Our Chefs and Team
Let Executive Chef Bernard Guillas and Chef de Cuisine Ron Oliver take you on a culinary journey that will please the palate and entice the senses. This rare collaboration of culinary excellence brings global influences, seasonal offerings and menus as dramatic and memorable as the restaurant’s oceanfront setting.
EXECUTIVE CHEF BERNARD GUILLAS
Maître Cuisiniers de France and award-winning chef Bernard Guillas joined La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club, Inc. as Executive Chef in June 1994. In addition to The Marine Room, Guillas is responsible for directing the resort’s other two restaurants, including The Shores Restaurant, and all catering operations for the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club and La Jolla Shores Hotel.
Guillas, no stranger to classic tradition, insists, “a good cook is a sorcerer who dispenses happiness on a plate.” Born into a family of butchers, bakers, and restaurateurs, Guillas’ Britannic upbringing was influenced by his daily exposure to fine cuisine. He began his formal training in 1978, at Le Bretagne Restaurant in Questembert, France, where he apprenticed with the legendary Georges Paineau.
Over the next six years he expanded his culinary knowledge with several Maîtres Cuisinier de France fine dining restaurants. Jumping continents, Guillas moved on to become chef de cuisine at Le Dolmen in French Guyana. Richly diverse South American flavors still influence his food today.
Recently, Guillas authored his second cookbook, Two Chefs One Catch: A Culinary Exploration of Seafood, with co-author and Chef de Cuisine of The Marine Room, Ron Oliver. This is a follow up to their first self-published cookbook, Flying Pans: Two Chefs, One World. Flying Pans was named a Top 10 Cookbook in America at Book Expo America 2010 and awarded IACP’s Best Cookbook in America – People’s Choice 2011. Guillas' continuing television appearances added to his roster; he was recently featured on the Today Show and is a regular guest chef on the KTLA morning show in Los Angeles, plus many local news segments throughout the year.
Chef Guillas promotes sustainability and plays an active role in supporting his local community. He regularly participates in Mama’s Kitchen, Share Our Strength Taste of the Nation fund-raiser for hunger relief, the San Diego Bay Wine and Food Festival, annual guest chef for Celebrities Cook for Cancer, a fund-raiser that benefits the University of California San Diego Cancer Center. Guillas is also the chef spokesman for the Macy’s School of Cooking where he shares his passion for the culinary arts. He travels extensively throughout the world promoting his restaurants and the San Diego region.
CHEF DE CUISINE RON OLIVER
Ron Oliver joined The Marine Room as Chef de Cusine in August 1998. His culinary style and global flavors are influenced by his extensive world travels. He believes that food is a gift from the earth, that cooking is an act of love, and that eating is socially unifying.
Chef Ron Oliver began his culinary odyssey after high school when he traveled throughout the United States and Mexico tasting, savoring, and noting foods of the various regions he visited. Upon his return, he knew he had made his career choice and enrolled at Johnson & Wales University where he received an Associate of Science in Culinary Arts degree.
Oliver’s first job took him to the Peabody Hotel in Orlando, Florida, where he served in the Garde Manager kitchen and then as Sous Chef of Dux, the hotel’s signature restaurant and the only Mobil-rated four-star restaurant in Central Florida. Honing his skills, Oliver returned to California where he worked for world class chef Roy Yamaguchi at Roy’s Restaurant in Monterey. He then returned to Dux where he took on the lead role in the kitchen.
His desire to return to his Southern California roots brought him to La Jolla’s Marine Room as Chef de Cuisine. Chef Ron’s culinary style is modern and creative but also driven by many ethnic influences. Years of travel and research have given Chef Ron a great understanding of how to utilize unique global ingredients and preparations in a way that tantalize the American palette. Examples of Ron’s favorite discoveries are lemon myrtle oil from Australia, annatto seed from South Mexico, and sour plum powder from China.
In contrast to the global nature of his spices and condiments, Chef Ron is a big supporter of locally grown, organic food products and sustainable agriculture. He has built a relationship with local farmers and is involved in teaching the benefits of responsible farming. “A farmer can pick vegetables out of the ground in the morning, deliver them to our door in the afternoon, and they are on the table being shared and talked about that evening.”
Recently, Oliver authored his second cookbook, Two Chefs One Catch: A Culinary Exploration of Seafood, with co-author and Executive Chef of The Marine Room, Bernard Guillas. This is a follow up to their first self-published cookbook, Flying Pans: Two Chefs, One World. Flying Pans was named a Top 10 Cookbook in America at Book Expo America 2010 and awarded IACP’s Best Cookbook in America – People’s Choice 2011.
RESTAURANT MANAGER MATT CAPONI
As Restaurant Manager, Matt Caponi is responsible for creating a classic, unforgettable experience for every Marine Room guest. With nearly 20 years of experience he strives to make every visit feel like a special occasion from the moment you walk through the doors.
Caponi’s hospitality career began at age 13 while working at a small New Jersey Italian restaurant. Caponi’s passion for the restaurant industry grew while he worked as a bartender and server at a number of restaurants throughout his schooling. Upon graduating with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Communications, he moved from Boston to San Diego where his career continued to grow.
Matt brings with him a high level of professionalism and expertise. He has been an active member of the San Diego Restaurant Association since 2010 and was recently named President of the San Diego chapter. Matt has completed and passed his Level 1 certification from the Court of Master Sommeliers and plans to one day take the Certified Sommelier exam.