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An inspired culinary team

We have put together one of the best culinary teams in the California desert, led by Executive Chef, Bruno Lopez.

Bruno Lopez

Executive Chef

After graduating from high school, Lopez trained at the Ferrandi School in Paris and apprenticed at L’Espadon, a Michelin one-star restaurant at Hotel Ritz in Paris. Honing his culinary skills in France in such places as Versailles for 3 years and South America during his Military Time, he decided to take his talent to San Francisco where he joined the Le Meridien Hotel as Chef de Cuisine at Pierre Restaurant.  Following his tenure at Le Meridien, Lopez joined The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco as Executive Sous Chef.  He remained with Ritz-Carlton for 10 years as executive chef in Marina del Rey, Dubai, and Half Moon Bay.  Prior to joining the Bel-Air, Lopez’s culinary experience included positions as the Executive Chef at Raffles L’Ermitage Hotel in Beverly Hills and the Regent Beverly Wilshire.

Lopez joined Executive Chef Dodd as Chef de Cuisine in The Restaurant at the Bel-Air in February 2005.  Together they focus on showcasing the unique culinary offerings of California, including fresh seasonal vegetables, meats and cheeses, which are signature ingredients at The Restaurant at Hotel Bel-Air.

Lopez is a member of Confrerie de la Chaine des Rotisseurs, Club Culinaire of Los Angeles, Les Toques Blanches International, the James Beard Foundation, L’Academie Culinaire de France since 2005 and the Prestigious Association des Maitres Cuisiniers de France ( French Master Chef) since 2008, with only 350 members worldwide .

JORGE MARTINEZ

Chef de Cuisine

Fueled by his Mother’s traditional Peruvian cooking, Jorge Martinez discovered a love for cooking in high school.  Prior to graduating, he enrolled at Le Cordon Blue Culinary School in Miami. While in culinary school, he furthered his career goals by working at TATU Asian Bar & Grill, a high volume restaurant in Ft. Lauderdale’s Hard Rock Casino. 

Jorge then obtained a position as Cook 1 of Garde Manger and Club Level at The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota.  Within three months, his banquet Chef realized Jorge was showing great potential and gave him the opportunity to manage both departments.   

When he discovered a new Ritz-Carlton property was going to open in Rancho Mirage, California, he seized the opportunity to be a part of the groundbreaking of a new hotel, as well as the chance to expand his possibilities with diverse types of cuisine.  Jorge was the Chef de Partie of Banquets, employee dining room and the pool for a year and a half. He is now the Chef de Cuisine of the State Fare restaurant and has been since December 2015. 

ORADY DITGNAVONG

Pastry Chef  

Inspired by Chef Alain Ducasse and his affinity for seasonal ingredients and intense focus on flavor, Chef Ditgnavong has devoted her career to a continuous education in culinary style and technique. As a result, she has trained in some of the world’s most acclaimed pastry kitchens alongside the world’s most distinguished chefs including Jean Philippe Maury and Frederic Robert, as well as Thomas Keller, Daniel Boulud and Francois Payard.

Her passion for pastry grew out of a desire to learn techniques and skills beyond those found in traditional culinary school. After earning her C.A.P. /B.E.P. in Cooking Lycee Hotel Paul Augier in Nice and working at “L’Auberge des Arts” restaurant, she completed a C.A.P. /B.E.P. in Pastry, Chocolate and Ice Cream at CFA de Carros. Upon graduation, she worked at “Patisserie Margeot”, an artisan bakery in Nice, before being sponsored by Bellagio to come to Las Vegas to work under the tutelage of the highly acclaimed pastry chef Jean Philippe Maury. 

Chef Ditgnavong has overseen the Pastry Department at The Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage since September of 2015.

Gihen Zitouni

Banquet Chef

Gihen has an extensive background with The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company which she has been with for over 10 years. Her career path has spanned all over the world, working at Ritz-Carlton locations in Spain, Portugal, Toronto, Miami, St. Thomas Virgin Islands and finally The Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage. Gihen earned her degree in Cuisine Supérieure and Contemporary Cooking from Institut de tourisme et d'hôtellerie du Québec.