Arriving with great fanfare last fall when it became the biggest and most ambitious restaurant yet to touch down in the cozy seaside neighborhood of Bird Rock, Paradisaea is entering its second year of operation with a newly installed executive chef. The 4,500-square-foot La Jolla Boulevard stunner, which was nominated for two Orchids at the San Diego Architectural Foundation’s Orchids & Onions awards and received this year’s Restoration Award from the La Jolla Historical Society’s Jewel Awards, now has Jeff Armstrong leading its kitchen.
Over the past three decades, Armstrong has cooked in New York, Washington D.C, Colorado, and most recently in San Diego where the chef spent the last two years with Urban Kitchen Group (Cucina Urbana) helping to launch the Michelin-recognized Artifact at the Mingei International Museum as well as the Kitchen at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego in La Jolla and Gold Finch Modern Delicatessen in Torrey Pines.
He replaces Mark Welker, who spent more than 10 years with the New York City group behind Eleven Madison Park and NoMad before moving to San Diego to be part of the Bird Rock restaurant’s opening team. Welker shared with Eater that he’ll be taking some time off to travel but is planning to stay in San Diego.
Continuing a farm-to-table commitment established during summers spent at his family’s garden and feed store in North Carolina, Armstrong shared that he’ll be working to retool Paradisaea’s menu, returning to classic cooking techniques and showcasing well-sourced ingredients and sustainable farms.
Joining the chef to help guide the restaurant into its sophomore year is director of operations Patrick Cabido, a Stockholm native who worked at New York City’s Four Seasons Resort and Hotel and Soho House NY before landing in San Diego where his experience includes two years overseeing Herb & Wood. Since 2021, Cabido has been the general manager of Point Loma standout Cesarina.
Owners and longtime La Jollans Eric and Zoe Kleinbub describe the two new hires as part of their “continued quest for perfection”, calling Armstrong and Cabido “the best in the business, who will lead us in our second year, deepening our local roots and cementing us as a culinary powerhouse.”