International Smoke Appoints New Executive Chef

James Montejano (courtesy photo)

International Smoke appoints new executive chef at Michael Mina and Ayesha Curry’s acclaimed restaurant in Del Mar, beginning June 14, 2021.

MINA Group—the celebrated hospitality heavyweight behind a vast portfolio of celebrated fine dining and casual concepts across the country and Dubai—welcomes James Montejano’s creativity and personality to influence their Del Mar restaurant and its menu of woodfired steaks, seafood, ribs, and vegetarian entrees with international flair.

Since the early 1990s, Montejano has maintained a longstanding kinship with the group’s owner and founder, Chef Michael Mina. It began in 1993 at Aqua restaurant in San Francisco where Montejano was briskly promoted to Sous Chef and maintained the role for five years. In 2010, he spent a year as Sous Chef at Mina’s namesake Michelin-starred restaurant, Michael Mina in San Francisco. In between and since then, the North County native has made a notable mark across several San Diego area culinary hotspots, including Cardiff Seaside Market, La Jolla’s La Valencia Hotel, The Trident in Sausalito, and most recently RMD Group’s Huntress Steakhouse in the Gaslamp Quarter. After receiving numerous local accolades rewarding him as a local chef favorite, James returns to the MINA Group family once again.

“This reunion with Chef Mina and the MINA Group has been a long time coming, and I’m looking forward to rejoining the MINA family alongside my friend and mentor,” says Montejano.

Chef Mina says, “Celebrating inspired cuisine as the heart of community is our focus at International Smoke, so it’s a no-brainer to have James lead our culinary team in San Diego. Locals know and love him, and it’s clear he loves them right back because you can witness his passion for the community though his food.”

International Smoke is the wildly popular collaboration between award-winning Chef Michael Mina and renowned restaurateur, chef, The New York Times two-time best-selling cookbook author, philanthropist, television host and producer, and entrepreneur Ayesha Curry. Inspired by Curry and Mina’s shared love of global travels and international cooking techniques, International Smoke ignites a new spark of flavor and creativity focused on woodfired steaks, seafood, ribs, and vegetarian entrees to create flavorful dishes that are craveable worldwide.

International Smoke recognizes that fire is the start of all cooking, and every country shares this culinary spark. At the center of the dining experience, the bar offers a community-driven atmosphere – creating a social space where guests can connect with friends over delicious food and drinks for a night to remember. International Smoke is the place to go on a culinary trip around the world with a date, with family, or with friends – no passports required.

International Smoke Del Mar is open for lunch and dinner from 11:30am Wednesday through Sunday with happy hour weekdays from 3:00-5:00PM. The restaurant is located at the One Paseo Shopping Center, 3387 Del Mar Heights Rd. San Diego, CA 92130. For more information, visit the website, and stay engaged with updates on their Instagram.