Pez Cantina

Chef Bret Thompson

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Chef Bret Thompson was inspired to create Pez Cantina, his seafood-focused restaurant in Downtown L.A., by his travels to Loreto on the Sea of Cortez and by his marriage into a Mexican family. At Pez he has a created a menu focused on sustainable, local ingredients that draws from the traditions of the distinct Coastal Mexican cuisines of Baja, Oaxaca, …

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Chef Kenny Spost

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Executive Chef Kenny Spost of Napa Valley Grille in Los Angeles has been plying his culinary craft since the age of 13! With an interest in seafood that stretches back even farther into his childhood to when he would fish for mullet at his grandparents’ house in Florida, Chef Kenny is a strong advocate for sustainability in all his menu …

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Chef Matt Briggs

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Chef Matt Briggs is preparing for his second season as Executive Chef at Arnold Palmer’s in La Quinta, CA, continuing his nearly two decades of focusing on high-quality locally-sourced ingredients in the kitchen. A graduate of the Scottsdale Culinary Institute, Chef Matt plied his trade prior to Arnold Palmer’s at Ocean Prime Seafood in Beverly Hills. Before that he made …

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Chef David Abella

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David Abella, Executive Chef at West Steak and Seafood, was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii, where he started his career alongside Roy Yamaguchi, the pioneer of Euro-Asian cuisine. A lover of Italian, French and Mediterranean flavors, Chef Abella incorporates Asian herbs, European flavors and Hawaiian seafood into his culinary creations. David honed his craft in the Roy’s family of …

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Chef Andrew Cooper

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At La Quinta Resort & Club, Executive Chef Andrew Cooper leads a culinary team of over 100 culinary professionals, overseeing the resort’s seven dining destinations as well as the resort’s in-room and catering programs. His global palette and worldly culinary flair is balanced by a passion for local and sustainable ingredients. Chef Cooper believes “the delicate flavors and textures that …

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Chef Mourad Jamal

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Born and raised in Oujda, Morocco, Chef Mourad Jamal grew up with a love for fresh seafood and the desire to share it with others. At 12 years old he was cooking dinner for the family, and by age 15 he was working in restaurants, eventually attending culinary school. Growing up, “Sardines were the common, affordable fish” that Jamal favored. …

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Chef Lisa Dahl

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Restaurateur and chef, Lisa Dahl creates restaurant experiences in which guests feel a little bit of magic, have a unique sensory experience and feel welcomed as if they are coming home. It is her “pledge as a local chef to always have [her] own standards when reaching for excellence in providing food, wine and service.” Each one of her award-winning …

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Chef Jesse Hansen

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Drawn to the kitchen from a young age, Chef Jesse Hansen’s early passion for cooking propelled him forward in the culinary arts. His mother recognized and nurtured his talent; she was “an excellent home cook, showing me how to prepare fresh vegetable dishes,” says Chef Hansen. “Every year she would take me out for a special birthday lunch, and when …

Chef Thomas Bellec

Chef Thomas Bellec

smseafood Featured Chefs

Chef Thomas Bellec began cooking at a young age, inspired by his grandparents who ran a renowned bakery in Brittany, France. After apprenticing in his home town of Concarneau, he started an extraordinary, international culinary career. Having a father who was a professional fisherman, Bellec was raised on seafood and out fishing on a weekly basis. “If not with a rod, …

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Chef Steve Stawinski

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Chef Steve Stawinski’s love of cooking came at a young age, he would help out in the family kitchen with tasks like breading fish or whisking eggs. Raised in New Jersey and Massachusetts, his family gatherings always centered around a big meal, anything from a backyard barbeque with Jersey corn and baked beans, to roast chicken or duck with the …