The recent renovation of Tom Ham’s Lighthouse would not have been complete without a redesigned menu crafted by new Executive Chef Lance Repp.
Fig and Burrata Salad (Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)
Previously the executive chef of the historic four-diamond La Valencia Hotel, Chef Repp now aims to delight guests at Tom Ham’s Lighthouse with the freshest seafood and ocean-inspired dishes. He explained, “The goal was to reflect the beauty of the restaurant’s Harbor Island location in our cuisine.” The new lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch menus include Mediterranean-style seafood dishes with contemporary twists. Chef Repp’s creations include Fig and Burrata Salad, Grilled Lobster, Ahi Crudo and Jidori Half Brick Chicken.
The new head of the Tom Ham’s Lighthouse kitchen ensures a perfect dining experience for guests, as they enjoy newly expanded views of the San Diego Bay and city skyline. “I love that Tom Ham’s Lighthouse is family-owned and that the Baumanns are dedicated to carrying on the legacy of Tom Ham,” said Chef Repp. “Of course, there is the best view of downtown and the bay from our restaurant. During the day there are a variety of ships and sailboats, and at night the lights of downtown are amazing.” Chef Repp also oversees the restaurant’s popular wedding, banquet and event menus.
Octopus (Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)
With a new menu based heavily on seafood with Mediterranean influences, there are other options, including dry-aged steaks, pork belly and duck. “We use as much local produce and sustainable seafood as we can, including local fishing boats for our day-boat dishes. Almost everything is made in house.” explains Chef Repp. “We also have 32 taps on hand, as we are constantly rotating through local craft brews.”
When it comes to cooking healthy meals, Chef Repp advises the home cook to use fresh ingredients. “Using minimal ingredients such as a simple grilled cauliflower with olive oil and light salt and pepper can offer great flavor. More importantly, watch portion sizes by eating or sharing a few different things instead of one large entrée.” Chef Repp also suggests eating more fish and stay away from fried foods.
One “sinful food” Chef Repp enjoys in moderation is pizza! “Pizza is definitely a weakness for me. And of course Foie Gras when traveling!”
Ahi Crudo (Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)
Chef Repp has worked in restaurants and resorts across Southern California, bringing the experience required to undergo such a major restaurant transformation. Before Tom Ham’s Lighthouse, Chef Repp worked alongside restaurant consultant and two-star Michelin Chef Jason McCleod to rework the extensive menu of the Mediterranean Room at La Valencia Hotel.
He has also served as the executive sous chef of La Valencia Hotel Auberge Resorts, where he helped manage the kitchens of three restaurants and oversaw menu planning. His work at La Valencia Hotel landed him into the San Diego Chef Hall of Fame in 2009 and 2012. He has been the executive sous chef of the Rancho Valencia Resort and Spa and the chef de cuisine at Fairbanks Ranch Country Club. Prior to coming to California, Repp worked as the banquet chef of Rocky Fork Hunt and Country Club in Ohio.
Jidori Half Brick Chicken with Wild Mushroom Risotto (Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)
The Ohio native began his culinary career by earning a degree in applied sciences from Columbus State Community College after completing a three year American Culinary Federation apprenticeship program under Chef James Decker, CEC, ACC, at the Lakes Golf and Country Club in Ohio, where he was later made sous chef.
“I completed 3,600 hours of on-the-job training,” Chef Repp said. “During the apprenticeship, I also assisted Decker on the 2004 U.S. Olympic Culinary Team, which won gold medals in Germany.” In addition, Repp holds a degree in business management from Kent State University.
Chef Repp enjoys giving back to the community and has participated in multiple charity events, including the San Diego Food and Wine Celebration, San Diego Triathlon Challenge by the Challenged Athletes Foundation, Taste of La Jolla and Mama’s Day at Mama’s Kitchen.
During his (infrequent) down time, Chef Repp relaxes by spending days with his Great Dane Cholula at his home in Crowne Point.