The Landing Resort & Spa, Lake Tahoe’s first lakeside five-star luxury resort, has hired British celebrity chef Maria Elia to oversee its new Jimmy’s Restaurant, serving wood-fired Greek seafood and locally sourced California cuisine.
Elia is known for her thoroughly modern take on the traditional dishes from her Greek heritage, an approach that served as the basis for her recently published third book, “Smashing Plates: Greek Flavours Redefined” (Kyle Books, September 2013), and will play a key role in the menu at Jimmy’s.
Some of the menu items Elia has planned for Jimmy’s include carrot keftedes with pomegranate skordalia, rabbit and white bean baklava with lemon chard salad, a pulled lamb burger with beetroot tzatziki and a tahini, chocolate and lime cake.
Jim and Nancy Demetriades, The Landing Resort & Spa’s owners, are foodies who undertook a six-month search before settling on Elia as their must-have resort chef.
“We searched far and wide for the chef who would meet our guests’ — and our own — demands,” said Jim. “As Lake Tahoe’s only five-star luxury lakeside hotel, we insisted on exceptional cuisine to pair with Tahoe’s exceptional beauty.
“We were determined to provide our guests with some of the best Mediterranean cuisine in America, and while we were impressed with Maria Elia’s real-world experience as a chef, as well as her philosophies of cuisine and visibility as a food personality, it was her food that ultimately won us over,” Jim said. “We brought her to the U.S. to open our restaurant at The Landing because we think she ranks as one of the top Greek chefs in the world and the best in the country.”
Inspired by her father’s Cypriot restaurant, Elia knew she wanted to be a chef at the tender age of 4. She went on to work in the kitchens of renowned chefs including Stephen Terry at Coast in London, and in Spain with Ferran Adrià at El Bullis, and Juan Mari Arzak in San Sebastian, leading to her first head chef position at Delfina in London.
Ten years later, she set up the dining room at the Whitechapel Gallery, garnering rave reviews, two British Automobile Association AA Rosettes and a Michelin recommendation. During her time as the executive chef of JOE’S in London’s South Kensington, Elia continued to whip up imaginative and eclectic creations.
Chef Elia’s deceptively simple multilayered dishes, influenced by cuisine from the Orient to the Occident, have won her many accolades.
In her bestselling debut cookbook, “The Modern Vegetarian,” published in 2009, Elia coaxed readers to wake their palates with unique flavor combinations.
Her Gourmand Award-winning second title, “Full of Flavour,” published in 2011 by Kyle Books, developed themes from her first book.
In addition to her popular cookbooks, Elia has appeared on numerous television programs, including “Saturday Kitchen,” “Market Kitchen” and the “Perfect” series in Great Britain, and has contributed to a wide variety of publications from the Guardian to BBC Good Food, Waitrose, Red, Delicious and Olive magazines. In 2008, she was hailed by The Independent as one of 10 female chefs to watch.
Elia also shares her philosophy through teaching. She has taught at Divertimenti, Thyme and Demuth cooking schools and has worked with Marks & Spencer, Coop, Tesco and Waitrose in London, leading and organizing inspirational workshops. Additional development work includes collaborating with Schwartz McCormick in 2012 to launch its Global Flavor Forecast.
A supporter of the Meat Free Monday campaign, Elia has participated in their schools program to help encourage children to enjoy a diverse and balanced diet, including less meat and more vegetables.
She also is a Green Cook Food Waste Ambassador, working with Ethical Eats to reduce food waste in the retail, catering and domestic sectors.
Chef Elia’s third book was published in September 2013. A collection of recipes inspired by her Greek heritage, Elia’s “Smashing Plates” brings the traditional ingredients of Greece into the 21st century.
“Eating well feeds the soul. And without a doubt, with this book, Maria shows us the magic of cooking,” said Ferran Adrià of El Bulli about “Smashing Plates.”
The new home to Elia’s cuisine, Jimmy’s Restaurant at The Landing includes private dining alcoves with fireplaces for a luxuriously intimate experience and fire pits on an outdoor lake-view patio, as well as a glass-enclosed wine cellar featuring a special selection of 250 labels from around the world and a backlit onyx-walled bar.
The Landing Resort & Spa opened its doors Dec. 12 to travelers looking for an ultra-luxe experience that embraces an intimate connection with the lake, from lake-view rooms, decks and patios, to private beach access for guests.
The new resort on the shores of Lake Tahoe offers 88 guest rooms with fireplaces, decks and a long list of five-star amenities, as well as Jimmy’s Restaurant, a full-service spa, conference center and the highest standard of personalized service.
Owners Jim and Nancy Demetriades have designed The Landing Resort & Spa as a five-star property down to the last detail determined to exceed even the most exacting guests’ expectations.
The Landing Resort & Spa is located adjacent to Lake Tahoe’s Lakeside Beach.
For additional information and reservations contact 855-700-5263 or visit thelandingresortandspa.com.