Trend setting chef Toni Robertson
unique flair for creative and intriguing cuisine once again to the James Beard House.The renowned executive chef of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel
, San Francisco, which was recently named the #2 hotel in the United States, has consistently won kudos from the country's most discriminating culinary critics over the past 18 years for her
understated approach to culinary excellence.Often described as ‘simply elegant,' her
cuisine draws heavily on her
global experience and incorporates the ingredients and bounty of a network of local farmers and food artisans in the fertile and rich landscape of Northern California cuisine.
From a career that has focused almost exclusively on luxury five-star hotels, Robertson
has carved out a niche in bringing world-class culinary programs to some of the globe's leading hotels.Beginning as senior sous chef with the Ritz Carlton Four Seasons Hotel in Chicago in 1986, she eventually moved westward to Southern California to become the executive sous chef at the then new Four Seasons Hotel Beverly Hills.After the challenge of running a large resort culinary program at the Grand Wailea Resort and Spa in Maui, Hawaii, Toni became the first female chef to head a major kitchen on the African continent when she became executive chef of the famed The Palace Hotel in Sun City, South Africa.
This was a particularly notable feat given her
Asian heritage in a country that was moving from apartheid to a new democratic era when she
arrived.Singapore's five-star flagship Pan Pacific Hotel gave Robertson the opportunity to return to her Asian roots where she once again broke new ground as the first female to hold an executive chef position at a major property in Southeast Asia.After creating an award-winning program that captured the culinary imagination of the region, Toni opted to return to the United States in 1998 to become the executive chef for the Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa in Sonoma, which was undergoing a $30 million transformation into the country's top rated resort spa.
After a number of years leading that program to national prominence, Toni
once again returned to Southern California where she
took over the kitchens of the luxurious St. Regis Hotel in Los Angeles.In June of 2004, she
returned to Northern California and the Mandarin Oriental San Francisco.