Michael Fiorelli

How fortunate to be the chef of Mar'sel, a gorgeous restaurant perched upon a bluff overlooking the magnificent Pacific Ocean. It's as if Chef Michael Fiorelli was handed the keys to a Ferrari Testarossa. It's all about faith and trust, and the New York-born chef has proven he's worthy of such a gift. As the chef de cuisine of the signature restaurant at the Terranea Resort & Spa, he's exhilarating diners with modern interpretations of classic California cuisine.

Fiorelli is taking full advantage of the bounty outside his Rancho Palos Verdes, CA, door, and he's demonstrating the restraint of a mature chef who lets perfect ingredients speak for themselves. Consider a crudo of Pacific hirmasa that's merely kissed with California olive oil, Fresno chili and four salts, or day-boat Santa Barbara spot prawns with whole wheat couscous, feta cheese and Cerignola olives.

As you might guess, Fiorelli didn't just show up on the doorstep of the Pacific without a seasoned resume. He's cooked in some of the nation's best kitchens, including the legendary Susanna Foo in Philadelphia, the Greenbrier Resort, the Little Nell in Aspen and The Inn at Little Washington. He's also cooked for Mark Milittello at Mark's at the Park, where he was named a “South Florida Rising Star Chef.” Fiorelli also served as executive chef of Darden's highly regarded Seasons 52, where everything on the menu is 475 calories or less. He found his way to California when celebrity chef Kerry Simon asked him to head his kitchen at Simon LA.

Now at Mar'sel, he is king of a hill that overlooks the Pacific Ocean. And life is good, particularly for guests who dine on Fiorelli's cuisine, which is as thrilling as the view.