culinary

Meet The Chefs

Meet the Ocean House Chefs

The culinary team at Ocean House is comprised of a group of talented chefs, hailing from all around the country, with a shared goal of achieving excellence and perfecting their craft. Each chef, with his or her own unique background, tells a story through food with an emphasis on local ingredients and seasonality. Click the arrows below to learn more about some of the gifted team members that make dining at Ocean House truly special.

John Kolesar

John Kolesar

Executive Chef

Growing up in Madison, CT, Chef John Kolesar was always close to the kitchen. With his grandmother and grandfather always creating something special for the family to enjoy, Chef John knew at a young age that the culinary field would be his calling.

While attending Johnson & Wales in both Miami and Providence, Chef John was able to refine his culinary skills while developing a love for the business of a kitchen; all of the skills that it takes in addition to cooking to run a successful establishment. From menus, creating unique and special bistro-inspired dishes, costing out recipes and managing a team of professionals, he realized his passion quickly.

Prior to joining the Ocean House team, Chef John worked as Executive Chef for the Rhode Island Center for Performing Arts where he was accountable for food preparation and daily operations for a 1,200-seat theater and 300-seat nightclub. He also worked as the Executive Chef at Chester House Catering and Amalfi Restaurant & Catering.

Appointed as the Executive Chef of Ocean House in December 2011, after serving as Executive Sous Chef since the summer of 2010, Chef John brings more than 10 years of experience at world-class restaurants and catering companies to the hotel.

Chef John is responsible for overseeing all culinary operations for the luxury, beachfront resort, including its five fine and casual dining restaurants. Managing a kitchen of more than five chefs and 40 cooks and employees, Chef John finds being the Executive Chef both challenging and rewarding on a daily basis.

“At the end of the night, when the ovens and gas are turned off and I’m doing my order, I look back on the day,” he says. “All I can do is smile and be thankful – thankful for having the opportunity to lead an extraordinary group of young Chefs that wow hundreds of people each day.”

Awards and Accolades

Voted Caterer of the Year in 2006 by
Rhode Island Hospitality and Tourism.

Personal Insights

Originally from Madison, CT

Jose Pabon

Jose Pabon

Banquet Sous Chef

When you ask Banquet Sous Chef Jose Pabon about food, the first word out of his mouth is “steak.”

“When I think about opening my own restaurant someday, all I think about is steak and sandwiches,” he said. “When I find a good sandwich, it just puts a smile on my face.”

Born in Puerto Rico, Chef Jose first set foot in the United States when he and his parents emigrated from their home country to North Kingstown, Rhode Island. At just 8 years old, he knew next to no English. But, as time progressed, Chef Jose quickly picked up the language and took a job as a dishwasher at the age of 15.

Recounting it now, he said he never had any desire to be a chef. However, after watching the rhythm of the kitchen from day to day, “I guess it kind of intrigued me,” he said.

Prior to joining the Ocean House’s culinary team as a line cook in April 2012, Chef Jose spent eight years as a line cook at Cedars Steakhouse at Foxwoods Resort & Casino. He also worked briefly at Fred & Steve’s Steakhouse in Lincoln, Rhode Island and most recently worked as a line cook at David Burke’s Prime. After working as a full-time grill cook and leader of Ocean House’s Bistro line, he was promoted to Bistro Sous Chef in 2013 and is continuing to look ahead. In 2015, Chef Jose switched gears once again and took on the role of Banquet Sous Chef.

When asked what motivates him most about working at Ocean House, he replied:

“When someone gets a plate from me, I want them to be like, ‘Wow!’ Like I painted a picture on their plate. At the end of the day I not only strive to make our guests happy – I want to wow myself.”

Jacob Jasinski

Jacob Jasinski

Chef de Cuisine

Jacob Jasinski began working in restaurants during his high school years. He spent time in several restaurants in Providence and the surrounding area before traveling West to experience a much different style of cuisine in the Rocky Mountains. Later he ventured to Tucson, Arizona where he worked as a personal chef.

After a year in Arizona, Jacob, eager to learn more, bought a Michelin Guide for France and emailed every Michelin star restaurant until a chef in the Rhone Valley invited him to work and stay for several months at his hotel. He took the money he had saved and traveled abroad, working diligently as a stagiaire at  Domaine de Clairefontaine, and then briefly at Osteria da Fiore in Venice Italy. Jacob took every opportunity to visit markets and other restaurants, hungry to absorb as much of the culture and European standard for food as he possibly could.

After returning to the States, Jacob cooked at The Dining Room at Atlanta’s Ritz-Carlton Buckhead, which, at the time was one of only twelve Five-Star restaurants in the U.S. From there, he accepted a position at Kennebunkport’s White Barn Inn and, a year later, took his first head chef position at a restaurant that had not yet opened in Portland, Maine. At the Salt Exchange Restaurant, he was exposed to an entirely different side of the industry. Here, he not only ran his own kitchen, but also experienced the many challenges of running a business.

With a desire to return to a more refined cooking style, Jacob moved on to Joël Robuchon at The Mansion MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Here he quickly learned and adhered to the standards necessary to manage and succeed in a Three-Star Michelin restaurant.

Back on the east coast, Chef Jacob spent two years at Newport’s Castle Hill Inn, another Relais Châteaux property on Rhode Island’s coast. In Early 2014, Jacob left Castle Hill to join the Ocean House team, assuming the role of Chef de Cuisine in Seasons.

In February 2015, the Seasons restaurant team was awarded their fifth star from Forbes Travel Guide, making Ocean House one of only ten fifteen-star resorts in the world.

“My objective is to create an experience that conveys a sense of place in a classic restaurant setting utilizing all the ingredients the area has to offer at their peak freshness.”

 

William Rietzel

William Rietzel

PM Sous Chef

William’s diverse culinary journey began at a local pizza place in his hometown. Like many other chefs with humble beginnings, he quickly realized that cooking was something he wanted to pursue for the rest of his life. After working his way up through the ranks, he moved on to Bistro 9 in East Greenwich, Rhode Island. William’s hard work didn’t go unnoticed, and after just a short period of time, he was promoted to Sous Chef.

His deep desire to expand his culinary knowledge and finesse brought him to Tucker’s Bistro in Newport, Rhode Island. Once there, he caught a glimpse of classic French fine dining, and fell in love. After only four months in Newport, an opportunity arose to travel overseas and work in Paris. William, wanting to learn as much as possible in a short time, jumped at the offer.

In Paris, William worked with American chef–and dear friend–Kevin O’Donnell at L’Office. The quaint French-American bistro opened his eyes to a different kind of food culture he’d never before seen.

Reluctantly, William returned to Rhode Island where he began working for Newport Restaurant Group at The Mooring, and eventually moving on to Castle Hill Inn, a Forbes Four-Star Hotel in Newport, Rhode Island. Here he met Chef Jacob Jasinksi and instantly fell in love with the slightly more modern fine dining cuisine at Castle Hill. After working along Chef Jacob for six months, William moved on to Boston, once again working in tandem with Chef Kevin O’Donnell, at a Back Bay charcuterie and pizza restaurant called The Salty Pig. He absorbed as much knowledge as he possibly could about the world of charcuterie and refined Italian cuisine before returning to Rhode Island.

In the spring of 2015, William assumed the role of Line Cook at Ocean House. Here, he had continued his international culinary journey, traveling to a Johann Lafer Stromberg, a Relais and Châteaux in Germany, to expand his knowledge of foreign cuisine and culture. Since then, William has quickly moved up the ranks, being promoted to Sous Chef in the summer of 2015, and has played an integral role in advancing the culinary program at the resort.

Oralia Perez

Oralia Perez

Executive Pastry Chef

Chef Oralia Perez developed a passion for art and baking at a young age. Born in Mexico and raised in Orange County, California, she fondly recalls spending hours in the kitchen helping her grandmother prepare baked apples, quince paste and other artfully crafted treats. Therefore, it seems only natural Oralia selected a career field that combined her love of art and baking.

“Becoming a pastry chef allowed me the opportunity to create edible art,” she explains.

Oralia received her Associate of Science in Culinary Arts from the Culinary Institute of Orange County. Prior to joining Ocean House’s talented culinary team in 2016, she worked as Executive Pastry Chef at the SLS Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, where she produced cakes, gelatos, ice creams and other decadent desserts for its extensive collection of restaurants.

A seasoned traveler, Oralia also worked as a pastry chef at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Boston, the Ritz Carlton Beach Resort in Naples, Florida and other prominent hotel and casinos throughout Las Vegas, including Caesars Palace.

Despite her experience working in some of the most famous, bustling cities across the United States, the peaceful village of Watch Hill had one thing those other cities did not ­– a triple five-star Relais & Châteaux resort called Ocean House.

“I came to Westerly, Rhode Island because it’s where Ocean House is located,” she says matter-of-factly. “There is only one Ocean House, and neither Boston nor Las Vegas has it.”

While Oralia enjoys all aspects of pastry making, creating personalized dessert amenities and holiday offerings rank among her favorites.

“I’m excited and looking forward to showcasing my work to all our guests. I’m also very happy to be part of a passionate group of chefs that work together to create amazing food.”

Completed Pastry Seminars

• “Chocolatier Art” with Pastry Chef Ramon Morato
• “The Art of Airbrushing” with Stéphane Tréand, Meilleur Ouvrier de France
• “Tartes, Goûter and Entremets” with Stéphane Glacier, Meilleur Ouvrier de France
• “Innovative Techniques for Entremets and Tarts” with Olivier Bajard, World Pastry Champion and Meilleur Ouvrier de France

Paul McComiskey

Paul McComiskey

Food Forager

Growing up in the small farming community of Colchester, Connecticut, Chef Paul McComiskey developed an interest in cooking at a young age. His culinary career began at the tender age of fourteen when he took a job as a dishwasher at a summer camp and, after showing a keen interest in food, was quickly promoted to Prep Cook. Very early on, Chef Paul came to understand the importance of serving fresh, wholesome food; he recognized how food could not only feed the body but also fuel the soul. This realization kickstarted the pursuit of his culinary dreams, and by the time he was 21 years old, Paul had taken every food-related opportunity that crossed his path, working in diners, pizza kitchens, casinos, fish markets, small cafes and even at a slaughterhouse.

His colorful background earned him his very first position as a Chef, running the kitchen at the Willimantic Brewing Company and Main Street Café. Here, Chef Paul developed strong ties to the community where he worked with local breweries and restaurants to expand a beer dinner program and started a charitable Guest Chef program that benefitted nearby soup kitchens, schools and community organizations.

Paul’s passion for local and seasonal cuisine heightened when he joined the Altnaveigh Inn & Restaurant in Storrs, Connecticut as the Chef de Cuisine. Later, Chef Paul joined Weekapaug Inn as a Sous Chef where, under the expert guidance of Chef Jennifer Backman, Paul learned the art of hospitality and flourished in his role. In March of 2015, Chef Paul journeyed to sister property Ocean House in Watch Hill, Rhode Island to take on a new role as the Food Forager. Having successfully climbed the ranks from home cook to Sous Chef, Paul’s humble beginnings and non-traditional culinary training make him an obvious choice for the role. At Ocean House, Paul is able to create lasting relationships with local purveyors, seek out the freshest local flavors and practice and teach his own food and cooking philosophies.