Executive Chef-Partner Tony Baker
Tony Baker, Executive Chef and Partner at Montrio Bistro, was in the Boy Scouts as a lad, and he still possesses the youthful, athletic looks, charm, and wit of the quintessential all-American boy. The funny thing is, Tony grew up in Bristol, England. And in decidedly English fashion, Chef Baker made a beeline for his trade. As he explains it, In England, you pretty much know what you are going to do in life by the time you are 16, and it was clear to me I was going to be a cook.
Clarity of purpose, a strong work ethic, high standards, and perseverance are hallmarks of Chef Bakers attitude and career path. At 14 he was running the food operation at the Steam Tavern in Bristol; at 17 he was attending culinary school 1012 hours a day while working a part-time job. By 18, an age when most Americans are preoccupied with the color of their cell phones, and the word career is a concept rather than a way of life, Chef Baker had finished culinary school and was ensconced in his first real cooking job. I was a commis-chefa tater peelerin a London restaurant.
Chef Bakers youthful clairvoyance guided him from one restaurant to another, usually for yearlong stints, until he had absorbed everything each particular chef he worked under had to offer. Then fate intervened: Ten years ago he and his girlfriend planned a trip to the States, and their plane tickets were in hand when the relationship fell apart. He took a flyer and used his ticket to get to California to see one of his uncles, who happened to live in Carmel Valley. Chef Baker has never looked back.
Today, he lives with his wife, Tara, a horse trainer, and their two daughters on a 40-acre ranch in Corral de Tierra. The thought of making a professional move away from the area occasionally crosses his mind, but then he thinks, Hey, what for? How could it get any better than this?