Shaking up the culinary scene in Santa Barbara’s trendsetting Funk Zone neighborhood, Hotel Californian announces the appointment of a new culinary team. Executive Chef Travis Watson, joined by Chef de Cuisine Paul Osborne and Pastry Chef Ronald Viloria, will collaborate to create a fresh culinary experience at Blackbird. The signature restaurant will relaunch in Fall 2019 as Bar Blackbird, a lively and upscale bar-first concept, featuring an inventive cocktail program from Houston Hospitality veteran Devon Espinosa and celebrating the intersection of food and beverage on California’s Central Coast. The team will also infuse new culinary inspiration throughout the resort, including breakfast, lunch and dinner al-fresco at Goat Tree; the Djinn library bar; Tan-Tan rooftop pool deck; and the banquets and in-room dining programs.
Travis Watson brings 20 years of award-winning culinary experience to the American Riviera and will lead the team to construct modern, seasonal cuisine that elevates all facets of the Hotel Californian culinary program. Watson’s career has led him all over the world, including France where he served as an apprentice to Chef Georges Paccard of Michelin-starred La Ciboulette. He most recently served as Executive Chef at Rancho Bernardo Inn & Spa in San Diego and is thrilled to tap into the distinctive terroir of the Central Coast.
As Chef de Cuisine, Paul Osborne will create new menu concepts and oversee F&B operations across all Hotel Californian culinary outlets. A Santa Barbara native, Osborne honed his skills in Bordeaux, France, and is eager to leave his imprint on the Central Coast’s most vibrant and cutting-edge culinary scene. Osborne most recently comes from the Rosewood Miramar Beach in Montecito, Calif., where he served as Chef de Cuisine managing operations for Caruso’s, its flagship restaurant.
In his role as Pastry Chef, Ronald Viloria will lead the Hotel Californian pastry team to create exceptional baked goods and confections from scratch each day. Most recently serving as Executive Pastry Chef at Viceroy Snowmass in Aspen, Viloria brings more than 25 years of experience to the American Riviera and a specialization in traditional and modern European-inspired indulgences with imaginative twists — including some of the finest croissants outside of Paris. Viloria, a seasoned Level 2 sommelier, is also eager to collaborate with the team to enhance its expansive list of exclusive Central Coast wines.
“We are thrilled to welcome this trio of culinary thought-leaders to our award-winning Hotel Californian team,” said Warren Nocon, General Manager, Hotel Californian. “We are excited for them to unleash their endless passion and creativity to create inspiring new culinary experiences that resonate with our guests and the Santa Barbara community.”