March 19, 2019 – Rancho Cielo executive chef Estevan Jimenez will receive the prestigious Chef of the Year award from the Monterey Bay Chapter of the American Culinary Federation at its annual gala in May.
Jimenez—who formerly worked at Aqua Terra Culinary, Ventana Big Sur and the Monterey Bay Aquarium—was selected because of his professionalism and expertise, and for his dedication to community service—both in his work with at-risk youth at Rancho Cielo and within the chapter.
The talented chef attended the California School of Culinary Arts, Le Cordon Bleu program and moved to Monterey shortly afterwards as a chef for Bon Appetit Management, which at that time handled the aquarium restaurants and events. He was promoted to chef de cuisine in 2007 and then moved on to the position of executive sous chef at Ventana Inn in Big Sur.
Returning to the Monterey Peninsula he worked with Dory Ford as corporate chef de cuisine at Aqua Terra Culinary for seven years, before taking his current position at Rancho Cielo’s Drummond Culinary Academy in Salinas.
As executive chef at Rancho Cielo, Jimenez oversees all the culinary education programs and acts as a mentor to underserved and disconnected youth—helping them find a path to future success. He also is responsible for meals served at special events and helps with fundraising.
In his spare time, Jimenez has been active in the Monterey Bay Chapter of ACF, especially its education and scholarship programs, and he has generously volunteered his time for a variety of causes throughout Monterey County, including United Way, Salinas Rotary, Kinship Center, ASPCA, Meals on Wheels, the Artichoke Festival and the Community Christmas Dinner at the Monterey County Fairgrounds.
The ACF gala dinner honoring Jimenez on May 19 will be prepared by chef Matt Bolton at the InterContinental The Clement in Monterey. Tickets are $145/person and go on sale today. Sponsorships are also available. For more information and tickets visit the website: acfmontereybaychefs.org
Deborah Luhrman is publisher and editor of Edible Monterey Bay. A lifelong journalist, she has reported from around the globe, but now prefers covering our flourishing local food scene and growing her own vegetables in the Santa Cruz Mountains.