Contreras and Ishizaki Honored for Excellence

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The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel Executive Chef Pedro Contreras Receives Global Chef of the Year and Food & Beverage Director Sheryl Ishizaki Recognized as Americas Restaurateur of the Year

Executive Chef Pedro Contreras

I am extremely proud of Chef Pedro and Sheryl for continuously seeking to innovate and improve the food and beverage experiences at The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel.

Each year, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company recognizes an outstanding Executive Chef with the Award of Culinary Excellence (ACE) and an outstanding Food & Beverage Director with the Service Awards for Bar and Restaurant Excellence (SABRE). The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel is proud to announce that for 2013 Executive Chef Pedro Contreras was recognized as Global Chef of the Year and Food & Beverage Director Sheryl Ishizaki was recognized as Restaurateur of the Year for the Americas.

The Ritz-Carlton Corporate Team selects ACE recipients following a nomination process and Chef Contreras was the global winner for Ritz-Carlton properties worldwide. He was recognized for his professional accomplishments, dedication and leadership as a true champion of culinary expertise. Chef Contreras joins an elite group of Executive Chefs who have won the award in previous years, including Sean Woods of The Ritz-Carlton Grand Lakes, Orlando and Xavier Solomon of The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay.

The SABRE Awards identify and celebrate the impressive global restaurant and bar talent throughout the company. Annually, nominations are submitted and considered by the corporate leadership and Food & Beverage Director Sheryl Ishizaki was selected as 2013 Restaurateur of the Year for the Americas. Her unparalleled passion for innovative food and beverage operations, stellar leadership, and strong financial success, resulted in her earning this prestigious award.

“I am extremely proud of Chef Pedro and Sheryl for continuously seeking to innovate and improve the food and beverage experiences at The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel,” said General Manager Bruce Brainerd. “Their dedication and service excellence earned them this outstanding recognition. It’s a true testament to their commitment, their craft, their teams and the resort,” he added.

With more than 11 years of experience and a passion for the cuisines of the Americas, Chef Contreras oversees all culinary operations at The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel. Throughout his tenure with the company, he has served as executive chef at The Ritz-Carlton, Marina del Rey and The Ritz-Carlton, Phoenix. He has also provided opening leadership to The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain and The Ritz-Carlton, Toronto, two of the most high-profile openings for The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company. Chef Contreras grew up in Venezuela in a family with roots in Spain and Mexico and studied at the University of Los Andes in Merida, Venezuela.

Ishizaki joined The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel in 2009 and oversees all food and beverage operations at the oceanfront resort. Prior to joining the company, she spent 20 years with Hyatt Hotels in various food and beverage positions including Food and Beverage Director, Director of Catering and Conferences Services, and Associate Director of Catering. Her tenure with Hyatt included such properties as the Grand Hyatt San Francisco, the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa and the Hyatt Regency La Jolla.

The resort offers a selection of dining options including Raya, a family-friendly dining experience fashioned by Chef Richard Sandoval, enoSTEAK, a boutique steakhouse featuring local organic produce and grass fed meats, 180blũ an outdoor oceanfront lounge that features panoramic views of the California coast, and The Market Place, a grab-and-go lifestyle outlet, highlight new and creative dining options at the resort.

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About The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel
Located halfway between Los Angeles and San Diego, The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel sits on a 150-foot bluff with panoramic white-water views of the Pacific Ocean and miles of sandy beach. The resort is a re-imagined surfside retreat that awakens guests’ senses with its unique ocean-front setting and remarkable service heritage. As the premiere destination for travelers who desire a playful approach to Southern California luxury, the resort has been the recipient of many awards over the years, but is proud to boast earning AAA Five Diamond status for the 29th year, the longest in California. For more information or reservations call 800-241-3333, the resort directly at 949-240-2000, a travel professional or visit

About The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C.
The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C., of Chevy Chase, Md., currently operates 86 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. The Ritz-Carlton is the only service company to have twice earned the prestigious Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, an award that originated in 1987. Its purpose is to promote the awareness of quality excellence, recognize quality achievements of companies and publicize successful quality strategies. The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company won the award in 1992 and 1999. For more information, or reservations, contact a travel professional, call toll free in the U.S. 1-800-241-3333, or visit the company web site at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Marriott International, Inc.

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