Deborah Schneider

Deborah Schneider

Deborah Schneider (chefdebcooks.com) is co-author of the James Beard-nominated Cooking with the Seasons at Rancho La Puerta, co-authored with Ranch founder Deborah Szekely. She is also the author of ¡Baja! Cooking on the Edge, a celebration of the food and wine country of the northern Baja region: Williams-Sonoma’s Essentials of Latin Cooking and her latest, Amor y Tacos, which celebrates fresh Mexican food and margaritas. Her interests include the traditional and natural foodways of Mexico, with an eye towards fresh and healthful preparation. Deborah has cooked professionally since 1980, and is an ACF Certified Executive Chef. Her cooking style is informed by her frequent travels in Baja California, her obsessive reading of anything culinary, and an early grounding in classic French technique. Deborah is currently Executive Chef/Partner of SOL Cocina (solcocina.com) Newport Beach, overlooking Newport Marina. SOL was chosen one of Orange Country’s Best Restaurants of 2010 by Orange Coast Magazine. SOL Cocina’s open-kitchen menu is noted for fresh, high-quality Mexican food, ideas gleaned from her Baja experiences and writings. She teaches a Food Writing class for the University of California at San Diego, and teaches at Rancho La Puerta's La Cocina Que Canta culinary school, set in the middle of a beautiful garden that is every chef’s dream. Her informal hands-on classes are high-energy and fun for everyone, regardless of skill level. Rancho La Puerta Fitness Resort (rancholapuerta.com) was chosen as the world's #1 Spa for 2010 by Travle & Leisure Magazine. Deborah was a specialty magazine editor (with diverse clients such as the Canadian Opera Company and Toronto Blue Jays) when she got the travel bug and took off to Europe with a hot boyfriend and a motorcycle, both long gone. Travels through Spain, France, North Africa, Italy and Greece led finally to her first cooking jobs, working on large private yachts in the Greek Islands and Caribbean. She arrived in San Diego in 1983 and talked her way into her first restaurant position with Piret’s Restaurant, quickly working her way up to Executive Chef positions with La Gran Tapa (southern California’s first tapas bar,) Dobson’s Restaurant (a longtime Zagat favorite,) and the tony Grant Grill, where she was the first woman to hold the Executive Chef position in an establishment that prohibited women customers for many years. When she joined the four-star Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines in 1998, Deborah became Hilton Hotel’s first-ever female Executive Chef , a position she held until 2004, when she joined Kimpton Hotels to open the Hotel Solamar and Jsix Restaurant in San Diego’s fashionable Gaslamp District. From 2006 through 2008 Deborah oversaw food services for the Del Mar Thoroughbred Meet, serving 5000 guests daily during the race meet in 7 restaurants with over 200 employees. She has catered events for as many as 10,000 guests. Deborah is married to a San Diego surfer and is the mother of 2 teenagers, both of whom can cook.