Meet our Award-Winning chefs
Below are the San Mateo County/Silicon Valley Convention & Visitors Bureau partners who have received As Fresh As It Gets Awards for serving fresh local fare. These partners are strong supporters of our visitors and local producers.
Arcangeli Deli & Wine
Chris Benedetti and Humberto Perez, Baker & Manager
Established by Sante Arcangeli in 1929 and managed by his family for five generations, Arcangeli Deli and Wine is a Pescadero institution. Next in line to run the family business are Chris Benedetti and longtime manager Humberto Perez, who are currently learning the ropes to take over when current owner Mike retires in a few years. Arcangeli Deli and Wine’s bakery is known for its specialty Garlic Herb Artichoke Bread but offers a wide selection of delicious bread and other baked goods, a number of which are baked from recipes created by Sante himself back in the 1930s.
Bay Watch Restaurant - Burlingame
Norman Saballa (Manager), Jesus Astorga (Executive Chef), Fernando Hernandez (Chef)
For over thirteen years, Norman has led the Bay Watch kitchen with the highest standards. With his strict principle of using only the freshest locally sourced ingredients, Norman takes pride in high-quality foods made “locally for the locals”. Jesus “Chuy” has been instrumental in the creation and execution of the extensive Bay Watch menu for the last 13 years. Chuy thrives on inventing new tasty dishes from what is available without having to look further than an arm’s reach… like magic, seemingly from nowhere. Fernando completes the triple threat that feeds our guests. Rooted in healthy cooking, Fernando loves working with the variety of fresh produce we use at Bay Watch.
These three men are truly as fresh as it gets!
The Conservatory (The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay)
Alain Zhang, Chef
Zhang was raised in Hohhot, the capital of Inner Mongolia, China. Surrounded by cooking throughout his childhood – his mother’s exceptional cooking was famous around town and his aunt and uncle owned a restaurant in Ordos – Zhang knew at an early age that he wanted to pursue a career in the culinary arts.
After completing his general education and working in his aunt and uncle’s restaurant for a year, Zhang began his formal culinary career as a cook at the Portman at Inner Mongolia International Hotel, Hohhot before working his way up to Chef de Partie. For the next five years, Zhang continued honing his gastronomic skills before advancing to Sous Chef as part of the opening culinary team at Shangri-La Hotel Hohhot at Xin Café, the first restaurant in the capital to feature an open-theatre kitchen concept inviting diners to view the quality of ingredients that go into every dish.
Looking to expand his culinary scope internationally, Zhang joined the opening team of Quest Restaurant at Jumeirah Etihad Towers, Abu Dhabi as Chef de Partie. During his year there, the fine-dining Pan Asian cuisine restaurant won the “Best Newcomer Restaurant Abu Dhabi” and “Best Chef” awards in 2011 and 2012 by What’s On Awards Abu Dhabi.
Shortly after, Zhang sought out new opportunities in his homeland with a continued focus on fresh regional ingredients, including serving as Chef de Cuisine at Le Meridien Qingdao where he crafted menus and oversaw all culinary outlets. In 2014, he accepted a Sous Chef position at Sand restaurant at The Ritz-Carlton Sanya, Yalong Bay before being promoted to Chef de Cuisine.
Zhang looks forward to developing relationships with the local farmers and fishermen of the Half Moon Bay coast to source the finest produce and sustainable meat and seafood that is, and will continue to be, at the heart of The Conservatory menu.
In his spare time, Zhang loves to travel and visit parks and beaches. He lives in the Bay Area with his wife and two children.
Gerardo Naranjo, Chef
Rooted in the Bay Area for over 25 years, Chef Gerardo Naranjo brings a stealth approach to bold flavors. A stint at famed Mediterranean haunt Dio Deka set the stage for almost a decade at the south bay favorite, Alexander's Steakhouse. Under the tutelage of Michelin Star Chef Jeffery Stout, Chef Gerardo incorporated Asian influences into his California-inspired cuisine. A hidden gem and local favorite, Dinah's Poolside Restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily.
Dominic's at Oyster Point Yacht Club
Mike Ramirez, Executive Chef
Ismael “Mike” Ramirez has a long history with Dominic’s at Oyster Point, having been involved with the company since 1992. Since taking the role of executive chef in 2000, Chef Mike has worked to support the community and enhance the flavor of Dominic’s at Oyster Point’s offerings by incorporating fresh, local ingredients. He develops and creates new dishes with respect to the availability of ingredients in our local farms to impress their clients.
Half Moon Bay Brewing Company
Federico Godinez, Executive Chef
Chef Fred hails from Cancun, Mexico. A longtime aficionado of fresh fish, Chef Fred specializes in seafood and has honed his craft at many different culinary experiences, including Mediterranean, French, Italian and German cuisine. Chef Fred’s impeccable taste for fresh fish has brought Half Moon Bay Brewing Company to new heights as he sources the freshest, local product and creates delicious results.
Half Moon Bay Lodge
Eric Bradtmiller, Executive Chef
Executive Chef Eric Bradtmiller started his culinary journey at the prestigious New England Culinary Institute as an honors graduate in 1989. Shortly after, the sought-after new graduate was recruited as an apprentice to Teberio restaurant in Georgetown & Le Cadeau restaurant in Aspen. After spending some time in Hong Kong, Chef Eric wanted to test his sea legs. Hired as Executive Chef of the Yacht Sea Angel and traveling numerous times from Sausalito to Puerto Rico, he finally found paradise at the Half Moon Bay Lodge in beautiful Half Moon Bay, California.
Harley Farms Goat Dairy
Dee Harley, Owner
Dee Harley began farming over 20 years ago. She was awarded the 2007 San Mateo County Farmer of the Year. As a teenager in Yorkshire, Dee was selected for HRH Prince Charles' youth expedition project, Operation Raleigh, which encourages self-confidence and leadership through adventure, exploration and community service. Dee traveled to Honduras and never looked back. Harley Farms is proud to serve the community of Pescadero, California, with handmade food, work for local people, high-school students and people with special needs and as a community meeting place.
Marck Viloria Corcino, Executive Chef
Born and raised in the beautiful islands of Hawaii, native to migrant parents of the Philippines, Marck was inspired by local indigenous cuisine from youth. With a flourishing large family, Marck was always around family cooking for large parties. His father Roque understood the craft and respect for food that was local, organic and sustainability with understanding the importance of respect when harvesting as well as butchering.
Marck’s early career started in nursing at the same time going to culinary school. His mother Jovita “Betty” taught him kindness and compassion towards people and to respect and treat others like how you want to be treated. When doing side catering gigs for the hospitals Marck worked for, a physician he worked very closely with inspired him to continue his pursuit and passion towards cooking. Marck has never looked back since.
He graduated with Dean honors at the Art Institute of California, Los Angeles in Santa Monica, with a Bachelor’s degree in Culinary Management, with other deemed awards such as first in class with management position and student of the year. He worked under the tutelage and mentorship of Kurt Struwe CEC, CDC, CCE, PhD. and they still are good friends to this day. Marck has worked for notable chefs like Wolfgang Gussmack, Ludovic Lefebvre, and Paul Muller, Eddie Lam, Thomas Charoen, Ariel Fox, and Patrick Chavret. Early travels for his culinary fare included countries like France, China, Philippines, Boston, New York and Las Vegas. Throughout his travels Marck has acquired a palate for robust, and simplicity. He has worked in major gala events such as the Hallmark Women's Appreciation Dinner, Grammy Awards, and hosted private celebrity dinners at their homes as well as premier movie screenings.
Marck will always have an appreciation for home cooking, his roots, and culture. His love for the skill of slow cooking has always challenged him with ways to pursue his brick and mortar in the near future which he will dedicate to his son Gabriel Sage. Marck is currently Executive Chef for Kincaid's in Burlingame. A classic American fine dining restaurant at the beautiful Bayfront in Burlingame California.
Navio (Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay)
Xavier Salomon, Executive Chef
Fourth in his family, and only second in The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company to earn the title Maître Cuisinier de France (French Master Chef), Xavier Salomon is a fifth-generation restaurateur with a passion for food that began at his family’s kitchen table in Savoie, France. His European tenure includes training under Jo Rostang at his Michelin three-star restaurant La Bonne Auberge in Antibes, France. Chef Salomon continued his education at Le Bateau Ivre in Courcheval and graduated from Thonon les Bains Culinary Academy.
In 1991 he joined The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company as the executive chef at The Ritz-Carlton, Aspen and in 1996, he moved to Atlanta as executive chef at The Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead. Chef Salomon joined The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay in July 2001, where he oversees all dining experiences at the Northern California resort, including the signature fine dining restaurant Navio, The Conservatory, Ocean Terrace, and 17,000-square-feet of banquet and wedding suites and ballrooms.
Kim Levin , Chef and Owner
It all started with my first trip down the coast, which brought me to HWY 92 dotted with local fruit & vegetable stands. My personal love for fresh ingredients grew into a key element of the Pasta Moon concept as I came to know the local farmers and their quality products; all part of the coastal lifestyle I found so inviting here in Half Moon Bay.
Pasta Moon started out as a passionate concept where I could keep myself busy and enjoy the lifestyle of a small coastal town. Originally Pasta Moon was a place for people to dine on cuisine derived of locally grown organic produce, fish, meats, and cheese supplied from local ranchers and dairies. Soon however my love for Italian cuisine compelled an ever-growing compulsion to express my creativity in the kitchen and had me composing variations on classic Italian dishes. Half Moon Bay is the perfect spot for this culinary adventure, I couldn’t resist this unique location that offered my ideal in terms of ingredients, and the peaceful pace of such a lovely rural area nestled on the coast, surrounded by a spectacular beach and natural setting.
Pasta Moon, an innovative footprint of Italian cuisine right here on the Californian coast, 25 years of making house-made pasta, pizzas and desserts, divine according to Michelin! Other main protagonists on the contemporary Pasta Moon Menu which revolves around the farm to table concept: organic produce, the catch of the day, and only the finest cuts of meats and poultry. Our strikingly rustic yet refined ambiance lends a genuine warmth that will linger in your senses.
Quattro (Four Seasons Silicon Valley)
Martín Morelli , Executive Sous Chef
A member of the Four Seasons Hotel Silicon Valley culinary team since 2013, Martín Morelli started as Sous Chef and has brought more than 15 years of culinary experience to the Hotel. Now Executive Sous Chef, Martin oversees the Hotel’s culinary team. Martín’s career began in his home country of Uruguay, following his graduation from the Escuela Superior de Hoteleria, Gastronomia y Turismo at the U.T., as the Commis Chef at the former Four Seasons Resort Carmelo. From 2003 to 2010, Martín dedicated his time to the resort, where he worked in such culinary roles as Commis Chef, Demi Chef de Partie, and Chef de Partie. Martín also was the Chef de Partie at Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo for more than two years and spent a year as the Sous Chef and Chef de Cuisine at Joya Restaurant in Palo Alto.
Originally from Montevideo, the arts and culture capital of Uruguay, Martín has always had an appreciation for avant-garde techniques while remaining loyal to his minimalist culinary roots. His innate creativity and enthusiasm for experimentation have led him through various kitchens in South, Central, and North America. Martín artfully executes innovative menus showcasing the culinary vibrancy of the region.
When not in the kitchen, Martín enjoys spending his free time with his wife Noelia and two children Matías and Olivia, exploring the diverse culinary scene of the Bay Area while further developing his photography skills.
Que SeRaw SeRaw
Kerry Bitner, Chef and Owner
Kerry Bitner purchased Que SeRaw SeRaw in January of 2015. She is passionate about preparing raw, organic, plant-based food that is delicious and convenient and she is excited to offer her customers healthy choices that taste great and help them feel great. She is also an advocate for shifting to a more plant-based diet because it’s more sustainable for the planet. Kerry has been a nutrition enthusiast experimenting at home with raw food preparation for many years. She has taken classes with several leaders in the raw food movement including David Wolfe, Elaina Love and Victoria Butenko. She had a successful prior career as a television commercial and news producer and editor and is now applying her planning, logistics and project management experience towards operating a thriving restaurant. She is thrilled to be running her business five minutes from her home and looking forward to new opportunities to collaborate with and give back to the local community. When she isn’t dreaming up new plant-based recipes, Kerry enjoys spending time with her family and friends, running, practicing yoga, traveling, watching movies and gardening.
Sam's Chowder House
Lewis Rossman, Executive Chef/Partner
Executive Chef & Partner Lewis Rossman, an award-winning culinary star, has extensive experience at top Bay Area dining spots. Rossman is a Partner in the Shenkman Hospitality Group, which includes Sam’s Chowder House in Half Moon Bay and Palo Alto, Sam’s ChowderMobile trucks, and Italian restaurant Osteria Coppa in San Mateo. Working with food is an art form for Rossman, and he is intensely passionate about creating exceptional menus. Rossman grew up in rural Buck's County, a charming area outside of Philadelphia filled with farmlands, wineries, and local artisans, reminiscent of California's Napa Valley.
In 2007, Rossman joined Sam’s Chowder House as Executive Chef/Partner. For inspiration, Rossman looks to his childhood memories spent on the eastern seaboard and the great meals he enjoyed at the laid-back fish houses on the Atlantic. He has established long-lasting relationships with a number of specialty farmers around Half Moon Bay, and says "It’s so personally inspiring when farmers bring me an incredibly fresh product that's unique to their farm." Today his mantra remains sustainable, fresh, local when possible and always seasonal. The ingredients are the foundation of every dish, and produce in the fields of Half Moon Bay in the morning often finds its way onto the salad plate at Sam’s by evening. This passion for fine, fresh ingredients is evident from the house-made dressings, and sauces, to Sam’s house-made desserts.
The Sea by Alexander's Steakhouse
Yu Min Lin, Chef
Yu Min Lin’s approach to cooking is inspired by his extensive training and experience in both Japanese and French cuisine for over 20 years abroad and here in California. He aims to source wild, sustainable, and seasonal ingredients from land and sea. The goal is to bring out the natural flavors of freshness and present the dishes in a simple and pure form.
Since he was 14 years old, Yu Min began his culinary career as an apprentice and worked his way up to Executive Sushi Chef at Shintori Cuisine Japonaise in Taipei and Shanghai. During his 10 years at Shintori, Yu Min was also trained extensively under traditional Japanese chefs in Tokyo and Yokohama, honing his knife skills and knowledge to bring out the best of the highest quality fresh seafood.
After moving to Los Angeles in 2001, Yu Min took a position as a line cook at Water Grill where he worked with celebrated chef Michael Cimarusti. Chef Cimarusti’s classical French cooking techniques have a great influence on Yu Min which is reflected in his cuisine.
Yu Min then accepted Chef Cimarusti’s invitation as opening Sous Chef at Providence in 2005, and was promoted to Chef de Cuisine after two years. During his tenure at Providence, the restaurant was named "One of America’s Top 50 Restaurants” by Gourmet Magazine, “Best Seafood Restaurant 2006” by LA Magazine, and awarded two stars by the Michelin Guide. To further develop his culinary skills and techniques, Yu Min performed stages at The French Laundry in Yountville and Manresa in Los Gatos.
While on a family trip to the San Francisco Bay Area, Yu Min was recruited by Alexander’s Steakhouse to be it’s opening Executive Chef at The Sea in Palo Alto. With his passion and impeccable culinary background, Yu Min aims to redefine the seafood culinary experiences in the Bay Area.
Chef Yu Min Lin has a sophisticated yet simple philosophy when it comes to his cuisine. Chef Lin’s main focus is recreating traditional Japanese and French techniques to compose contemporary dishes. Taking fresh seasonal ingredients and transforming them into a culinary experience is Chef Lin’s approach to introducing guests to his cuisine. Chef Lin procures most of his fresh produce from local growers at the Palo Alto Farmers Market every Sunday. He uses local farms including Tomatero Farm, Heirloom Organic Farm, Ecopia Farm, and Iacopi Farm to acquire the finest products available.
In his free time, Yu Min enjoys fishing, swimming, and tending his own organic vegetable garden at home with his wife, Diana and young daughter, Nerissa.
Devil's Canyon Brewing Company
Chris Garrett, Brewmaster and Owner
At Devil’s Canyon, Brewmaster Chris Garrett sources local ingredients and products whenever possible. Their specialty beer releases include local and responsibly sourced ingredients and many of their barrel-aged products include fresh local fruit. Devil’s Canyon’s handcrafted root beer is brewed with locally sourced honey and they partner with their neighboring vintners by featuring their locally made wine in their event center. Their commitment to sustainability begins with the support of the immediate community.
Miramar Beach Restaurant
Francisco Jeronimo, Executive Chef
Chef Francisco Jeronimo lives in Half Moon Bay with his wife and three kids. His passion for cooking began when I was eighteen years old. In the past, he has worked for many local restaurants in Half Moon Bay and attended culinary school to learn the basics of cooking and to remain current with developing trends. He currently oversees the kitchen at Miramar Beach Restaurant as the Executive Chef, where, for the past 25 years, his responsibilities have been to plan menus, make purchases and manage the kitchen staff.
Robin McKnight, Executive Chef
Robin McKnight has been the Chef at Miramar Farms since 2015. As Chef, Robin has fostered a cuisine philosophy that reflects Miramar Farms’ values of supporting local farmers and food providers, promoting sustainable food choices and serving healthy and delicious meals to their clients.
Prior to joining Miramar Farms, Robin spent 30 years as a magazine sales director, serving as the marketing and sales lead for magazines such as Rolling Stone, Glamour, Lucky and Allure. Robin left the business world to pursue her love of cooking and trained at the Tante Marie cooking school in San Francisco. Robin lives in El Granada with her husband Allen and their Wheaten Terrier, Buster.
Moonside Bakery and Cafe
Isidro Contreras, Chef
Chef Isidro Contreras uses fresh, local herbs in Moonside Bakery's salad dressings and soups and to flavor their chicken. They top their freshly baked focaccias with chopped oregano. He also utilizes San Mateo County's fresh spring and fall vegetables in the specials menu for salads and/or freshly made soups, and roasts and sautés pumpkins for special dishes in October. His creamy herb dressing with fresh thyme and oregano is a delicious favorite at Moonside Bakery!
NOLA, Milagros & Town
Jeremy Cheng, Chef
Chef Jeremy Cheng was born in the Philippines, where he lived for part of his childhood. Hia parents come from a Chinese background and food has always been a relevant topic in his family, to the point that he remarks that “Every time [he] visit[s] a family member the first thing they say to [him] is, ‘Have you eaten yet?’” He began cooking at the age of 12, learning from his parents, who are both great cooks. He has worked at various restaurants in the Bay Area including 231 Ellsworth, Kingfish, A Tavola, Town, Milagros and Nola. Currently, he works as the Executive Chef for the Avenir Restaurant Group’s Town in San Carlos, where they aim to serve great food, simply prepared with the best products.
The Grill House
James Hayes, Chef and Owner
James Hayes is head chef and co-owner of The Grill House. James brings 15 years of professional experience to the restaurant. James began his food hospitality career working as kitchen manager at an Italian restaurant in San Diego. He then worked in partnership with Chef Dane Mechlin, American Personal Chef of the Year Award winner, where he learned fine dining cuisine, techniques and service. Using his tutelage and guidance, James catered events for many high profile clients including members of the San Francisco 49ers and Stanford football teams, as well as the Palo Alto Junior Museum and The Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose.
James earned his Associate of Arts Culinary Arts degree at The Art Institute of California in Sunnyvale.