Like many chefs, Christie Tenaud showed signs very early in life that she was headed for a career in hospitality. Her mother, Susana, recounts that at the age of six, before allowing family members to eat, Christie would “take their order” for the meal. By the age of eight, to help her mom after a long day at work and despite her mom’s protestations that she was too young, she started preparing dinners for the family.
At 18, when she was attending Valencia Community College and toying with the idea of majoring in hospitality management, Christie was hired by Giordano’s Famous Stuffed Pizza as a hostess. She enjoyed getting dressed up and greeting the guests, but more and more she found herself drawn to the activities in the back of the house. Whenever the kitchen would get behind in putting out the pizzas, she would offer herself up to help. She soon realized that she really loved being back there in the kitchen, in the fray, creating delicious order out of chaos. When she had electives to sign up for at college, she began taking classes in culinary arts.
In 2002, Christie joined the Marriott Vacation Club selling timeshares. She was good at it, so it wasn’t until 2004, when she moved to JW Marriott Grande Lakes, that she decided to follow her heart and take a job in the kitchen. She was such a natural that, despite working alone in the “cold box”, serving up hundreds of meals a day to guests, she caught the eye of James Beard award-winning chef Melissa Kelly, who hired her to work for Primo and introduced her to the world of fine dining. Christie rapidly moved from pantry cook to Kitchen Supervisor under the tutelage of Melissa and Kathleen Blake (now owner/chef of highly regarded The Rusty Spoon in Orlando, Florida), ultimately being asked by Melissa to take over their Arizona location as Chef de Cuisine. After almost three years in Arizona, Christie felt it was time to expand her repertoire and she applied for the job of Sous Chef at the Essex House in NYC, a newly acquired JW Marriott property.
When Michela Larson was looking for a chef for her newly created “the blue” at The Boca Raton Resort & Club, Kathleen Blake introduced Christie to Michela knowing that Christie was ready for her next challenge. Christie arrived in November, 2013, ready to go. What she created is a menu that surprises, dazzles and ensures a lasting memory.