Culinary Immersions

Terranea’s talented and diverse team of chefs create exceptional farm-to-table dining experiences.

Celebrating nature’s gifts and a belief that everything is interrelated, Terranea’s talented and diverse team of chefs passionately harvests ingredients from the resort gardens and local growers to create exceptional farm-to-table dining experiences.

Perhaps the only thing that truly rivals the views from Terranea is the wealth of dining options offered to guests. Each of the resort’s food and beverage outlets displays the same commitment to sustainability and responsible development that characterizes the resort at large.

From the carefully curated wine list at mar’sel to the fun yet eco-friendly vibe at Nelson’s to bashi, a pan-Asian bistro making its own waves on the Peninsula, eating at Terranea is an experience unto itself. Connecting these unique dining experiences, a farm-to-table philosophy brings fresh produce, meats and other locally sourced ingredients to all tables. Helping shepherd this culinary approach is Executive Chef Bernard Ibarra.

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Chef Ibarra

Raised on a farm in the French side of the Basque country, Chef Ibarra’s family lived modestly and relied heavily on the earth and the sea to sustain them. “My mother taught me many things, such as gardening and how to jar tomatoes and other produce that we grew. During rainy days my sister and I would go snail hunting with her and process the snails we gathered with sea salt that we created using salt water harvested from the sea.”

With a deep appreciation for foods being distinctive to each of the four seasons, Chef Ibarra stresses how important farm-to-table eating is–not only from a nutritional standpoint but to also live in harmony with the natural cycle of life. With grocery store shelves filled with fruits and vegetables that have been mass-produced and the abundance of off-season imported foods, connection with the seasons has been lost.

At Terranea, as in the Basque region, Chef Ibarra has both the sea and the land at his fingertips to indulge his European roots and his art of cooking. His longing for the joy of feeling the earth in his hands before preparing a meal fostered his special interest in sustaining the resort’s mar’sel garden, which yields fresh ingredients for the daily menu. Lettuces, snap peas, fennel, tomatoes, herbs, chili peppers and other vegetables are gathered from it to complement meals or to feature an ingredient in a special dish.

Nearby landowner Jim York provides a plot of land called Catalina View Garden—a neighboring source for avocados, citrus, olives, tomatoes and peppercorns. Chef Ibarra continues to expand the gardens and the local fresh food supply for Terranea.

Reminiscent of his childhood snail-hunting days, he and members of Terranea’s culinary team gather buckets of water from the ocean at the Beach Cove. The water is then transported to the resort’s sea salt conservatory, where it evaporates and a slush of salt remains that is carefully dried. The salt is often smoked or flavored with lemons, rosemary, sage and other herbs picked from the resort’s grounds. The chef adds this to dishes for a distinct, mineral-laden finishing touch.

When asked about the quality of the salt, Chef Ibarra replies, “Before I started collecting the salt, I learned that Abalone Cove received a 97 out of 100 points for water quality, and I sent a sample of sea water and a first batch of salt to the lab for analysis. The salt tested close to 27% sodium content (table salt is typically 40%), and it has more minerals than most salts. The lab tech who analyzed the salt says it is one of the best he has tested.”

The crown jewel of Terranea’s dining scene is dinner at mar’sel, the signature restaurant at the resort and a reference to the “sea salt” that Chef de Cuisine Andrew Vaughan weaves into his exquisite yet sustainable fare. The restaurant also boasts a truly impressive wine list, with tempting offerings by the glass selected to pair perfectly with Chef Vaughan’s California cuisine.

Embracing the rich heritage of Terranea’s surroundings, bashi is inspired by the Japanese farming families that first settled in Palos Verdes in the early 1900s. Chef de Cuisine DJ Eusebio celebrates fresh Asian fare and emphasizes the use of seasonal and locally harvested ingredients. The Japanese term bashi means “bridge,” and it is not only a nod to the Japanese farming families but also a celebration of the restaurant’s distinctive mix of Eastern cuisines and its home at Terranea.

With a bountiful brunch and equally appealing lunch and dinner menus, the warm service at catalina kitchen is matched only by its remarkably addictive seafood buffet. With a view of its namesake island on the horizon, catalina kitchen and Chef de Cuisine David Tarrin offer delectable dishes on a beautiful outdoor patio.

A native of San Pedro who graduated from the Art Institute of Los Angeles, Chef de Cuisine Mona Guerrero holds court at casual seaside eatery Nelson’s. Named in honor of Lloyd Bridges’ character on the long-running TV hit Sea Hunt, this bar and restaurant celebrates the classic show in both spirit and nautical décor. If you want a prime spot to sip a draft beer or cocktail as the sun sets on the Pacific, this is the place to be.

We hope you’ve left room for desert. Even the sweetest offerings at the resort adhere to the farm-to-table philosophy. Under the guidance of Executive Pastry Chef Pierino Jermonti, everything from the creamy gelato to baked goods feature locally sourced ingredients. Take one (or two) of these treats to go at sea beans, the takeaway venue overseen by the tasteful eye of Chef de Cuisine Jin Lee. Order a signature cocktail at the Lobby Bar or enjoy one of his dishes in the comfort of your suite through In-Room Dining. Rounding out the amazing culinary leadership are Executive Sous Chef Bruce Nguyen, Catering and Banquet Chef Jonathan De La Cruz, and Garde Manger Chef Elie Chow.

For those who want to take the farm-to-table experience to the next level, explore both land and sea with an immersive culinary journey at the resort. A three-day, two-night package includes VIP access to the Chef’s Table Dinner Series, interactive workshops highlighting the Catalina View Garden with a farm tour, sea salt and honey harvesting, a sommelier-led wine tasting and much more. For more information on our October and December packages, please visit Terranea.com/offers.

For those who want to meet Terranea’s chefs sooner, September welcomes this year’s annual Celebration of Food & Wine event at Terranea Resort on L.A.’s coast includes a Taste at Twilight reception to kick off festivities, Farm-to-Table Dinner, Breakfast at the Cove, two tasting menu lunches complete with wine pairings from California’s Central Coast, an after-party, and more. Please visit Terranea.com/store to learn more and buy tickets.