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With its plush floral carpeting and crisp gold accents, The Belvedere exudes a classic, refined look, and the chef at this Los Angeles restaurant follows suit with his sophisticated cuisine. When chef James Overbaugh brought his creative, contemporary menu to The Peninsula Beverly Hills’ restaurant in 2008, he had two goals in mind: to honor the existing style of the esteemed hotel and Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star restaurant, and to gradually incorporate a new approach and twist to the menu.
Taking full advantage of California’s continuous growing season, Overbaugh emphasizes farm-fresh produce and flavors from around the world in his cuisine. As the hotel’s executive chef, he oversees a staff of 38 chefs and cooks, and is in charge of the food for not only The Belvedere, but also the Roof Garden, Club Bar and Living Room at The Peninsula. To present the best quality produce and ingredients, this Massachusetts native has worked to develop strong relationships with farmers and artisans in both Southern and Northern California. Overbaugh is also very dedicated to sustainable seafood and produce, a practice he learned growing up on the East Coast, where he saw overfishing result in the collapse of the cod fishing industry.
Overbaugh further credits his appreciation for produce to childhood summers spent helping his grandfather tend a two-acre garden; vegetables were only picked when their cooking water was already boiling, and that idea of exceedingly fresh stuck with Overbaugh. He began working in restaurants at the age of 15 and studied at the Culinary Institute of America. Twenty-eight years later, The Belvedere’s award-winning chef has worked on both the East and West coats, from Massachusetts’ Stonehedge Inn to New Orleans’ Windsor Court Hall to Oakhurst, Calif.’s Château du Sureau.
You can see Overbaugh’s influence throughout the culinary offerings at The Peninsula Beverly Hills. In celebration of the hotel’s 20th anniversary, Overbaugh has taken a good look at menus from the past, and revived dishes such as a truffle-marinated chateaubriand of veal. His fresh California cuisine is ever-present on The Peninsula’s Roof Garden in signature appetizers like a speckled jalapeño margarita or ahi tuna chop-chop with sliced avocado and crisp pineapple. And his Oysters Overbaugh, served with a horseradish-parsnip puree, is a direct salute to his time working in New Orleans. All are a great opportunity to experience Overbaugh’s high-quality, delicious cuisine first-hand.