Former Top Chef Contestant On Board To Open Pacific Standard Coastal Kitchen In Little Italy

Pacific Standard Executive Chef Giselle Wellman
June 6, 2016

Ready to enter San Diego's renown dining neighborhood, Pacific Standard Coastal Kitchen is expected to make a splash this July in Little Italy. This not-to-miss rustic-refined eatery will be helmed by San Diego native, Giselle Wellman. After appearing on Bravo’s hit cooking competition Top Chef, Chef Wellman is excited to be back in her hometown and offer another extraordinary dining option in the booming culinary hub of Little Italy.

Pacific Standard Coastal Kitchen is the first restaurant collaboration between Southern California-based hotelier T2 and restaurant developers, New School Consulting. Anchoring Little Italy’s northern end at the corner of Pacific Coast Highway and Hawthorn Street, Pacific Standard’s 4,100 square-foot build out will breathe new life into the site of one of the neighborhood’s most distinctive landmarks - the iconic art-deco restaurant complex that was long emblazoned by the glowing neon lights of the city’s former ‘Fat City’ and ‘China Camp’ restaurants. Slated to open early July, Pacific Standard will uphold the building’s exterior art-deco architectural influence while introducing a more modern, airy atmosphere with the addition of two expansive outdoor patios, which boast views of the San Diego bay and harbor.

The launch of Pacific Standard ushers in a welcomed homecoming for San Diego native and Bravo TV’s Top Chef talent, Executive Chef Giselle Wellman - who has spent the past eight years honing her skills alongside internationally renowned chefs including Thomas Keller (Bar Bouchon and Bouchon Bakery, Los Angeles), Jean George (Nougatine at Jean Georges, NYC), and Mario Batali (Del Posto, NYC) before becoming the youngest female Executive Chef in Los Angeles at the age of 26 at the upscale French-influenced Petrossian restaurant in 2010. Giselle now returns to her hometown excited for the opportunities that lie ahead.

“Over the past few years I’ve seen incredible growth and a re-energized passion throughout the local culinary community,” says Wellman. “I’m thrilled to be back home, and to be in the kitchen with an amazing team.”

Chef Ami Cisneros
Also joining Chef Wellman in the kitchen will be another local female chef. Chef Ami Cisneros is leaving her position as Chef de Cuisine of JRDN at Tower23 in Pacific Beach and will become part of the launch team for Pacific Standard. Chef Ami is a 2010 graduate of San Diego Culinary Institute and has worked in some of San Diego’s finest kitchens, including Blush Ice Bar + East and West Kitchen, Mister A's, and Alchemy.

Pacific Standard’s culinary program is a reflection of Little Italy’s storied past as a local fishing community, one that was anchored by San Diego’s first large-scale tuna cannery, Pacific Tuna Canning Co, in the early 1900s. The rustic-refined, coastal-inspired kitchen will embrace Chef Wellman’s passion for quality ingredients and will source as much as possible from nearby farms. Select local purveyors will include Suzie’s Farm, Bird Rock Coffee Roasters, Malahat Spirits, Prager Brothers Bakery, Gelato Vero, and more.

New School brings their spirits industry veteran, Dino Balocchi (Longman & Eagle, Chicago; Dirty Laundry, Los Angeles), and Sommelier Hayden Felice (Craft, New York; Trois Mec, Los Angeles), to curate a playful selection of craft cocktails ranging from pre-dinner aperitifs to boozy brunch sippers to punchbowls, alongside Pacific Standards’ lineup of local beers and an all West Coast wine list.

While currently under construction, Pacific Standard anticipates an opening date in early July. The restaurant is located at 2137 Pacific Coast Highway in San Diego’s downtown Little Italy neighborhood. 

For more information about Pacific Standard, visit