Didier Lenders, Resort Chef
The 1980's brought Didier to California where he quickly ascended to the Executive Chef position at The Lodge at Pebble Beach. Moving north to the Bay Area Didier became an instructor at the California Culinary Academy and held chef positions at the world renowned Ernie's Restaurant in San Francisco, a city he came to love and also, where he fell in love with his wife Pilar Sanchez, also a chef. The newlywed couple soon moved back to Paris to run his family's restaurant to much critical acclaim. By the mid 1990's they slowly made their way back to California, making a stop in the Caribbean, where Didier held the chef position at the very exclusive La Samanna Resort on the island of St. Martaan. The Napa Valley was the next stop. Didier held the Executive Chef post at the picture perfect Meadowood Resort for 9 years. Then the culinary duo of Didier and Pilar opened their own restaurant again, this time in downtown Napa, receiving a great deal of attention and praise from food critics and foodies alike.
Now living in Santa Barbara, close to family, the past six years at the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa has been "home" to Didier's considerable talents and passion for fine cuisine, team leadership and guest service.
John Lacroix, Executive Pastry Chef
John has worked in several respected kitchens over his 24 year career. Beginning at The Pierre Hotel in New York as Assistant Pastry Chef, he ultimately accepted the position as Assistant Executive Pastry Chef at The Plaza Hotel in New York, where he worked for 12 years refining his artistries. After many years in New York he moved on to the Beau Rivage MGM Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, and then onto to Kansas City before heading out West to sunny California and joining the team at Ojai Valley Inn & Spa.
When not whipping up confections in the pastry kitchen at the Inn, John enjoys participating in cooking competitions and shows. He is a winner of six gold medals, two silver medals, and 1 bronze medal as a completing member of the American Culinary Federation (ACF).
Kay Brickley, Assistant Pastry Chef
Kay initially began her career in Sales and Marketing after earning her Bachelor's degree from Arizona State University in Political Science. After discovering her true passion for cooking and baking, Kay graduated from Scottsdale Culinary Institute, in Scottsdale, Arizona, where she obtained a degree in Le Cordon Bleu Baking and Patisserie. She has worked in some of Arizona's premier kitchens in Tempe, Chandler and Phoenix, and now joins the Inn team as a pastry expert.
In the winter of 2014, Kay won the Manager of the Quarter Award at the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa.
Travis Watson, Chef de Cuisine
Formerly a University of Arizona football player, Travis Watson viewed the culinary arts as something cool and fun to do. He worked two jobs through high school in order to attend Scottsdale Culinary Institute in Arizona. Upon graduation, he completed an impressive externship in Paris. Upon his return to the states Travis has worked as a pastry chef in such kitchens as Fox Restaurant Concepts, Avalon in Scottsdale, the Four Seasons, The Ritz Carlton and the Royal Palms Resort and Spa.
Travis currently works as the Chef de Cuisine at the Oak Grill restaurant. In his free time, he enjoys fishing, powerlifting, basketball and jet skiing.
William Fravel, Chef de Cuisine Maravilla
In his free time, William enjoys going to the beach with friends to surf and and spending time with his three-year-old son and family.
Bobby Angelito, Executive Banquet Chef
The majority of Bobby's professional career has been at the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa as the Executive Banquet Chef.
In his time at home he likes to be with his family and two grandsons as well as tending to his extensive rose and vegetable gardens.
David Arambula, Assistant Executive Banquet Chef
In his free time, David loves spending time with his wife and two sons, ages 13 and 18.