Marissa Gerlach is the new restaurant chef for Raya at the Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel, according to a news release.
Raya is Chef Richard Sandoval's concept that showcases Pan-Latin coastal cuisine prepared with sustainable seafood, local produce, natural and organic meats, and Sandoval's signature Latin flavors, according to the release.
With more than seven years of culinary experience, Gerlach is passionate about the food she serves her guests.
"Every product we use has a history, a story behind it. For instance, AquaFarm is a small local sustainable seafood farm in Southern California," Gerlach said in a statement. "I visited the facility where I learned so much about how using locally grown seafood not only offers the guests a much tastier product, but it helps lessen our carbon footprint. It's this type of experience that brings a story to the food we create and enjoy."
She joined the resort in April 2010 as a culinary supervisor on Raya's pre-opening team. Within six months, Gerlach was promoted to sous chef where she continued to influence and contribute to the creation of the daily and seasonal menus, according to the release. She also played a pivotal roll in RAYA being recognized as Restaurant of the Year by Riviera Orange County in July 2011.
She has worked at Studio at Montage Laguna Beach under Chef James Boyce; Bardessono in Yountville; the Restaurant at Meadowood in Napa Valley under Chef Christopher Kostow; and Cyrus in Healdsburg under Chef Douglas Keane.
Native to Dana Point, Gerlach completed her culinary arts certification at Orange Coast College.