Growing up in wine country,
Kelly Wangard developed a profound appreciation for fine food and fresh ingredients
at an early age. When her family moved
to Paso Robles, CA at the age of 11, Kelly was not only surrounded by bountiful
fields and fresh harvests she was immersed in all things agricultural.
Kelly learned from her mom how to grow her own herbs and vegetables while
raising her own lambs and caring for horses.
Her family home was bordered by Almond trees and herb gardens with loads
of pigeons, pheasants, ducks, and chickens running around which proved to be the
source for her career in the culinary arts.
Upon graduating from high
school, Kelly worked at Cahoots Catering in Paso Robles and it was here that she
began to realize her passion for food could soon translate into a successful career. She began working as a server then moved
her way in to the kitchen and would volunteer to work extra hours at the various
wine events and banquets at the local wineries.
Soon thereafter Kelly followed
her passion and enrolled in the famed
Kelly began honing her culinary skills under the close mentorship of legendary
Bay area Chef Hubert Keller at Fleur de Lys
restaurant. Kelly’s first responsibility
at the restaurant was to seat guests and take reservations but after much persistence
and proving her ambition, she convinced Keller to put her to work on the kitchen
line. While at
Fleur de Lys Kelly closely studied Keller’s technique and it was here that
Kelly developed a true understanding of what it takes to run a successful restaurant,
traces of her early beginnings in Keller’s kitchen can be found today on her menu
at Lot 1224.
While completing her culinary
training, Kelly also worked in the Admissions department at the
and worked for Kimpton Hotels at the Grand Cafe
restaurant at Hotel Monaco and the Monticello Inn at
Puccini and Pinetti.
Kelly graduated with High Honors from the
and received the prestigious Daniel Carlisle
Walker Award, soon thereafter she was offered a position as the Chef De
Partie at the Turtle Bay Restaurant at Caneel Bay Resort on the
. It was here, on the kitchen line
that she met her husband Gregg Wangard who is Chef De Cuisine at Ocean and Vine
Restaurant at Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel.
When Kelly married Chef Gregg Wangard in 2002, she packed her bags and moved with
him to his home state of
. Kelly soon obtained a position as
Executive Chef at Cucina Restaurant; one of Kohler’s finest restaurants, while at
Cucina Restaurant, Kelly took the kitchen by storm using farm fresh ingredients
and retooling the menu to reflect her unique style.
Later Kelly was later recruited to serve as Executive Chef at Riverbend
a private membership club that lies on 40 acres, at the horseshoe bend of the
. Soon thereafter Kelly returned to
Cucina to serve as Director of Food and Beverage and under her direction the restaurant
became one of the most successful restaurants in the
In 2004, Kelly took the reigns
in the kitchen at the newly renovated
1224 Restaurant at Loews
Beverly Hills Hotel. Kelly oversees
the daily operations of the kitchen, menu development and inventory while also serving
as Director of Food and Beverage for the hotel.
The menu at
1224 features Kelly’s take
cuisine with farm fresh ingredients.
Menu items range from blonde gazpacho with chilled cucumber and herb soup with sunflower
seeds, Salad Lyonnaise with Poached egg, smoked bacon, sunflower sprouts, potato
croutons, mixed greens and
Other specialty dishes range from Thai Fried Calamari, Roasted Duck Strudel,
Boneless Stuffed Quail stuffed with smoked bacon, dried apricot, and spinach. Kelly and her husband and co conspirator in the culinary
arts, Gregg Wangard live in
with their dog