Today is: Monday, July 22, 2024

Kelly Wangard
Executive Chef, Lot 1224 Restaurant
Director of Food and Beverage Loews Beverly Hills Hotel


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 California Culinary Academy .  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 California Culinary Academy 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 Culinary Academy 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 Island of St. John in the Virgin Islands .  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 Wisconsin .  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 Sheboygan River .  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 Midwest .


In 2004, Kelly took the reigns in the kitchen at the newly renovated Lot 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 Lot 1224 features Kelly’s take on California 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 Dijon vinaigrette.  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 Santa Monica, California with their dog Champagne .

Photo By: Chris Marx

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