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Philippe Antoine :: Jill's General Manager
Philippe Antoine was born April 3, 1958 in the South of France. In 1905, his grandfather Emile Antoine, worked as a sous chef at the “Grand Café du Pavillon” in Clermont l’Herault and eventually purchased the place a few years later which became “Hotel Restaurant Terminus et du Pavilion”. This restaurant has been awarded the red “R” in the Michelin Guide for over 35 years. Emile Antoine passed away at age 84 and was still working everyday in the kitchen! Philippe’s father Paul inherited the business and with his wife Alice they worked everyday for approximately 50 years. In order to make money, Philippe became a server at age 14 and worked holidays and lunch hours. He became adept at multi-tasking and learned all the aspects of the restaurant business.
A trip to New York City in 1989 changed Philippe’s life forever. He fell in love with the City and relocated there in 1990. He worked as a chef at the Bar du Theatre where he met Richard Picasso (Pablo’s Picasso grandson). Richard tasked Philippe with managing the "Café", a new trendy Restaurant in Soho, with the highly talented Jeremy Marshall (Annabelle’s and Le Cirque) as the Executive Chef.
After a trip to California in 1994, Philippe moved to Dana Point and worked at Ti Amo for seven years and French 75 in Laguna Beach for three years. He eventually met with visionary developer Mike Harrah, builder, owner and operator of Ambrosia at the OC Pavilion and was hired on as the restaurant’s general manager. Soon after, Mike Harrah hired Chef Michael Rossi, formerly Sous Chef of “Napa Rose”. The professional chemistry between the three is immediate and the legend of Ambrosia was re-born.
Philippe Antoine and his wife Amy have three children: Max, Zoë and Lea.
Bryan Amaro :: Beverage & Entertainment Director
Growing up in an Italian family, Amaro followed closely in the heals of his father’s footsteps working directly with him at his Italian Restaurant, Amaro’s. Amaro worked every position in the restaurant from dishwasher and line cook, to host and bartender learning what he could in a business he knew from the age of eight.
Amaro left Kansas City to pursue a degree in Business and Marketing graduating from the University of Colorado, in Boulder, Colorado. During his time in Boulder, Amaro traveled extensively to and from Denver visiting and working in some of the areas top hotels. His travels eventually took him to Miami where he crewed a 52-foot luxury sail boat called the “whoa-na-na-no” where he toured every position from first mate to Captain traveling from ports such as the Bahamas and Key West. His travels also took him to St. Thomas in the USVI and extensively to Latin America.
Since the opening of the St Julien Hotel, Bryan has worked every Food & Beverage position from Restaurant Manager, Cost Controller and his current role of Beverage & Entertainment Manager. When Bryan is not at the hotel, he enjoys riding his mountain bike and skiing in the mountains.
Laurent Mechin :: Executive Chef & Culinary Director
Chef Mechin traces his love for the kitchen back to his early childhood in the vineyards of the French Jura Mountains. After returning from foraging or fishing excursions with his father in the foothills, they would share one of life’s greatest pleasures preparing and enjoying the ingredient they brought home. As a youngster his first professional kitchen post was at l’Auberge du Moulin de la Chapelle in Burgundy where Chef Bernard Champion taught him the fundamentals of taste and instilled in him a passion for cheese and wine.
One of his most influential experiences was apprenticing at l’Auberge de Chavannes under acclaimed Chef Pierre Carpentier who made a tremendous impact on both Chef Mechin and his cuisine. The finesse of the uncompromising cuisine earned the restaurant a much coveted Michelin star.
Following several years refining his skills and knowledge the in the kitchens of the some of the most renowned restaurants and hotels in Southern California, Chef Laurent was hired as the Chef de Cuisine at the Sutton Place hotel in Newport Beach. It was during this time that food critics began to take strong notice of his talents, resulting in accolades for the chef's light and delicious approach to modern French cuisine.
The Sutton Place opened the door to his role as Chef at the Four Seasons Hotel in Newport Beach, Chef Mechin and the Pavilion restaurant were named the best of Orange County in the 2001 Zagat Survey. The chef went on to open several restaurants at the Four Seasons Resort Papagayo in Costa Rica featuring menus crafted primarily around regionally available ingredients, the area’s finest seafood and tropical produce. Most recently, Chef Mechin held the position of Executive Sous Chef at The Four Seasons Resort in Jackson Hole, Wyoming recognized by AAA as the country's top luxury ski destinations and a five diamond property.
As the Executive Chef of the St Julien Hotel & Spa, he oversees the food served in Jill’s restaurant, Bistro, T-Zero Bar, The Terrace, in room dining and catering. Mechin says, “The style of Jill’s is contemporary American and French cuisine. We draw inspiration for many of the dishes from the harvest of our garden, artisan cheeses, local farmers, sustainably raised products and the flavors and culinary traditions of those ancient countries.“
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