The St. Regis Monarch Beach, an AAA Five Diamond and Forbes Five-Star resort in Dana Point, California, announced the appointment of Collin Thornton as executive chef. Thornton will oversee all culinary operations including the resort’s signature Michael Mina fine dining restaurant, Stonehill Tavern, and development of five new dining concepts to be unveiled in Spring 2016 as part of the resort’s $30 million re-imagination. The new culinary experiences for guests will include: AVEO Table + Bar, a re-envisioned restaurant with a Mediterranean concept that will embrace the seasonal bounty of the California coastline; Sombra, a new poolside Mexi-Cali cantina; 33 North, a new lobby and lounge area designed to become the convivial living room with live music and outdoor fire pits for social gathering; Part and Parcel Market, a grab-and-go marketplace; and Westwind Terrace, a gastro pub dining experience.
“As we move into the final phase of our renovation, we are excited to welcome Chef Thornton’s vibrant spirit and inspired take on fresh, approachable cuisine,” says Ian Pullan, general manager of The St. Regis Monarch Beach. “He has the extraordinary ability and leadership experience to truly embrace our property’s re-imagination through our robust culinary program. We look forward to having guests enjoy his vision one dish at a time.”
In his new role, Thornton will create five new dining concepts at The St. Regis Monarch Beach that are reflective of the resort’s coastal location with a commitment to using fresh ingredients from local purveyors and sustainable practices. He will lead the full culinary team, along with Stonehill Tavern Executive Chef Raj Dixit and sommelier Paul Coker.
Thornton joins The St. Regis Monarch Beach after a distinguished 20-year culinary career working at Fairmont Hotels & Resorts properties around the world. He most recently served as executive chef of the Fairmont Royal York hotel in Toronto, home to the largest hotel kitchen in Canada, and previously held positions at Fairmont Hotel MacDonald in Edmonton, Alberta; Fairmont Southampton in Bermuda; the historic Fairmont Chateau Laurier on the Rideau Canal; and Fairmont Orchid on the Big Island of Hawaii where he oversaw 540 guestrooms, four restaurants and three lounges.
Originally from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, Thornton began his culinary career at the early age of 14 in Edmonton, Alberta, starting as a dishwasher and working his way up to an apprenticeship at the prestigious Edmonton Petroleum Club. Thornton is an avid skateboarder, surfer, snowboarder, motorcycle rider, and singer-songwriter who owns more than a dozen guitars.
“I couldn’t be happier to join The St. Regis Monarch Beach team and work in my dream city with its beautiful seaside location that offers the best of everything available, from fresh produce and seafood to game and meats,” Thornton says. “The resort is a perfect match for my approach to food and love of coastal sustainable cuisine. I look forward to re-conceptualizing our food and beverage offerings, and embarking on this new journey to become one of the top culinary destinations along the California coast.”
Thornton’s appointment is an integral part of The St. Regis Monarch Beach’s multi-million renovation that includes a recent 400-room refresh and upcoming transformation of a redesigned lobby and arrival experience, an expansive pool area and new pool bar, five new dining concepts, renovated public spaces and an exclusive spa partnership with Miraval, a global leader of spa and wellness. Expressions of the resort’s new personality, equal parts sophisticated, approachable, and intimate, will celebrate Dana Point’s playful coastal lifestyle, welcoming guests to a beach house atmosphere steeped in the relaxed sun-splashed sophistication of Orange County. The resort will remain open through its redesign, which will be completed in spring 2016.