While his peers sought recreational fun and sun, Long Beach, California college student Jonathan Gelman used his free time to work culinary positions at Hyatt properties in California and Hawaii. A passionate and young study, Gelman took his professional interests in cuisine to the next level, graduating magna cum laude from the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. Gelman quickly clinched his first five-star experience, first as pastry sous chef at the Ritz Carlton Laguna-Niguel in Dana Point, California, and, later, with a transfer to The Dining Room Restaurant as sous chef under three-star Michelin Chef Boris Keller. It was from Keller that Gelman began to hone his skills in the French cuisine and culture that would inspire his cuisine.
Not that Gelman’s interests were exclusively across the Atlantic. Early in his career, Gelman apprenticed with the U.S. Culinary Olympic Team and was a member of the American Culinary Federation's 1996 Team California, winning an impressive collection of medals in the culinary competitions. His credentials also include posts as executive chef for seafood-centric Monarch Bay Resorts; executive chef at Cuvaison Winery in Napa Valley; executive chef of catering and banquets for Michael's at The Cidadel in Scottsdale, Arizona; executive sous chef at the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa; and executive chef for L'Auberge de Sedona. Additionally, Gelman owned and served as executive chef for Napa Gardens Catering in Napa Valley.
“The style of my food reflects exquisite contemporary American cuisine with French and Mediterranean influences,” says the seasoned chef. “I focus on locally grown products, seasonal ingredients, impeccable presentation, and cutting-edge menu choices to create a truly memorable dining experience.” As executive chef for The Driskill Hotel, overseeing The Driskill Grill, 1886 Café & Bakery, catering, and banquets, Gelman brings those memorable experiences to a vast—and satisfied—clientele. The Driskill Grill is listed as a “Top 25 U.S. Hotel Restaurant” by Zagat, and AAA has awarded the restaurant its Four Diamond Award for nine consecutive years. The Driskill Grill also recently received Foder's Choice Award, Open Table’s Diners Choice Award, and Wine Spectator’s “2009 Best of Award of Excellence.”