Breakfast in Bed at the Ritz-Carlton

The Perfect Way to Start the Day in a Ritz-Carlton Seaside Escape.

Written By: Tauna Carson An Oceanside Breakfast in an Upscale Getaway
Styled By: Tauna Carson & Dewayne Carson
MakeUp & Hair By: Afton Williams
Photographed By: LOCALE Magazine
Model: Sydney Perez of Wilhelmina Model Agency | www.wilhelmina.com

The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel
1 Ritz Carlton Dr
Dana Point, CA 92629
949.240.2000 | www.ritzcarlton.com/LagunaNiguel

With a playful approach to California luxury, the Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel has reimagined their personality. With its awe-inspiring location, you are immediately captivated upon arrival. Set on top a seaside bluff along the gorgeous Dana Point coast, the resort opens to a surfside retreat with breathtaking panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean. The setting is so amazing that you can literally feel your stress and cares melt away the second you arrive. As you enter the lobby, your senses are hit with lavish modern decor beckoning you in with its artful style. Fresh flowers in oversized crystal clear vases are set on the tables in the lobby and line the walls of the hallway while the Pacific Ocean entices you from the windows.

The suite draws you into a modern luxury living room and beckons you to walk straight through to the balcony where you are met with a sweet ocean breeze and a beautiful view reminiscent of a tropical escape. In the bedroom behind a set of French doors, is another balcony with an equally stunning view of the coastline and a table and chairs for dining. Stare out at the glistening water long enough and you might spot a playful dolphin or the spout of a passing whale. With a view like this, you’ll never want to leave the bedroom, and it also comes complete with a walk-in closet and gorgeous double sink bathroom.

Waking up to the sound of waves crashing definitely beats the sound of your alarm clock by a long shot. All you have to do is slip into a comfy robe while you wait for room service to arrive. Then enjoy a beautiful California Omelet with tomato, onion, mushroom, spinach and cheddar cheese, paired perfectly with a gorgeous mix of juicy ripe heirloom tomatoes topped with avocado, pickled red onions and micro basil. Quench your thirst with some orange juice and add some Champagne to make a mimosa — you’re at The Ritz-Carlton right? If you prefer sweet rather than savory, start your morning on the balcony with a cup of French pressed coffee and a lovely Belgian waffle. Did I mention it’s topped with powdered sugar, fresh strawberries, blackberries and blueberries topped with fresh whipped cream and a sprig of freshly picked mint? Whatever you fancy, this breakfast in bed is the perfect start to your day.

Executive Chef Brian Sundeen oversees all culinary operations for the 396-room oceanfront resort and manages a staff of more than 80 ladies and gentlemen. Chef Sundeen developed his passion for cooking as a teenager when his mother required that he, his brother and his father each cook dinner once a week. “My father was an avid hunter, so I had the opportunity at an early age to work with a variety of different proteins, ” said Sundeen. “I loved trying new cooking methods and incorporating whatever produce was in season. My grandmother had a farm, so I always had fresh fruits and vegetables available, ” he added.

Chef Sundeen is known for his signature pastries and desserts, as well as the annual gingerbread display that he designs and creates for the holiday season. He has a passion for using fresh, local ingredients and sustainable products, which is visible in the resort’s multiple restaurant experiences. A graduate of the world-renowned French Pastry School in Chicago, he started his culinary career at The Ritz-Carlton, Huntington Hotel & Spa in Pasadena where he held several positions including Executive Pastry Chef. Sundeen joined The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel in 2010 as Executive Pastry Chef, was promoted to Executive Sous Chef in 2014 and recently promoted to Executive Chef in March this year.

Interview With Executive Chef Brian Sundeen:

Q: What is your favorite item on the room service menu?
Brian Sundeen: I really like the enoSTEAK cut of the day. It allows us to find unique items for our guests and give them something different throughout their stay. I am always looking for something unique for our guests to enjoy.

Q: Where are some local places you like to visit on your days off?
BS: I try to go to the farmer’s market every week with my kids and let them pick out what we are having for dinner that night. When we do go out, I like to take them for dim sum in San Gabriel and Irvine, China Moon in Laguna Niguel, or Thai food in Mission Viejo. They are crazy for noodles.

Q: Do you shop at any local farmer’s markets?
BS: I shop at the Dana Point, Laguna Niguel, Irvine and Mission Viejo farmer’s markets depending on what days I have off that week. All of them are a little bit different, so dinner will depend on which market we visit. My kids love them all! A couple times a year I go to the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market to meet with the farms that we use at the hotel.

Q: Where did you study? How did you get started in your career?
BS: I went to the French Pastry School in Chicago. It was an amazing experience. It changed my life to see the skill level of Jacquy Pfeiffer and Sebastien Canonne. I came back to the Ritz-Carlton at a completely different level.

Q: Did you always have a passion for working in hospitality?
BS: I always loved cooking for people. Holidays in my family were always centered around food. My mother and her sister are fantastic cooks. They can do dinners for 45 people all by themselves without breaking a sweat.

Q: What do you love most about working for the Ritz-Carlton?
BS: I love working with passionate people whose main goal is to make our guest experience the best that it can be.

Q: How many other restaurants at the hotel do you manage?
BS: All of them.

Q: What makes each one different?
BS: Each restaurant is very different in décor, design and cuisine.

Q: What inspires you to create new dishes?
BS: Childhood memories, products that we discover at the farmer’s market, new items vendors bring to us, and travel all play a big part in our menu development.

Q: Who is your role model? Do you admire any other chefs?
BS: I look up to every chef I met in my career. Each one of them taught me something different that helped shape my career and cooking style. Jacquy Pfeiffer, Sebastien Canonne, Craig Strong, Denis Depoitre, Chris Southwick, Scott Gambone, and Pedro Contreras have all been role models for me throughout my career, and I still call them for advice. They all taught me so much and pushed me very hard to get to where I am today. I will always be grateful to them.

Q: Where are you getting your fall inspiration?
BS: I’m not sure yet. We will go to the farmer’s market in September and see what they have there. Depending on the weather, we will adapt our menu to match. If the weather stays hot, we will do lighter menus using fall produce. If it cools down, we might do a little heavier dishes because our guests will want something more filling.

Q: Do you have any exciting events to cook for coming up?
BS: Yes, the Thanksgiving Buffet, Gingerbread Display, The Diamond Ball, the fall menus in Raya and enoSTEAK, and Game on the enoSTEAK cut of the day.

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