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'Top Chef' Alum to Helm New Restaurant Project in Little Italy

San Diego native Giselle Wellman returns for Pacific Standard

The bustling dining scene in Little Italy is welcoming another 'Top Chef' alum to the celebrity chef-packed neighborhood. Giselle Wellman, who competed on the most recent season of the Bravo TV show, is a San Diego native who worked at Jack's La Jolla before embarking on a career that has thus far included cooking at properties run by internationally acclaimed chefs, including Thomas Keller, Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Mario Batali; in 2010, at age 26, she became the youngest executive chef in Los Angeles when she joined Petrossian restaurant.

Wellman will lead the kitchen at Little Italy's Pacific Standard - Coastal Kitchen, which is the first restaurant partnership between Southern California-based hotelier T2 Development and New School Restaurant Consulting (LA's Salt Air, A-Frame). Set to open in July and located at Pacific Highway and Hawthorn Street, Pacific Standard is connected to the new Hilton San Diego Bayside Campus but will operate as a stand-alone restaurant; the complex stands on the former site of Fat City and China Camp, two landmark local restaurants.

The exterior will retain its Art Deco design and include two bay-view patios while the coastal-inspired menu will be influenced by Little Italy's founding fishing community; Wellman plans to utilize local purveyors as much as possible — her Instagram account shows a recent visit to Prager Brothers Bakery.

New School is bringing two members of their team, cocktail pro Dino Balocchi (Chicago's Longman & Eagle, Dirty Laundry in Los Angeles) and sommelier Hayden Felice (Craft in NYC, LA's Trois Mec) to build a drink selection that will range from pre-dinner aperitifs, brunch sippers and punch bowls to local craft beer and an all West Coast wine list.

Pacific Standard

2137 Pacific Hwy, San Diego, CA 92101, USA