La Valencia - La Jolla, California, 92037, United States

Meet Our Team

James Montejano - Executive Chef

  • La V Chef James 2

A San Diego native, Chef James studied Classical French Cuisine at the California Culinary Academy and post academy he trained under renowned chef restaurateurs George Morrone and Michael Mina, and was promoted to sous chef within just two years. Chef James then worked with Jeffrey Strauss at Pampelmousse in Solana Beach, which became one of San Diego’s most popular dining destinations. His first Executive Chef position was in La Jolla at Japengo, where he spent three years and became known for his delicate and colorful Asian fusion cuisine. After winning two consecutive annual awards for Best Sushi from the California Restaurant Association, Chef James decided to widen his horizons.

Over the next four years his experience included: heading a casino steakhouse in Valley View, launching Jade Restaurant in downtown San Diego, and introducing a sustainable, organic, farm-to-table menu at La Papagayo in Leucadia. He then grabbed an opportunity he couldn’t resist – working with Michael Mina again as part of the reopening team of his Michelin Star Restaurant in San Francisco. Chef James then came to La V directly from The Trident in Sausalito.

“My mantra has always been that the art of successful cooking doesn't rely just on know-how.” Montejano explains. “It comes from the heart. A good menu should challenge the palate and it needs enthusiasm and a deep love of food to bring it to life."

Teddy Panos - Wine Director

  • Wine Director Teddy Panos

Teddy was born and raised in the greater Chicago area and has been in the hospitality industry for 30 years. Teddy graduated from Kendal College in culinary arts and has worked with some of the country’s leading Executive Chefs. Teddy continued his career on the west coast and discovered his love of wine and spirits. Teddy completed the Court of Master Sommeliers Introductory exam and recently became a Certified Specialist of Wine. Be sure to ask for Teddy during your next dining experience so he can assist you in picking out the perfect wine accompaniment for your meal.

Lisa M. Kennedy - Restaurant Manager (Cafe la Rue)

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With over 25 years in the hospitality industry, Lisa is known for her innovative, creative and aggressive approach to excellence in management. Like many passionate about the industry, Lisa started as a host and worked her way up to serving and bartending. Later, her enthusiasm and drive lead her to oversee 11 restaurants in three different states (Arizona, Nevada, and California) for Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza. In this position she focused on restructuring the front and back of the house while maintaining the quality assurance. After mastering her position with Sammy’s, Lisa landed a role as a Bar Operator during a receivership. Changing the environment and clientele, she helped to bring the venue back to a marketable state. Lisa then became a lead venue broker of San Diego. 

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