Lively and sophisticated with a dash of daring, AVANT focuses on unpretentious, approachable cuisine with homegrown culinary touches paired with handcrafted classic cocktails, local craft beer, and limited production wines from around the world.
AVANT draws on the best of wine country dining – inspired culinary exploration, leisurely socializing, and the freshest of seasonal ingredients – and moves it forward with a contemporary California mindset. Our culinary team serves vibrant, creative dishes and artisan libations that embrace items foraged, farmed, hunted, and fished. With an inviting setting defined by indoor/outdoor design, dynamic spaces, and social settings, AVANT is a San Diego dining experience you don't want to miss.
AVANT Kitchen, a private demonstration kitchen, offers small groups of up to 12 direct access to AVANT’s chefs, their secrets to spectacular results, as well as private events in the intimate space.
CHEF TRAVIS WATSON - EXECUTIVE CHEF OF OUTLETS, RANCHO BERNARDO INN, SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA
Chef Watson's friends and co-workers describe him as "hardworking, driven and dedicated" and accurately so. After moving to Arizona from his native Watts, California when he was 14, Watson worked two jobs through high school so that he could attend Scottsdale Culinary Institute. Upon graduation, he did an impressive externship under Chef Jacques Paccard in Paris.
Upon his return to the States, enrolled in the University of Arizona in Tucson. Bit by the travel bug, he spent summers and the years after graduation traveling, working and learning in cities like Seattle, Los Angeles and Denver and countries such as Japan, France, Italy and Mozambique. He was fortunate enough to work at some of the finest hotels across the world.
In 1999, Watson settled back in Arizona, working for Fox Restaurant Concepts as Corporate Pastry Chef where he was responsible for opening 27 restaurants across the country over the next eight years. He left Fox to take over the helm as Executive Chef of Avalon, an independent restaurant focused on organic produce and sustainable practices in Scottsdale. In just a year's time, Chef Watson and his team at Avalon were named "Best New Restaurant" and "Best New Chef." From there Chef Travis worked at the Royal Palms Resort and Spa, the Ojai Valley Inn and Spa, the Stanley Hotel and he has taken the roll of Executive Chef of Outlets and the Rancho Bernardo Inn.
Now at the RBI, he is excited to be a part of a dynamic team that focuses on seasonal, sustainable food that is just as beautiful as it is delicious.
JOE BAUMGARDNER – SOMMELIER, RANCHO BERNARDO INN, SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA
Our Sommelier & Cellar Master at Rancho Bernardo Inn has been bringing new wines and exciting pairings to the table at AVANT since October, 2015. Joe’s interest in wine was sparked by his father who collected wines in the 60s and 70s (and lucky for Joe, he was able to learn about these wines by dipping into the family cellar when his father wasn’t looking).
Working in restaurants since the age of 15, it became apparent that Joe’s passion was strong enough that he should pursue a career in wine. He achieved the Sommelier Diploma from the International Sommelier Guild in 2008. While studying for his diploma, Joe also caught the traveling bug by hopping a train from San Diego all the way up the coast to Canada, where he tasted and learned about wines from the soil to the glass.
Ultimately, San Diego has captured Joe’s heart, and he’s proud to call the city home, where he’s shared his knowledge and love of wine as a sommelier for small neighborhood restaurants and large resorts alike. Starting his sommelier career at Kensington Grill and CUCINA urbana with San Diego’s Urban Kitchen Group, he went on to work as the sommelier for the world famous Hotel Del Coronado and La Costa Resort.
Now sharing his expertise at AVANT, Joe works closely with our chefs to create fun, interactive and most importantly, delicious wine events for our guests and local community.