About Chef Craig Connole

Named as Best Chef in Orange County in March 2010, Chef Craig Connole is hailed for his creative approach to cuisine. Born and raised in Newport Beach, Chef Craig started his career at the infamous Gina's Pizza in Corona del Mar in the 1980s. After making his name around southern California with flavorful stints at the Four Seasons, Meriden, and Windows on the Bay in Newport Beach, he had six successful years at the Ritz Carlton Kapalua and spent some time in the modernday restaurant Mecca—Las Vegas. He returned to his roots when the owners of La Casa del Camino lured him back to Laguna with an invitation to reinvent the restaurant at their hotel. Known for his droll sarcasm and forward-thinking approach, Connole shifted the direction of K'ya in January 2009, morphing the Cal Asian menu to old school French Italian Bistro and deconstructed the traditional three-component meal way of thinking by creating a myriad of small plates. The success of K'ya has propelled him into exploring his newest venture of House of BIG FISH and Ice Cold Beer where once again, his creative prowess proved to produce yet another popular location. Connole has been kicking it in Laguna Beach for the past 5 years, at ease with his laid back beach lifestyle. And when he's not cooking, the California surfer at heart has been known to hit the waves before he hits the kitchen. Life is good.

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