A mid-westerner born and bred, Gregg Wangard was inspired to cook by endless hours in the kitchen with his Ukrainian Grandmother. Imbued with his grandmother’s passion for cooking, Gregg decided to pursue a career in cooking and hospitality. From her, he learned the basic fundamentals of layering flavors and understanding balance. He continues with the mantra to keep food simple, straight forward and cook with products that are grown or made close to where you live.
He began to cook professionally at the age of 15 in a small town diner and then was accepted into the prestigious American Culinary Federation accredited apprenticeship program at the AAA 5 diamond and Mobil 4 star resort called The American Club in Kohler, Wisconsin. It was here that he mastered the foundation of French cooking technique with hands on approach. He spent endless hours working overtime at all of the outlets in the resort such as the renowned PGA Golf Course Whistling Straits restaurant, Black Wolf Run, high volume banquet preparation and execution and fine dining at The Immigrant Room. During the winter, he would travel to the Island of St. John in the Caribbean to continue is education at the prestigious Caneel Bay Resort. As a Chef de Partie he had opportunity to create and cook cuisines highlighting Asian, Caribbean, Mediterranean and European cuisine. He was mentored by Chef Hans Schadler an American Culinary Federation Certified Executive Chef and American Academy of Chefs.
As Gregg continued his education the door opened with opportunities. He became the Chef de Cuisine at Cucina Bistro one of the American Club Restaurants and then was asked to be the Chef de Cuisine at the award winning 4 star, 4 diamond American Club Restaurant The Immigrant Room. He quickly inspired his staff to assist him to execute menus that were inspired by the local produce and products he could find like morel mushrooms, wild onions and artisan cheeses. He created a serviced cheese locker with interactive menu housing over 30 local cheeses. He would share stories with the staff and guests the cheese makers, their farm and the milk it was made from. Gregg is also an Ambassador for the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board. Santa Monica, California was his next big move and his wife, Kelly a co-conspirator of the culinary arts helped make the transition seamless since California is her home state. He took lead of the Ocean and Vine Restaurant at the Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel. He was then promoted to the Executive Chef managing a 12 million dollar food and beverage operation. He quickly gained national attention for his farm to table inspired cuisine and was Award Rising Star Los Angeles by Star Chefs International. He worked with high end publications such as Elle and Gourmet Magazine. He also filmed a cooking show on Canada’s Fine Living Network. Gregg and his wife began their family and had their heart set on a slower pace of life.
Gregg was offered the Chef de Cuisine at the Cliff’s Resort in Shell Beach, California. He again explored the central coast for artisan products and produce. He has developed relationships with over 30 resources on the central coast. He continues to promote these vendors on his menus and has done weekly television appearances on the local news KCOY to help with awareness of the great product that is grown locally. He was then promoted to Corporate Chef of Boutique Hotel Collection overseeing 4 Executive Chefs and managing the restaurants garden that supplies all the restaurants with their own produce. He has daily visits of local fisherman and ranchers that show him the freshest product.
Gregg’s other passion is to share what he has learned throughout his culinary career. His children attend Georgia Brown Elementary School in Paso Robles, a dual-language immersion magnet school. He leads a team of parent volunteers weekly. He reaches out for donations from the local community and teaches the children how to grow produce, how to harvest and how to prepare. He also commits to the annual Nutrition Month and cooks a nutritious lunch for the 550 students. In addition, he leads a cooking demonstration and all the students receive a take home gift of ingredients with a recipe to cook with their families. He hopes to expand this program and help develop it throughout the community.
Gregg and Kelly live in Paso Robles, California with their daughter Elle, 8 and son M