Updated: 4:30 p.m. Monday, March 18, 2013 | Posted: 4:29 p.m. Monday, March 18, 2013

Former resident named a culinary star

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Former resident named a culinary star photo
Hamilton High School graduate Raymond Weber (left), who grew up working at his family ’ restaurants in West Chester Twp. and Hamilton, has been named one of the “30 Under 30” culinary stars in Los Angeles. Weber is now the chef de cuisine at Wolfgang Puck at Hotel Bel-Air

By Richard Jones

Staff Writer

Raymond Weber III, who grew up working at his family’s restaurants in West Chester Twp. and Hamilton, has been named one of the “30 Under 30” culinary stars in Los Angeles.

A 2003 graduate of Hamilton High, he also attended Badin High School for two years.

“When I was young, my father owned Beckett Ridge Pizza in West Chester,” he said. “Then we moved and he founded Weber’s Grill” on High Street in Hamilton, which had been the downtown Skyline Chili for many years and is now where Ryan’s Tavern is located.

Weber said he didn’t really like working in the restaurant business when he was young.

“But when I got older, I started liking the lifestyle and the image,” he said. “Now I can’t see myself doing anything else.”

His first job outside the family business was at Kona Bistro in Oxford, where he was the sous chef for a few years, before landing a job with Cincinnati celebrity chef Jean-Robert de Cavel. His five years at Pigall’s was his introduction to fine dining.

When Pigall’s closed after the chef had a falling out with his backers, Weber went to work for the Wolfgang Puck group, first at The Source in Washington, D.C., then to Los Angeles to help open WP 24 at the Ritz Carlton.

He is now the chef de cuisine at Wolfgang Puck at Hotel Bel-Air, where he is in charge of all the food that moves through the hotel, “except for the mini-bar.”

He said that Tim and Nina Zagat, founders of the famed Zagat Restaurant Surveys, are frequent guests at the Hotel Bel-Air and “said a bunch of nice stuff about me” at the awards ceremony held at the Emerson Theatre the last week of February.

The Zagat website lauded him for exploring “the best of our local bounty,” citing dishes like loup de mer with heirloom shelling bean ragout, black trumpet mushrooms, mascarpone and micro arugula.

“Not bad for a guy who grew up working in his family’s diner,” the website said.

Weber said that he’s found a home with Wolfgang Puck, and that he hopes that he’ll be able to help open an international property in Asia or Europe.

So far, his fine dining work with Jean-Robert and Wolfgang Puck has given him well-rounded experience in French, Asian fusion and California Mediterranean cuisine that would serve him well in an international situation.

“If you can go to a place that is not used to a particular kind of cooking style, you can help create a cultural change,” he said. “I want to grow that, to train a staff that maybe doesn’t speak English all that well and leave a trail of talented people behind me.”

 
 

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