Meet the Chef
Ben Peterson, head chef at the San Vicente Resort restaurants — The Oaks Grille and Par Lounge & Deck — has a passion for cooking. “It’s an art,” he says. “It’s a creative expression that moves from my head to my hands.”
When he finally selected his vocation, Peterson chose ‘chef’ over the creativity of his pursuits as a musician. And he learned “to cook every plate as if it was your first impression, with the purpose of creating positive guest experiences with food.” He credits this guiding principle to his mentors in New Orleans and California, and to the time he spent at the Art Institute of California.
Born and raised in Ramona, Chef Ben knows the California palate, most notably coastal and inland cooking, as well as the price points that make for success in local restaurants. For four years, he has led his San Vicente Resort team in creating delicious New American and New Californian cuisine, and together they work toward consistent standards in preparation, taste and presentation for all menu items, from a delicious fish taco to a complex weekend Chef’s Special. It’s all about the food — the ingredients, color, integrity of food sources, cooking techniques and innovative combinations for guests that come together to create a ‘full circle dining experience.’ It starts with the chef’s mind to the preparation table, and to the dining table and the minds of the guests, as they enjoy their food. This ‘shared experience’ comes full circle again, as the many positive restaurant ratings from guests motivate his staff to continue to improve and grow.
While the menu of both restaurants is the same, the Par Lounge & Deck features a popular Wednesday pasta & local Ramona wine night, with an ingredient bar and personalized dishes prepared fresh. On other nights, cuisine is specially prepared to pair with craft beers, or there's a delightful event like a Caribbean rum night or margaritas – fun and delicious!
Creativity is showcased in the weekend Chef Specials, which are based on Chef Ben’s inspiration from fresh and seasonal ingredients, many of which come from local sources. He visualizes the dish in his head, and then creates food that is both delicious and beautifully prepared. It’s art, and creative cuisine that may cause guests to pause before they eat. In the end, it’s all about creating a unique and enjoyable dining experience.