Vote for Your Favorite Chef in Bankers Hill, Presented By Wells Fargo
Written By: Jordan Ligons Chef in Bankers Hill
Joe Magnanelli, CUCINA Urbana
The esteemed Executive Chef for Urban Kitchen Group and true lover of Italian cuisine, Chef Joe Magnanelli, was an instrumental force in opening some of San Diego’s most beloved restaurants; CUCINA urbana, CUCINA enoteca, and the newly opened cucina SORELLA, made popular by Chef Magnanelli’s innovative Cal-Ital menu that San Diegans can’t get enough of. Magnanelli regularly contributes his time on behalf of events throughout the county in support of various local and national organizations, including Chef Showdown benefitting the Center for Community Solutions and Chef Celebration which raises funds for an annual local culinary scholarship fund. He is also an avid supporter of sustainable farming practices and strives to work with as many local purveyors as possible.
Tyler Nollenburger, Bankers Hill Bar + Restaurant
A native of Santa Cruz, California, Tyler attended The Cabrillo School of Hospitality. After garnering a few years of experience in some of the area’s finer restaurants, including The Saddle Brook Lodge, Nollenburger did a stint at Alinea Restaurant in Chicago before he joined Chef Carl Schroeder at MARKET Restaurant + Bar in 2010. Working along Schroeder for more than five years made him the perfect candidate for the Chef De Cuisine position at BANKERS HILL Bar + Restaurant, MARKET’s more casual downtown outpost.
Martin Bolteada Hob Nob Hill
Chef Martin Bolteada originally from Hidalgo, Mexico came to San Diego when he was 16 years old in 1991. He began washing dishes and after two years he was given the opportunity to cook. After 14 years at that restaurant where he learned much of his culinary skills, he was again given the opportunity to come to Hob Nob Hill to be able to widen his vision and expand his knowledge and to have full control of the kitchen. Here he was guided under the supervision of Chef Keoni Simmons and it was here where Chef Martin was able to exceed all of our expectations. He was making all of our homemade gravies and all of our recipes we had on file since 1944 and he made them to perfection. Today Chef Martin cooks with sincere passion with only the finest and freshest ingredients.
Hisashi Ichimura, Azuki Sushi
Hisashi “Nao” Ichimura is the Executive Chef of Azuki Sushi, a modern sushi restaurant in Bankers Hill. Nao grew up in Tokyo, Japan. He moved to San Diego in 1984 to pursue a career as a sushi chef. Nao is best known for his unique and artistic omakase courses that he creates with the freshest seasonal ingredients.
At Azuki Sushi, Nao is currently working on a menu that focuses on sustainability. Along with his partner and creative director Shihomi Borillo, Nao intends to raise awareness for organically grown products from a maintainable environment. Nao’s focus is to respect the ingredients with their natural flavors, which is the heart of Japanese cooking.
Stephane Voitzwinkler, Mister A’s
Chef de Cuisine Stephane Voitzwinkler considers himself lucky: lucky in that he has been able to pursue his passion for the culinary arts with such ease. At age 14 he enrolled in the ÉcoleHotelière de Guebwiller and later apprenticed at Au Bon Coin restaurant and began his education in the professional world of cooking in earnest. While he humbly attributes his success to luck, the reality is that if it weren’t for his skill and his spirit of adventure, Chef Voitzwinkler’s culinary career would not be nearly as prestigious as it is. It was his talent and his daring side that led him at age 20, with no knowledge of the English language, to move to London for a job in the kitchen at Le Meridien. It was these same qualities that sent him overseas to Le Meridien in Coronado and later led him to an esteemed position as Executive Sous Chef at Sally’s Seafood on the Water at the Manchester Grand Hyatt. It is why Bertrand Hug, the well-known San Diego restaurateur, invited him to head the kitchen at Bertrand at Mister A’s, where he has been inspiring diners with his fresh flavors and decadent dishes ever since.
Aaron O’Mara, Royal Stone
Executive Chef Aaron O’Mara leads Royal Stone’s kitchen in creating flavorful fare inspired by the seasons’ best local produce, farms and purveyors. O’Mara has been a featured chef for the Chaine des Rotisseurs annual dinner, a nominee for Best American Cuisine at the California Restaurant Association’s Gold Medallion awards and Iron Chef Champion 2010 (Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce). He has led restaurants to such recognition as Best New Restaurant (Sugar Magnolia, Gambit’s Reader Poll) and Top Ten Brunches in New Orleans (Sugar Magnolia, Prime Quarterly Magazine) and has appeared on local FOX and CBS networks while involved in the New Orleans Farmer’s Market Association. He celebrates the cuisine of America’s Finest City while embracing the traditional European cooking techniques on which Royal Stone is founded – and always finds joy in seeing guests smile upon that first bite.
Dan Sobek, The Corner Drafthouse
Originally from Kansas City, Dan has been a San Diego resident for four years. He completed his undergraduate studies at Kansas State University, and then pursued a graduate degree in culinary arts from prestigious Johnson & Wales University in Charlotte, where he graduated first in his class. Dan spent most of his career working at ultra-luxury hotels, including the Dorchester Hotel in London and The Waldorf Astoria in New York City. He served as Sous Chef for “Top Chef” Finalist Kenny Gilbert at the Capella Hotel in Telluride, Colorado. Dan also managed the kitchens during the opening of the Five-Diamond, Five-Star Setai Fifth Avenue Hotel in New York City. While completing his apprenticeship in London, Dan assisted with the opening of Alain Ducasse’s signature Three-Star Michelin restaurant; Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester Hotel.
The Corner Drafthouse is Dan’s first project in Southern California. He has developed a sensible approach to food sourcing the best ingredients possible, and combining his techniques to complement each flavor combination.
Vincent Altavilla, Parc Bistro-Brasserie
Owner Garo Minassian originally brought Vincent from France to work for him in his restaurants in the Gaslamp called Bistro Bacco and Scalini in Del Mar. After a long tenure he was asked to be the head chef for T.K.A. Catering, than he was offered a partnership with ST. Tropez catering, and now he is back at the helm again for Minassian at Parc Bistro-Brasserie in Bankers Hill: “We are very proud of chef Vincent and his accomplishments over the years and his devotion to the art of cooking and serving the community, ” Minassian says.
Todd Camburn, Barrio Star
With his lifelong love for authentic Mexican cuisine, Todd Camburn, co-owner of both Isabel’s Cantina and Barrio Star, is constantly brainstorming to put a creative spin on traditional flavors, such as the award-winning Roasted Jalapeño Blackberry Margarita, which is one of his favorite concoctions on the menu at Barrio Star. As a self-proclaimed fitness junkie, Camburn also likes to make sure that his culinary creations are equal parts delicious and healthy for his customers.