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.