Rob WilsonExecutive Chef
Executive Chef Rob Wilson joined Montage Laguna Beach in 2010 to oversee culinary operations with an emphasis on special events. As Executive Chef, he manages the day-to-day operations of the main kitchens and ensures that the best quality products are used throughout the property.
Chef Wilson has an extensive culinary background, and is a graduate of Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in New York. He began his culinary career when was just a teenager and started as a dishwasher at the Dana Point, California Chart House restaurant. He quickly worked his way to head cook and excelled from there.
His culinary path has included time at Surf and Sand Resort in Laguna Beach, California, where he worked as a Sous Chef, and he eventually went on to be co-owner and Executive Chef of , Cervino's in Mammoth Lakes, California. Prior to joining Montage Laguna Beach, Chef Wilson spent the past thirteen years with The Ritz Carlton company, most recently serving as Executive chef at The Ritz Carlton, Laguna Niguel. Here he worked at various locations in California and was part of the opening team for seven of their hotels across the U.S. He was also named "Chef of the Year" in 2008 by Chef Magazine.
Chef Wilson enjoys the outdoors, and activities such as: surfing, stand up paddle boarding, snowboarding and riding motorcycles. He currently resides in Laguna Niguel, California with his wife and two children.
Lee SmithExecutive Pastry Chef
Executive Pastry Chef Lee Smith, who has over 24 years of experience in the industry, leads a team of pastry chefs, chocolatiers and bakers, and works closely with the catering and conference services teams, as well as the resort restaurants, to create innovative pastry concepts for all guests. Chef Lee also develops the resort's creative line-up of pastries, confections, breads, chocolates and in-room amenities.
After receiving his culinary degree from The South Field Culinary School in Leicestershire, England, Chef Lee completed a three-year apprenticeship at The Gleneagles Hotel in Perthshire, Scotland under the guidance of legendary pastry chef Ian Ironside. Following his apprenticeship, Chef Lee worked for celebrated chefs such as Chef Michel Perraud, Chef Pierre Kouffman, and Chef Christian Germain in a series of Michelin one, two and three star restaurants in England and France.
The next twelve years of Chef Lee’s career consisted of working for Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts at hotels across three continents, followed by a career at The Peninsula Hotel Bangkok. At each hotel, Chef Lee was responsible for leading teams of bakers, Chocolatiers, ice cream makers, cake designers and pastry chefs to fulfill the highest expectations of international travelers.
The England native came to the United States in 1999 to work at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, California. Prior to joining the culinary team at Montage Laguna Beach, Chef Lee served as the Corporate Executive Pastry Chef for the Innovative Dining Group, based in California, where he developed multiple restaurant concepts for the greater Los Angeles area.
Chef Lee credits his success to “passion and love of my craft, continuation of a noble and ancient trade, and my ability to pass on that passion and knowledge.”
Earning the Advanced Sommelier Diploma from the American Chapter of the Court of Master Sommeliers, Troy Smith is a sommelier and beverage manager at Montage Laguna Beach.
Equipped with in-depth knowledge gleaned from more than 10 years in the wine industry, Smith oversees the selection, purchasing and storage of wines for the entire resort. He also facilitates all ongoing staff wine training.
In addition, Smith oversees the ambitious wine program for the resort's three restaurants, including its signature restaurant Studio's impressive 2,500 wine selections. To that end, he is instrumental in selecting Studio's approximately 50 wines by the glass; working in tandem with Studio Executive Chef Craig Strong and the Studio sommelier team to present wine pairings for each item on the private chef's table and tasting menus.
Previously a sommelier at The Phoenician Resort in Scottsdale, AZ, Smith has also served as sommelier at the Ventana Room at Loews Ventana Canyon Resort in Tucson, AZ.