The Ritz-Carlton Highlands, Lake Tahoe Announces Restaurant

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San Francisco's Chef Traci Des Jardins Partners to Create Resort's Restaurant

Traci Des Jardins

Traci Des Jardins' culinary talent paired with the legendary service of The Ritz-Carlton creates another exciting element here at The Ritz-Carlton Highlands, Lake Tahoe resort

Truckee, California -- The Ritz-Carlton Highlands, Lake Tahoe, opening mid-mountain in Northstar resort in fall 2009 announces the amazing pairing of two creative talents to concept a first-of-its-kind restaurant for the North Lake Tahoe region. Under the culinary guidance of Traci Des Jardins, named "Best Chef: Pacific" by the James Beard Foundation in 20078, The Ritz-Carlton Highlands, Lake Tahoe has commissioned the restaurant design team at The Johnson Studio to create the mountain resort's signature restaurant. The name of the restaurant has not yet been decided and will be announced at a future date.

"Traci Des Jardins' culinary talent paired with the legendary service of The Ritz-Carlton creates another exciting element here at The Ritz-Carlton Highlands, Lake Tahoe resort," said Allen Highfield, the resort's General Manager. "Our hotel guests, residential owners, club members and the local community will savor a one-of-a-kind dining experience unparalleled in the Northern California mountain region," he continued. "I am thrilled to be doing this project with The Ritz-Carlton, as we share the same standards in service and quality," said chef Traci Des Jardins about the new venture. "As a lifelong avid skier, I have always wanted to have a restaurant in a ski town and combine two of my favorite activities - cooking and skiing. I love the whole culture of the mountains and mountain activities and am excited to create a great restaurant which caters to the needs of the Alpine adventurer," she included. "Traci and I share a passion for the outdoors and a true love of skiing. When not practicing her culinary expertise, I have no doubt you will find her on the slopes of Northstar," Highfield added.

James Beard Award-Winning Chef Traci Des Jardins was raised on a farm in California's San Joaquin Valley and developed a deep love for the earth and its bounty at an early age. The Des Jardins dinner table featured produce from the garden and game from the land in dishes reflecting her family's rich Mexican and Louisianan-French Acadian heritage. She had first dreamed of being a downhill ski racer and then a veterinarian, but always found herself drawn to the heat and creativity of the kitchen.

Prior to opening Jardinière, she spent time in Los Angeles and New York working with some of the country's top chefs, further honing her craft in France where she apprenticed with legendary chefs including Michel and Pierre Troisgros, Alain Senderens, Alain Ducasse, and Alain Passard. In 1998, Traci opened Jardinière and has made it one of the most sought-after reservations in San Francisco. Following that success, she opened Mijita Cocina Mexicana in 2004 in the San Francisco Ferry Building, combining the best of Bay Area seasonal and local ingredients with the traditional Mexican flavors of her youth. Traci also serves as managing chef for the popular Acme Chophouse, a modern steakhouse that features naturally-raised grilled and roasted meats and poultry, locally-caught fish, and produce from small, local organic farms. Beyond the kitchen, Traci is a deeply committed activist and philanthropist.

At the 94-seat restaurant along with 71-seat bar and lounge area inside The Ritz-Carlton Highlands, Lake Tahoe, it is all about the kitchen and acclaimed chef Traci Des Jardins. From the moment you enter the restaurant, the design radiates warmth, texture and natural materials. The open kitchen is visible from all vantage points in the restaurant, showcasing the chef's organic cuisine. "We drew our direction and inspiration for the design from Traci: her fondness of the beauty of nature, her love of contemporary design and her passion for excellence," said Bill Johnson, principal at The Johnson Studio. "All of those elements are perfectly aligned in a restaurant that is both stimulating yet comfortable at the same time." Other recent projects of The Johnson Studio include Fearing's at The Ritz-Carlton, Dallas, Texas, Kevin Rathbun's in Atlanta, Georgia and Restaurant Tru in Chicago, Illinois.

Entering the restaurant, the guest will be greeted with a beautiful reclaimed rustic rough edge tree trunk with carved wood sides and a smooth finished top. Shimmering oil lamps suspended above create an inviting aura. A stone fireplace creates warmth and can be seen from anywhere in the bar, which features cozy sofas and lounge chairs. An exposed bark edge wood ceiling undulates throughout the space, curving up to the windows taking full advantage of the mountain views. Patrons can dine at the bar, watch the action in the expo kitchen while sitting at the kitchen counter, or be seated in the main dining room. A chef's table will offer personal culinary attention. Guests can also dine at several sofa-like settees along the windows with an adjacent glass wine wall accommodating an expansive wine collection.    

For more information about The Ritz-Carlton Highlands, Lake Tahoe please contact Steven H. Holt at 530-550-2770 or visit

The Ritz-Carlton Highlands, Lake Tahoe is the first new-build resort development in the Lake Tahoe area in decades. Anticipated to be the premier Northern California contemporary mountain retreat, The Ritz-Carlton will introduce its legendary service in fall 2009, a service level before unseen in Lake Tahoe. The $300 million project, situated mid-mountain in the Northstar-at-Tahoe ski area will feature ski-in, ski-out access with mountain valet services, a restaurant by renowned San Francisco chef Traci Des Jardins, a 17,000 square foot spa and fitness center and preferred access to the Old Greenwood and Coyote Moon golf courses. An inter-mountain gondola will connect guests between the nearby Village at Northstar and the The Ritz-Carlton Highlands, Lake Tahoe resort. Perched slope-side within a 15 minute drive of both Lake Tahoe and the historic town of Truckee, the year-round destination includes 170 guest rooms, 23 private Ritz-Carlton Residences and 25 Ritz-Carlton Club fractional ownership units. The resort is currently under construction and is on schedule to open its doors to guests in fall of 2009.

The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C., of Chevy Chase, Md., currently operates 72 hotels in the Americas, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and the Caribbean. More than 30 hotel and residential projects are under development around the globe with future openings including Shenzhen, China; Dove Mountain, Arizona; and Lake Tahoe, California. The Ritz-Carlton is the only service company to have twice earned the prestigious Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, which recognizes outstanding customer service. For more information, or reservations, contact a travel professional, call toll free 1-800-241-3333, or visit the company web site at    

Steven H. Holt
Director of Public Relations
Phone: 530-550-2770

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