“Guests can always taste the difference,” says Kelly, who insists on only using fruit and vegetables in season. Kelly might be preparing breakfast for 400 guests, or making dinner for just one couple on their 50th wedding anniversary. No matter what, “I like cooking with food that’s versatile,” says Kelly.
Kelly’s first job as a culinary creator began in Carlsbad, CA at the Twin Inns restaurant where he worked his way up to Sous Chef.
Following stints in San Diego as Chef with Ruben’s in San Diego, Ruben E. Lee riverboat as Executive Sous Chef, and Kitchen Manager at RJ’s For Ribs, Kelly got the opportunity to open a new restaurant as Chef at The Waterfront Hilton in Huntington Beach, CA.
While working nights there, Kelly took a day job as a prep cook at Hornblower Cruises & Events in Newport Beach. Two years later, in 1995, he left Hilton and joined Hornblower Cruises & Events full time as Sous Chef. One year later, Kelly was appointed Executive Chef for Hornblower’s Greater Los Angeles area, a position he still holds today.
What’s Chef Kelly’s favorite food item to cook?
“Cauliflower. Because it’s so versatile,” he states without hesitation.
While he admits his favorite dish to eat is barbeque ribs, his favorite meal to prepare is Macadamia Nut Halibut. For the record- peaches are his favorite fruit, and basil is his favorite herb.
So, what is his finest culinary achievement to date?
“Building a team and keeping everyone energized…maintaining integrity and staying focused,” says Chef Kelly.” It’s all about creating amazing experiences!”