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Sunday, Sep 24, 2023

Waldorf Astoria’s Latest Switch: New Exec Chef

In February, it was announced that the Monarch Beach Resort in Dana Point had a new name and brand: Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach Resort & Club, part of Hilton’s luxury brand, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts.

What surprised me was the follow-up announcement that longtime Pelican Hill Resort Executive Chef Jean-Pierre Dubray had transitioned to Monarch Beach Resort as executive chef.

Dubray was with Pelican Hill when the resort opened, and he developed and executed concepts for the property’s dining outlets and shaped the vision for culinary standards. Prior to Pelican Hill, Dubray held positions at various Ritz-Carlton hotels for over 20 years, including executive chef at The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco and The Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage.

I caught up with Dubray last month, whose duties at Monarch Beach include overseeing culinary offerings at AVEO Table + Bar, Monarch Bay Beach Club, 33 North, Part + Parcel, Sombra Cantina, Club 19, and the In Room Dining program. He will also keep an eye on Bourbon Steak, which is a Michael Mina restaurant.

“We are very excited to have our restaurants open,” Dubray told me. He is starting to make changes to the menus, and has already made upgrades to the offerings at the grab-and-go Part & Parcel café, which he noted is similar to the Caffe at Pelican Hill.

“I already have a lot of my previous guests coming to see me,” Dubray said. That’s no surprise, as Dubray was a familiar sight on the Pelican Hill property. My favorite memory of Dubray was when I was part of a special media dinner prepared by Dubray in the kitchen of a resort villa.

At Monarch Beach, Dubray said he has been working with the staff so they are comfortable with him (“we have a great team”), and he has been getting familiar with the three types of guests at the Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach Resort & Club: resort guests, locals, and club members, who have been an important part of the resort during the pandemic.

Dubray said that the resort has seen an increase in weddings, and is hopeful that by summer the banquet business may pick up, but is always mindful of COVID-19 protocols.

“We always continue to follow the protocols in place—there is no relaxation regarding mask wearing, and social distancing, and wearing gloves when we serve guests,” Dubray said. “We want guests to feel safe.”

Sandwiches and Scones

After talking with Dubray, I drove to the Waldorf Astoria to have lunch at Part & Parcel. The pastry display was enticing, and the sandwich selection creative yet familiar.

I ordered a caprese sandwich, which came warmed on a baguette and proved to be a substantial meal—although I added a butterscotch walnut cookie and a pumpkin scone for later.

I’m looking forward to returning to the Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach Resort & Club to try Dubray’s menu upgrades to Aveo, and to an over-the-top dinner experience at Bourbon Steak.

Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach Resort & Club: 1 Monarch Beach Resort, Dana Point, (949) 234-3900, waldorfastoriamonarchbeach.com

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