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Chef Cliff Pleau

Culinary Innovator

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  • Instagram @chefcliffpleau

Highlights:

  • Culinary Innovator, Concept Developer and Executive Partner of Shaping America's Plate, Inc.

  • Co-creator and Executive Chef of Darden's Season’s 52 and Walt Disney World's California Grill concepts.

  • Former VP of Culinary R&D for Bloomin Brands Inc., leading menu innovation for 3 brands.

  • Culinary Imagineer for 65 concepts of the Euro Disney project, including Opening Leader, Developer, and Executive Chef.

  • Graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and recipient of prestigious Augie Award. 

 

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Biography

Career Highlights

Chef Clifford Pleau, a food visionary, has been creatively influencing the culinary culture of renowned restaurants and upscale hotels worldwide since the 1980s. Upon graduating from the Culinary Institute of America, Chef Cliff pursued culinary apprenticeships & hospitality experiences that built his solid foundation and keen knack for creating & evolving restaurant concepts such as Seasons 52, Walt Disney World’s California Grill, and was a culinary imagineer for the 65 concepts of the Euro Disney project. His experience is grounded in 5-star, fine dining with the Ritz-Carlton, SBM Hotels in Monte Carlo, Boca Raton Resort and Club, and Regent International Hotels. Curiosity lured Chef Pleau to California as Chef at the Claremont Resort & Spa and later, the famed “Farm to Table” restaurant, The Lark Creek Inn.


Chef Cliff has true passion to deliver fresh flavors with “better-for-you ingredients,” applying thoughtful technique to develop intriguing yet comprehensive creations. He believes a great restaurant is all about “fewer, bigger, better, bolder” items with flavor-forward cooking, consistent execution, and over the top team engagement & guest hospitality. 
 

Initiatives spearheaded by Chef Cliff have been published by numerous media outlets including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Esquire Magazine, and USA Today, among others. Accolades include “Rising Stars” by Food & Wine Magazine and Wine Spectator, “Menu Masters Chef Innovator of the Year,” by Nation’s Restaurant News, and the Culinary Institute of America’s famed “Augie Award.”

Cliff in Action

Seasons 52, Darden Restaurants

CONCEPT CO-CREATOR / VICE PRESIDENT, CULINARY DEVELOPMENT
 

Designed and developed cutting edge chef and ingredient driven culinary concept, from inception through expansion to 42 restaurants nationwide. Established casually elegant and approachable health and wellness as a dining category and platform.

Bloomin Brands, Inc.

VICE PRESIDENT, CULINARY RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT 

 

Led culinary and brand innovation for 3 brands with responsibilities including menu quality and innovation, product and process development, supply chain efficiencies, team building and culture keeping.

California Grill, Disney World

​CONCEPT CO-CREATOR / EXECUTIVE CHEF

Concept design and development for market-inspired California cuisine with an on-stage kitchen, ushering in chef- driven restaurants with an elevated level of guest experience – positioning Walt Disney World as a dining destination.

Lark Creek Inn, Larkspur, CA

EXECUTIVE CHEF

Award-winning American restaurant at forefront of “Farm to Table” market-driven cuisine built on local, seasonal, organic ingredients, and scratch cooking.

Disneyland Paris Resorts, France

OPENING LEADERSHIP AND DEVELOPMENT TEAM, EXECUTIVE CHEF

Test Kitchen, 5 resorts, 65 themed restaurant concepts, global recruiting. International project from design and development through opening and operating.

Mayfair Regent Hotel, Chicago

EXECUTIVE CHEF

190-room boutique hotel with Le Ciel Blue and Mayfair Lounge. “Rising Star” 1991, Food and Wine Magazine

Boca Raton Resort & Club, FL

EXECUTIVE CHEF

190-room boutique hotel with Le Ciel Blue and Mayfair Lounge. “Rising Star” 1991, Food and Wine Magazine

Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Boston, MA

SAUCIER, BRIGADE, ALL STATIONS


240-room ultra-luxury hotel, classical cooking, legendary service