Chef James Montejano Joins San Diego's Growing RMD Hospitality Group

October 5, 2018

San Diego's RMD Group - the hospitality company behind such downtown cocepts as Volcano Rabbit, Rustic Root, Side Bar, and Ciro's Pizzeria - has hired highly-respected native chef James Montejano to assist in developing the culinary side of the company's numerous dining venues, including the multi-level, multi-concept restaurant, bar and entertainment venue being constructed at the historic Grand Pacific Hotel building at the corner of 5th and J in the heart of the Gaslamp.

After graduating from the California Culinary Academy, James Montejano started working at Aqua in San Francisco where he trained under renowned chef restaurateurs George Morrone and Michael Mina, and was promoted to sous chef within just two years. He then worked with Jeffrey Strauss at Pampelmousse in Solana Beach. His first Executive Chef position was in La Jolla at Cafe Japengo. After winning two consecutive annual awards for Best Sushi from the California Restaurant Association, Chef James decided to widen his horizons. 

Over the next few years, Chef Montejano headed a casino steakhouse in Valley View, launched Jade Restaurant in downtown San Diego, and introduced a sustainable, organic, farm-to-table menu at La Papagayo in Leucadia. He then seized an opportunity to return northward to work with Michael Mina again as part of the reopening team of his Michelin Star Restaurant in San Francisco. Before taking over the kitchen at La Valencia in 2014, Chef James worked at The Trident in Sausalito. In April 2016, the self-appointed "People's Chef" left The Pink Lady to assist in the expansion of Cardiff Seaside Market. Montejano’s accolades include People’s Choice and Best Seafood at the 2014 San Diego Bay Wine and Food Festival, and in 2015 he was voted Best of the Best Dining at Battle of the Bands as well as March of Dimes’ Best of the Fest. 

Chef Montejano's next gig will be as Executive Chef of RMD Group, where he will be overseeing and developing the culinary program of the group's s bars and restaurants, including the newly opened Side Bar reboot, Rustic Root, Volcano Rabbit, and the the 15,000-square-foot, multi-million dollar project being constructed at the 1887-era building at the corner of 5th & J in the Gaslamp, which will house more than one dining and nightlife concept when it opens in 2019.

RMD's 5th & J Project is a four-level restaurant concept housing multiple full-service dining locations including a 7,000 square foot, ground floor steakhouse named Huntress, a third-floor private dining and event space called the Grand Pacific Room, and a sushi restaurant with rooftop dining totaling approximately 13,067 square feet. The building itself is a designated historic resource known as the Grand Pacific Hotel, constructed in 1887. Outdoor dining space is proposed on the ground floor in sidewalk cafe space, as well as on an outdoor deck with the rooftop restaurant. Live entertainment is expected to take place on each floor of the building and is expected to include individual performers, small bands, and DJs, but no patron dancing or dedicated dance floors will be on premises. Each venue will have its own kitchen and food available for purchase by guests.

For more information about the including Huntress Steakhouse, visit