A lauded veteran of Patina Restaurant Group (PRG) kitchens, Executive Chef Greg Stillman oversees the sophisticated, yet casual Center 360 and fine dining staple, Leatherby’s Café Rouge, both located at Orange County’s cultural epicenter, Segerstrom Center for the Arts. With a focus on Southern California cuisine, he weaves global influences into his menus, and uses fresh, locally- sourced ingredients.
Formative work experiences with two renowned chefs—PRG Chef and Founder Joachim Splichal and Thomas Keller of The French Laundry—shaped Stillman’s approach to restaurant leadership. Both Splichal and Keller passed on kitchen management techniques, advice to attend to the smallest of details, and more. Stillman now pays it forward by mentoring his own teams, “I strive to impart the skills and insights I’ve learned from these seminal figures,” he explains. This includes his commitment to ensuring each guest is well taken care of, “our jobs are done right when every guest leaves smiling,” says Stillman.
Stillman first garnered interest in the culinary arts while participating in a vocational work-study program at his Maryland high school. This gave him the opportunity to work in some of the best kitchens in his community such as Mealey’s Restaurant and Ceresville Mansion Catering. His growing passion led him to the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY, where he also sharpened his skills in baking and pastry- making. When Stillman graduated in 1997, he cold-called Thomas Keller of the renowned French Laundry for a job—then packed his bags and traveled cross-country to Northern California, to cut his teeth in Keller’s pastry department and then explore the region’s kitchens.
The ambitious chef joined PRG in the late 1990s as a line cook at Pinot Blanc, and worked his way up the ranks to executive chef. Over the years, he served as the executive chef at various PRG concepts, including opening chef at Leatherby’s Café Rouge in 2006, Catal Restaurant, and Naples Ristorante e Pizzeria at Downtown Disney, before leaving the group in 2010 to pursue other ventures. Over the next five years, he would take on culinary leadership at Ponte Winery in Temecula, Rapour in Rancho Cucamonga, and Colony Palms Hotel in Palm Springs. He returned to PRG in 2015 as executive chef of food services at the iconic Hollywood Bowl, and then joined award-winning Patina Catering. In 2016, he returned to helm the kitchen at Leatherby’s Café Rouge as executive chef, just in time for the restaurants 10-year anniversary.
Stillman’s work at Leatherby’s Café Rouge helped solidify PRG as the celebrated food service operator at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts. More than a decade later, he eagerly returns with Leatherby’s Café Rouge and Center 360, rounding out the acclaimed restaurant group’s presence at the Orange County institution.
Outside of the kitchen, Stillman spends his time cycling and with his family, including his wife and their daughter. A passionate BBQ enthusiast, Stillman also enjoys experimenting with new grilling techniques and continuously learning ways to elevate his craft.