Two women executive chefs have recently taken the helm at La Jolla restaurants just a mile apart. Here’s a look at the city’s newest culinary leading ladies.
Restaurant: Cusp Dining + Drinks
Home: Carmel Valley
Roots: Born in El Salvador, Chef Funes comes from a long line of cooks. Her mother ran a small restaurant where she taught her daughter a sense of pride and passion for cooking. She moved to the U.S. when she was 15 and relocated to San Diego in 2014 to marry her husband, Robert Shelton, who’s in the Navy.
Culinary history: Her culinary education began at the Beverly Hills Hotel, where chefs Alex Chen and Dan Olsen took her under their wing. It was there where her mentors had her cook for an unidentified VIP. It turned out to be super-chef Thomas Keller, who loved the meal. She later worked at Bistro Parc in Hawaii, then moved to San Diego, where she’s worked at Ironside Fish & Oyster in Little Italy and the L’Auberge Resort in Del Mar. She was named executive chef at Cusp last June.
Cooking style: Funes describes her cooking style as “simple.” She prepares menus that focus on bringing out the true flavors of each individual ingredient in the dish, and she uses the best possible ingredients.
Signature dish: Hard to pick only one, but she likes the black sesame seed-crusted ono with soba noodles, baby bok choy and miso broth.
Cusp Dining + Drinks, Hotel La Jolla, 7955 La Jolla Shores Drive. 858.551.3620. cusprestaurant.com
Home: Ocean Beach
Roots: Chef Glessner grew up in Kauai where her passion for cooking was inspired by her mom, who made wedding cakes. In college, she studied nutrition, then found her passion when she switched to culinary school.
Culinary history: Glessner started with an internship at Pacifica Del Mar, that turned into a yearlong stay. After a memorable family meal, she applied to work at Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion restaurants and worked her way up from line cook to executive chef in seven years. She joined Herringbone in September 2016. The restaurant had an electrical fire in March and was closed for a month, during which Glessner said she had the opportunity to develop many new dishes for the summer menu.
Cooking style: “I don’t have a Hawaiian or Italian or any specific type of cooking. I love all cuisines. My food is pretty simple and I cook what’s fresh.”
Signature dish: Pan-seared Alaskan halibut with gnocchi, Parma ham, Brussels sprout leaves and lemon sherry vinaigrette.