Chez TJ is also exceptionally pleased to welcome our chef, Christopher Lemerand. Christopher brings a wealth of experience from some of the most celebrated Michelin-starred kitchens in the United States. After studying at the Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, NY, Christopher launched his culinary career with the famed Besh Restaurant Group in New Orleans, being involved with August, Domenica, and Lüke. From there, Lemerand worked his way to San Francisco, where he was one of only four chefs working alongside Dominique Crenn and her pastry team at Atelier Crenn. In 2012, they brought Atelier Crenn to two Michelin stars, setting the foundation for its historic position as one of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants. Lemerand furthered his culinary growth by working at the lauded one-star SPQR and Michael Mina’s Bourbon Steak at the Westin St. Francis before jumping at the opportunity to work once more with Dominique Crenn at Antoniette in the Claremont Hotel in Berkeley. Gaining a wealth of knowledge during his time there, Lemerand was soon recruited to COI. After being tapped as the restaurant’s only Sous Chef by Executive Chef Matthew Kirkley, they along with Chef de Cuisine Justin Mauz led the team which saw the restaurant elevated from two to three Michelin stars. He then spent the next year traveling and building his knowledge of the supplier side of high-quality ingredients before an old chef-friend reached out to him about an opportunity at Darioush Winery in Napa. After nearly two years of aiding and then managing all culinary programs as the Executive Chef, Lemerand returned to the peninsula in August of 2020 and at the height of the pandemic to head the kitchen of Chez TJ.