantly changing and evolving the offerings with each season, she maintains a beautiful and tranquil garden for guests to walk through and enjoy.