Posts Tagged ‘Chef Jason Giles’

Behind the Scenes at the Portola Hotel & Spa

Friday, February 20th, 2015
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This new feature on our Central Coast Living blog will highlight the amazing staff right here at the Portola! From food service to operations, here’s your chance to meet a great group of professionals, who not only love their job, but truly care about the experience each and every individual has, the moment they step through the doors at the Portola Hotel & Spa at Monterey Bay.

The first department I will be featuring is the one and only Food & Beverage crew.  With experience that spans from Grocery Bagging to Food Serving, the Portola’s Food & Beverage team is one of the most dynamic bunch of individuals you’ll ever meet.

 

Kevin Clark, Peter B’s Head Brewer on why he brews and advice for someone looking to start brewing -

“Because I love to be creative and I also really loved beer. Start brewing at home and read some books. Also start drinking other beers you normally don’t.”

 

Kevin Clark bottling beer at Peter B’s Brewpub.

Devin Gray, Food & Beverage Coordinator on why she choose to work in hospitality -

“I went to college with the intention of becoming a Physical Therapist. It didn’t take long to realize that I was on the completely wrong path – I hated my classes, I was squeamish about the work, and I didn’t feel any real connection to the profession. After weeks, months, and finally two years of trying to decide what brought me to Physical Therapy in the first place, I realized that it was really just a desire to make people comfortable and happy. Well, there’s more than one way to reach that goal – I eventually found my way to the College of Agriculture at the University of Missouri, Columbia, where I studied Hospitality Management. One of the most important things that I’ve learned throughout my eight years in hospitality is that your attitude directly affects the guest – for better or for worse. So do what you love, and they’ll (almost) always be happy!”

Jim Bridges, Banquet Manager on advice for someone interested in managing a banquet team -

“Working in banquets it’s important to expect the unexpected. Every client and every meeting is different.  If you start your day expecting changes your will be more prepared to tackle the variety of requests and adjustments of the day.”

Sonny Petersson, Director of Food and Beverage on why he choose to work in hospitality and advice for those in the industry -

“After finishing College in Sweden I moved to London in order to improve my English. The easiest way to get a job was in the hospitality industry, it was there I realized that I loved the industry and what it brings to you. It is a fast paced, cultural, rewarding and so much more industry. Not one day is the same and what I enjoyed the most is seeing instant gratification in the guest’s eyes and body language when you have exceeded their expectations. I have been very fortunate in my career and have worked at so many great places as well as with so many great people. I live and work by this motto – What separates a professional from an amateur is how you recover from a mistake. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, we all make them but it is how you recover and learn from one that is important.”

 

Sonny Petersson encouraging guests to relax and have a glass of wine during the holidays in Jacks Lounge.

Franco Vasquez, Peter B’s Brewpub Restaurant Manager on why he choose Restaurant Management -

“Restaurant Management is a very noble profession.  As with any job, there is the good and not so good and, more importantly, it truly is what you make it. My years working in restaurants have been extremely rewarding, exciting and I wouldn’t trade them for anything!  I have had the privilege to work with, inspire (and be inspired by) incredible employees and managers and, hopefully, made a difference in their lives.  I have made thousands and thousands of customers happy by serving the highest quality food I could possibly serve with fast and friendly service in clean restaurants. I’ve met people along the way, customers, employees, managers and superiors that I’ll never forget.  Looking back?  Good stuff. Very good stuff.”

 

Franco Vasquez helping out at Eggstravaganza.

Peter Radler, Jacks Restaurant Manager on why he choose to work in hospitality

“I work in Hospitality because it’s the perfect business if you want to travel. When I was first starting out, I had no idea of the adventures that I would soon be taking. I’ve been in F&B for 32 years, and have had the amazing opportunity to work in Switzerland, Australia, Germany, Colorado, Los Angeles, and now Monterey. I’ve worked in free standing restaurants, in corporate situations, and have even owned my own restaurant. Each position I’ve held has been completely unique, and has taught me that you can work in the industry for years and years and it’ll still find ways to surprise you.”

Jason Giles, Executive Chef on why he choose to become a Chef and his funniest moment in his career

“I got in this field because it allows me to be creative and share my passion for great food with other people. My funniest moment was when I was working 21 days straight, 16 to 18 hours a day while opening a restaurant and falling asleep standing pitting cherries for the pastry station.”

Jason Giles at the Tequila Expo for a live cooking demo.

Love is in the Air

Monday, February 9th, 2015
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Spa On the Plaza, massage for two

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and with it comes the pressure of finding the perfect gift, or gifts for your significant other.  With work, kids and everything else in our lives, however, who has the time to properly pull together a great gift? Why not let the Portola Hotel & Spa handle all the details and make this Valentine’s Day one to remember.

To begin, treat yourself to the Portola Hotel’s Romance Package. You’ll be greeted by a bottle of complimentary Champagne and decadent chocolate covered strawberries. You and your sweetheart will also receive a relaxing 50-minute Symphony Massage for two from the Spa on the Plaza as well as a delicious European-style breakfast buffet with bottomless Mimosas at Jacks Restaurant.

If you are also in the mood for dinner, why go out when you can experience the award-winning cuisine of Jacks Restaurant located just steps from your room. Executive Chef Jason Giles has created a wonderful four course prix-fixe dinner featuring an appetizer of Crispy Duck Crepinette and your choice of Butter Lettuce Salad with Roasted Beets or Lobster Bisque with Brioche Croutons for a starter. Entrée choices include Petite Filet Mignon or Pan Roasted Verlasso Salmon among others. This special dinner also includes a decedent dessert and complimentary glass of Champagne.

If your Valentine’s Day plans include more than a massage, the Spa on the Plaza has got you covered. From massage enhancements to special treatments, facials and private baths for women AND men, you can customize your experience and treat yourself and your honey to something amazing.  Choose from a list of services and treatment additions as simple as an extra-long massage or as extravagant as a Serenity Wrap where you are wrapped in a heated cocoon of herbal essences, seaweed or mud.

So if you are looking for the ultimate Valentine’s Day experience, look no further than the Portola Hotel & Spa. From romantic rooms and bottomless Mimosas to delicious dinners and relaxing spa treatments, you’ll find love is in the air, and everywhere at the Portola Hotel.

Come On Get Happy

Friday, January 9th, 2015
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Jacks Lounge inside the Portola Hotel

The Portola Hotel & Spa and its two dining hot spots, Jacks Restaurant & Lounge and Peter B’s Brewpub have always been known for innovation. Whether it is achieving LEED®-EB certification for the hotel’s commitment to environmental stewardship, Jacks focus on sustainable and locally sourced ingredients or Peter B’s creative on-site craft brewery, there is always something new and exciting happening at 2 Portola Plaza. So when Jacks Lounge announced a revamped Happy Hour Program, the New Year just got a little bit better.

Jacks Lounge kicks the fun off daily from 4-6pm with brand new menu items featuring $5 small bites like Corned Beef Sliders, Soy Marinated Beef Skewers and Risotto Fritters. Drink specials include $4 well drinks, $6 barrel aged cocktails, $4 house white and red wines and $3 12oz bottled beer. Fridays and Saturdays feature local favorite Dino Vera performing live music in the lounge from 6-9pm. So whether enjoying a quiet bite to eat and glass of wine cozied up to the fireplace in the lounge or unwinding with friends out on the heated pet-friendly patio, Jacks has something for everyone.

Peter B’s Brewpub behind the Portola Hotel

Not to be outdone is the popular Happy Hour menu at Peter B’s Brewpub. From 4-6:30pm daily, drink specials include $4 16oz and $6 25oz house-brewed beers, $4 Margaritas and $6 Long Island Iced Teas. The food choices are wide and varied with dishes ranging from Sweet Potato Fries and Monterey Cali-Mari to The Wing Man (Buffalo Chicken Wings) and Homemade Chips and Salsa. The menu also ventures out of the Monterey Bay with regional specialties like Crispy Cheese Curds from Wisconsin, Fried Pickles from the Deep South and Pacific Cod Ceviche from Baja. A favorite place to chill is out on their pet-friendly patio with comfortable benches, fire-pits and an up-close view of the pub’s onsite brewery operation.

An added bonus for both happy hours, and really any meal for that matter, is the complementary self or valet parking at the Portola. With so many drink and dish options, live music and free parking you’ll be happier for a lot longer than an hour at the Portola Hotel’s Jacks Restaurant & Lounge and Peter B’s Brewpub!

Monterey, Mimosas, Brunch & More Mimosas

Friday, December 26th, 2014
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There’s just something fabulous about relaxing with a chilled Mimosa on a weekend day that makes me smile and feel completely carefree.  Add a fabulous brunch menu to the mix with great friends and I’m one happy girl!

Jacks Restaurant & Lounge right here at the Portola has recently launched a brand new weekend brunch menu, available from noon-2pm every Saturday and Sunday.  Choose to dine indoors in their sophisticated dining room, or dine outdoors on their heated patio, which is also pet friendly!

Jacks Weekend Brunch Menu is unique, and different from their famous breakfast buffet (also still available from 6am-noon), offering traditional breakfast specialties such as a Texas Benedict, Cinnamon Swirl French Toast and Quiche Florentine, just to name a few.  BUT for those seeking something a bit different, order the Peter B’s Ale (brewed on site at Peter B’s Brewpub adjacent to the restaurant) Chicken Sandwich or Roasted Salmon Nicoise Salad.  It’s like the best of both worlds, coming together, thanks to the creativity of Executive Chef Jason Giles. From seafood inspired appetizers to signature entrees, you really can’t go wrong with this new menu; it’s easy and fun and truly has options that everyone in your party will enjoy.

Oh, and did I mention Bottomless Mimosas are only $5.95?

Locally Inspired

Friday, October 31st, 2014
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Executive Chef Jason Giles, doesn’t only talk the talk, he walks the walk.  Committed to incorporating as many locally sourced and sustainable ingredients as possibly in his menu development at the Portola Hotel & Spa’s two onsite restaurants, Peter B’s Brewpub and Jacks Restaurant & Lounge, Chef Giles is definitely making it happen.

I was recently invited for an afternoon tasting of some of the season’s newest menu items and was in awe of the detail not only taken with the presentation, but in the preparation.  One of my favorite parts of the tasting was learning about how the ingredients were selected and sourced. Even more impressive, was that some of the ingredients were created, on site, in particular Peter B’s own Craft Beer.  Amazing to drink, but even more impressive to have as an ingredient in an entrée and even dessert!

One of the stand-out dishes we were served included a mouth-watering, fall off the bone, U.S. domestic lamb shank. Seared and braised in Peter B’s own Stout Resistance Ale (brewed on-site by Brewmaster, Kevin Clark) with aromatic vegetables, cinnamon and orange zest, this entrée is served over herb whipped potatoes and roasted, local Castroville Brussel sprouts then dusted with parmesano reggiano.

If that wasn’t amazing by itself, dessert was then served – drumroll please…house made Stout Resistance vanilla bean ice cream!  A collaboration with local creamery, KaiLee Creamery, this dessert was not only delicious, but memorable. Served with fresh strawberries and crispy barrel-aged coconut, this creamy treat should definitely be added to one’s culinary bucket list!

So, I invite all to sip, savor and share the next time you have the chance to visit the Portola Hotel & Spa!