Interior of Acqua Restaurant

Hermann Schäfer

Executive Chef & Director of Food and Beverage


Executive Chef Schäfer

Hermann Schäfer
Corporate West Coast Executive Chef, Director of Food and Beverage Hilton San Diego Resort & Spa

(Managed by Noble House Hotels & Resorts)

Chef Schäfer began his formal culinary training in his hometown of Vienna, Austria, serving a three year apprenticeship at the Grand Hotel Sauerhof in Baden, one of Austria’s finest five-star luxury hotels.

Armed with a degree in Hotel Management and Culinary Arts in Austria, Schäfer embarked on an exemplary culinary career path. He was a chef apprentice at the Grand Hotel Sauerhof, Austria for three years learning the kitchen from every angle. At the Park Hotel am Rhein, a five-star luxury hotel in Switzerland, he worked his way through all departments to become sous chef, learning under Swiss and French Master Chefs the roots and style of French, Swiss and Italian cuisines. While in Switzerland, he also worked as chef de partie at Bedhesta Basel Hotel, then as executive sous chef at Hotel Restaurant Oshsen with well-known Master Chef Philip, creating all nouvelle cuisine menus.

Schäfer’s culinary path brought him to the United States in 1994 when he became chef de partie-tournant at Hilton Anaheim and Towers where he was responsible for creating and executing theme menus such as authentic Austrian, German, Swiss and Fusion cuisine. He moved to Bistango Restaurant, one of Orange County’s most renowned, high-volume fine dining restaurants, as executive chef where he increased sales from $4 million to $6.5 million and received six consecutive Great Chefs of Orange County nominations and nine consecutive Gold Awards from the California Restaurant Writers. After seven years, Schäfer returned to Hilton Anaheim & Towers as executive sous chef. The largest hotel in Southern California, with five restaurants and banquet capacity of 8000 meals a day, he managed a kitchen staff of 60 people and created new menus for all outlets and VIPs.

Over his 30 years in the industry, Schäfer has been influenced by some of the leaders in culinary history including Alain Ducasse, Paul Bocuse, Joël Robuchon, Eckart Witzigmann, and Heinz Reitbauer. He has honed his own classic contemporary cooking style with a modern twist, which is reflected throughout the menus in his current establishment, Hilton San Diego Resort & Spa, where he serves as Corporate West Coast Executive Chef and Director of Food and Beverage. In his role as Corporate West Coast Executive Chef for Noble House Hotels & Resorts he is responsible for operations and financial performance of 27 food and beverage venues at nine resorts in three states. He was named Noble House Hotels and Resorts Corporate F&B Leader of the Year 2015 Schäfer stays active through continuous professional activities including seminars at The Culinary Institute of America, Napa Valley, California, conducting monthly classes “Sure la Table,” administering, teaching and guest speaking at the annual Produce Show and being featured in magazines such as Rivera, Restaurant News, 714, Orange County Business Journal, Orange County Coast Magazine and Culinary Trends.

He is a Member of the Les Toques Blanches International Club and among his many accomplishments, Schäfer’s awards include:

  • Wine Spectator Award 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014
  • Dirona Award 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014
  • Chefs Choice Awards from the Master Touch
  • Chefs in America Awards Foundation Awarded me to “MAITRE DU GOUT”
  • Best new coming Chef in Orange County 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999 and 2000