Leading a tight-knit family of “vagas” and “vagos” is Chef Claudette Zepeda. Known for her bold, fearless style, Chef Claudette Zepeda is creative visionary behind VAGA, as well as the comprehensive culinary program at Alila Marea Beach Resort Encinitas. Prior to joining the much-anticipated new resort, Zepeda garnered national acclaim for her time as the executive chef and partner behind San Diego’s El Jardín restaurant. Zepeda was named both Eater San Diego and San Diego Union-Tribune’s Chef of the Year in 2018, and was a James Beard Best Chef West semifinalist in 2019. Prior to El Jardín, Zepeda was Chef de Cuisine at Javier Plascencia’s celebrated Bracero restaurant, and competed on Top Chef Season 15 and Top Chef Mexico.
Executive Chef Ananda Bareño’s impressive culinary resume began as a Sous Chef at Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego which eventually led her to become Chef de Cuisine at Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa. Since then, Bareño’s more than 25-year career has taken her around the world including posts in France, Costa Rica, Damascus, Syria, and Amman, Jordan, where she spent several years working as Chef de Cuisine for Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts.