Montage Laguna Beach is pleased to announce three new talented chefs holding key positions on the culinary teams for the resort, including the elegantly casual all-day dining venue The Loft and the standalone signature restaurant Studio.
“With the addition of these three exceptional, highly experienced and innovative talents, we are excited to provide new destination-worthy dining pleasures throughout Montage Laguna Beach,” said Anne-Marie Houston, general manager for the 255-room resort. “New Executive Resort Chef David Serus, The Loft Chef Joosung Lee and Studio Sous Chef Robert Rando each bring enthusiastic dedication to his craft and expert culinary management leadership skills to the various dining venues at the resort.”
Executive Chef David Serus Oversees Culinary Operations for Montage Laguna Beach
Chef David Serus brings to Montage Laguna Beach his refined approach to food preparation by outsourcing the best seasonal products, applying well-executed classic techniques and keeping flavor profiles clean and distinctive. With over 25 years of luxury culinary experience, he is well-equipped to oversee operations for the resort’s special events, meetings, weddings and banquets. Additionally, lending his culinary support and business acumen to the resort’s restaurants, Serus is looking forward to perfecting the exceptional dining options Montage Laguna Beach offers.
Raised in Le Mans, France, and taking early inspiration from watching his grandmother in her kitchen and working at his uncle’s bakery during school vacations, Serus knew early on excelling at fine hotel restaurants would be his chosen career. After attending cooking school in Quimper, France, he served a year in the French navy and then worked at two Michelin Star restaurants — one in London and the other in the South of France. He went on to work seven years at Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, followed by 17 years working for The Ritz-Carlton Hotels & Resorts across the U.S., including serving as executive chef at The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain, Arizona; The Ritz-Carlton, Orlando Grand Lakes, Florida; and The Ritz-Carlton, Washington, D.C. In 2013, Serus was awarded the prestigious title of Maître Cuisiniers de France (Master Chef of France) from the French culinary community, of which there are only 86 in the U.S. He’s an avid cookbook collector and enjoys exploring the region on his motorcycle.
Chef Joosung Lee Creates New Menus at The Loft
Seoul, Korea-born and raised, Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park graduate Chef Joosung Lee is leading the culinary team at The Loft at Montage Laguna Beach. He is introducing enticing lunch and dinner menus that reflect inventive California cuisine heightened by Asian and other global food influences and flavors. With over 15 years of working in prestigious kitchens, including the now closed The Dining Room Ritz-Carlton Pasadena, Charlie Palmer in Costa Mesa and at Scarpetta, Montage Hotel and Spa, Beverly Hills, Lee is excited to be creating new dishes at The Loft drawing on his love for the bounty of seasonal, interesting multi-cultural ingredients available from area markets and purveyors and the use of fresh herbs from the resort’s gardens.
Overlooking the Pacific, The Loft, a chic all-day dining destination for Montage Laguna Beach guests and local casual food lovers, is known for its outstanding dining experience and interactive Cheese Gallery with over 30 selections of regional and international cheeses. Lee’s innovative new lunch menu offers temptations including Artisan Sandwiches such as Arugula Pesto Wrap and Crispy Chicken with emmental and red cabbage. New entrées include Shrimp Chitarra, Seared Ahi Tuna Niçoise and more. His new dinner menu designed for food devotees features refreshing Cantaloupe and Cucumber Gazpacho; Superior Farms Lamb Chops with sorrel pesto, vanilla-braised treviso and aged balsamic; Sunburst Squash with tarragon, chili flakes and lime; and other new selections. The chef has also created new Pasta and Grain dishes, Choices From The Ocean and local side Accompaniments.
Sous Chef Robert Rando Working with Chef de Cuisine Benjamin Martinek
Since attending The Culinary Institute, Hyde Park, New York, Studio’s new Sous Chef Robert Rando’s culinary career trajectory started when he worked at various starting positions at Relais & Châteaux Toppers at the The Wauwinet hotel in Nantucket, Massachusetts. Then it was on to New York City’s Eataly and positions at Mario Batali’s former Lupa Osteria Romana, also in Manhattan. From there, Rando gained the job as saucier chef de partie and then sous chef at famed Relais & Châteaux Castle Hill Inn, Newport, Rhode Island, and most recently he returned to Toppers as sous chef and then chef de cuisine.
Rando has left the East Coast to bring his years of high-end luxury dining experience to the West Coast, where he will be in the kitchen of Studio, working in collaboration with Chef de Cuisine Benjamin Martinek at this luxurious signature restaurant perched bluffside over the Pacific. Rando will be an important part of the team that creates Studio’s à la carte menus, much-loved tasting menus, special wine dinners and private dinners at the Chef’s Table — all featuring exquisite French cuisine inspired by local purveyors and markets, as well as Studio’s expansive garden. Rando says he “is particularly excited to be cooking with diverse seasonal Southern California ingredients in such a stunning ocean setting.”