Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., December 10, 2012 – Terranea Resort names Rebecca Merhej Chef de Cuisine of mar'sel, the resort’s signature restaurant. One of Los Angeles’ top dining destinations, mar’sel features modern interpretations of classic California cuisine served in a picturesque seaside setting at Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes.
“We are delighted to promote Rebecca to Chef de Cuisine,” said Christian Schmidt, director of food and beverage and culinary operations for Terranea Resort. “Her innovation, leadership and expertise is a driving force in the ongoing success of mar’sel. We are confident that her passion and creativity will further enhance the unparalleled food, service, and atmosphere that the restaurant is renowned for.”
At 24 years of age, Merhej is the youngest member of the culinary team to earn the position of Chef de Cuisine. She has been an integral part of the resort since opening and contributed greatly to the development of mar’sel. Prior to joining Terranea Resort as sous chef in 2009, Merhej earned her stripes at Chef Kerry Simon’s celebrated restaurant, Simon LA. Since then she has spent the last three years honing her culinary skills and working alongside award-winning Terranea Resort Executive Sous Chef and mentor Michael Fiorelli and under the tutelage of the highly acclaimed Destination Hotels & Resorts Corporate Executive Chef Christian Schmidt. Merhej earned a degree in culinary arts from the Kitchen Academy in Los Angeles, which is now the Le Cordon Bleu.
Inspired by her family, Merhej was cooking and preparing food at an early age and fondly recalls childhood memories helping her grandmother and father in the kitchen. The family’s Lebanese heritage was evident in the cuisine at mealtime and signified home-cooked comfort. Her background and passion for exploring new cuisine continues to influence her creations in the kitchen.
Now at the helm of mar’sel, Merhej’s dynamic interpretation of a classic, California-inspired menu is enhanced through European and Mediterranean influences. She is committed to utilizing local, seasonal ingredients to develop farm-to-table menu offerings that change daily. Her sophisticated presentations and strict attention to detail deliver innovative cuisine featuring fresh and delectable ingredients. Merhej’s inspiration for cooking is fueled by, “the joy that is felt in creating happiness for others through unique dining experience.” She takes pride in helping to create lasting memories for guests that dine at mar’sel.
In addition to her time spent in the restaurant, Merhej is also committed to supporting and serving the philanthropic and culinary community. mar’sel continues to take part in prestigious food and wine events throughout Southern California and around the country such as the renowned Aspen Food & Wine Festival, Los Angeles Food & Wine, Los Angeles Times ‘The Taste,’ as well as the annual Manhattan Beach Wine Auction and Cart for a Cause, Los Angeles.
Since its inception in 2009, mar’sel has achieved numerous awards and accolades including Best Fine Dining and Romantic Restaurant in the South Bay by Los Angeles Times Reader’s Choice Awards (2012), Best Romantic Rendezvous by South Bay Magazine (2011), Best Special Occasion Restaurant and Wine List by Palos Verdes Patch Reader’s Choice Awards (2012), Best Décor by Zagat Los Angeles Restaurants Survey (2013).
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Terranea’s signature restaurant, mar’sel exudes the warmth and classic elegance of Southern California set against a panoramic ocean backdrop. Inside the dining room, natural woods and rich chocolate undertones complement vivid coral accents and Pacific views to create a relaxed, yet sophisticated atmosphere. The name mar’sel is derived from the Spanish terms for sea, mar, and French for salt, sel – a reflection of its contemporary twist on the California-inspired menu. For an authentic taste of coastal cuisine, guests may dine al fresco on mar’sel’s outdoor terrace amid warm sea breezes. Guests can also linger over an extensive wine and cocktail menu at the upscale bar or stargaze beside the stone fire pit. A private dining room offers an intimate setting for special occasions. The restaurant is renowned for its approachable fine dining menu, casual elegance, distinctive design and magnificent setting. mar’sel is open from 5:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday. For additional information, please visit www.mar-sel.com or call 310.265.2780.
About Terranea Resort
Terranea, Los Angeles’ premier oceanfront resort, is located on California’s Palos Verdes Peninsula. Amid unparalleled Pacific Ocean views, guests enjoy world-class accommodations with 582 rooms that range from hotel suites to bungalows, oceanfront casitas and spacious villas, which are also available for purchase as seaside second homes through Terranea Real Estate. Amenities include The Links at Terranea, a nine-hole par three golf course; award-winning 50,000 sq. ft. oceanfront spa and fitness center; three swimming pools and a 140-foot waterslide; marea luxury boutique; 135,000 sq. ft. of conference and meeting space; and eight dining venues, including signature restaurant mar'sel; Nelson's, a cliff-side spot ideal for whale watching; and Asian-inspired bashi, newly opened June 2012. The resort’s innovative activity center and adventure concierge, Pointe Discovery, lets guests discover and explore Terranea’s rich terrain with miles of scenic coastal trails, secluded beach cove and ocean environment. Fun, enriching programs and activities such as habitat photography, falconry, kayorkle and paddleboarding also abound. Terranea Resort is owned by a joint venture comprised of Lowe Enterprises and JC Resorts and managed by Destination® Hotels & Resorts. For more information, visit www.terranea.com, call 866-802-8000 or follow Terranea on Facebook and Twitter.