Our Team

Bobby Angelito, Executive Banquet Chef

Bobby Angelito was born in Cavite City, Philippines and raised in Ojai California. He received his primary training through hands on experiences working in kitchens with various French and German chefs. He has been in the hospitality industry for over 50 years, although during the course of his career he did step away to serve his country for six years and serve two tours of duty in Vietnam.
The majority of Bobby's professional career has been at the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa as the Executive Banquet Chef. Bobby just celebrated his 49th anniversary with the Inn.


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

David Arambula has perfected his craft of cuisine by working in the hospitality industry for over 22 years. He was born in Ensenada, Mexico and lived there until age 27 when he moved to Ojai, CA where he began his career at the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa. He held the position of supervisor of The Oak kitchen for six years and then advanced to his current position of Assistant Executive Banquet Chef.

In his free time, David loves spending time with his wife and two sons, ages 13 and 18.

Dana Francisco, Chef de Cuisine, The Oak & Jimmy's Pub

Dana Francisco, a Filipino-American, was born and raised in Heidelberg, Germany. Dana moved back to the States from Europe with his family at the age of 8. His culinary influences stem from the wide variety of places he has enjoyed living, including different regions of California, Arizona, and Texas. Dana graduated from the San Diego Culinary Institute in 2007 and spent a year and a half traveling throughout the United States competing in the renowned ACF cooking competitions with the San Diego Culinary Institute team. Dana's work experience includes Sous Chef positons at some of San Diego's favorite restaurants, namely West Coast Tavern and Urban Solace, and an Executive Chef position at Uptown Tavern.

Taking an interest in expanding his culinary techniques, Dana recently spent a month in different parts of Thailand studying the flavors of the regions.

Truman Jones, Executive Chef

Chef Truman Jones' culinary interest began at an early age. Having grown up on a farm, seasonal, fresh, and locally grown ingredients were a staple at home. Years later, these memories led him to leave his native Southeast for culinary school in Baltimore. Since then, he's earned his chops in some of the best Mobil Five Star and AAA Five Diamond rated kitchens in the world, including those of the venerable Ritz-Carlton brand and legendary chefs such as Gordon Ramsay. Prior to landing at the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa as the Executive Chef, Jones' more than 20 years in the culinary world included stints at the Medici Café and Terrace at The Ritz-Carlton in Las Vegas; helping to launch Gordon Ramsay's namesake restaurant at the Ritz-Carlton in Dublin, Ireland; and working alongside other acclaimed Michelin-starred chefs, like Daniel Humm of Eleven Madison Park, Sandro Gamba of NOMI, and the legendary Guenter Seeger of Atlanta's Seeger's (now closed).

Prior to joining the Inn, Chef Jones enjoyed Executive Chef positions at Ventana Inn & Spa and Lake Placid Lodge, a Relais & Châteaux property in upstate New York.

Truman's long history of using locally sourced ingredients, following the concepts of seasonality and artisanal cuisine in his own style, and a strong commitment to the farm-to-table approach, all lend themselves perfectly to our culinary program here at The Inn.

John Lacroix, Executive Pastry Chef

John Lacroix started his culinary career as a graduate of J.J. Belouet in France, and proceeded to graduate from the Culinary Institute of America, and completed a Master's degree in Culinary Pastry Arts and another Advanced Master's degree in Sugar and Chocolate from Edward Notter International School of Confectionary in Switzerland. His most recent training and pastry education is from the French Culinary Institute in New York, where he accomplished New Edition classes for Sugar Pieces, Chocolate Pieces and Pastillage.

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).

 

Didier Lenders, Resort Chef

As Resort Chef for the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa, Didier Lenders provides guests with memorable dining experiences throughout the property by drawing on more than 30 years of experience at luxury properties, all around the globe. Born in French Alps region of Haute Savoie, France, Didier left the shadow of the Mont Blanc while still a teen, to study cooking at L'Ecole Hotelliere de Paris. His apprenticeship included stages at Michelin starred restaurants like Dodin Bouffant and Le Tour d'Argent. Upon graduating, Didier moved to New York City where he spent his formative years working at Le Cirque, La Cote Basque, La Caravelle and La Gauloise.

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 seven 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.

 

Andrea Rodella, Chef de Cuisine Olivella

Andrea Rodella, born and raised in Guastalla, Italy, is passionate about cooking with seasonal, market-driven ingredients. Chef Rodella’s interest in cooking started at a young age, when his passion for discovering different cuisines collided with the northern Italian fare he was raised on. He was determined to learn how to cook with fresh ingredients, uniting tradition with innovation.

He attended the Italian Culinary Institute in Mantova, Italy, at 14 years of age and strengthened his culinary skills by working at some of the most esteemed restaurants in northern Italy while attending school.

His professional restaurant career began as Chef de Partie at Ristorante La Rucola where he helped take the restaurant from a one to a two-Michelin star rating. Over the course of nine years, Rodella was trained by elite Italian chefs including Giancarlo Perbellini, Gionata Bignotti, and Vera Caffini, gaining experience in advanced culinary techniques which he applied when he opened two highly-acclaimed restaurants, namely Matamoro and GialloZucca.

He took his career to the next level in 2009 when he moved to the United States and joined the Vivoli Cafè & Trattoria as Executive Chef followed by a two and a half-year tenure in 2012 as Co-Executive Chef at the famed Piccolo Restaurant in Venice Beach.  

Chef Rodella joined the Inn’s culinary team in April 2015 as Chef de Cuisine of Olivella where he collaborates with Executive Chef Truman Jones to create refined, ever-evolving tasting menus that highlight the area’s incredible, local bounty.

In his free time, Rodella can be found cheering on his beloved AC Milan football team, attending rock concerts or discovering new destinations with his wife. 


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