Paul J. Lee

Photo of Paul Lee

Paul Lee,CEC®  
Director, Drummond Culinary Academy at Rancho Cielo  
Treasurer, ACF Monterey Bay & Member of the Board, LTB Monterey Bay   

After 3 years of studies at California State Universities at Long Beach and Humboldt, Paul decided to forsake his career path in Forestry, trading it in for a life at the stoves.  Paul’s destiny was locked into mountain resort hotels, working in Glacier National Park, Montana to Jackson Hole, Wyoming and interrupted by a couple more years of school, graduating from Culinary Institute of America.  Next it was off to beautiful Lake Tahoe where Paul worked for Harrah’s Hotel and Casino for the next 21 years. Positions as chef de cuisine in varied restaurant concepts led to Executive Chef and Director of Culinary Operations for Harvey’s and Harrah’s Hotel Casinos, overseeing 18 kitchens. 

In 2002, Paul and his wife Barbara, relocated to Monterey.  It was time for a change from 30 years in mountain resorts to this beautiful Monterey Peninsula.  Paul was quickly taken in by the local chefs and has thrived as a leading culinary educator, teaching Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management at Monterey Peninsula College.  Paul is a veteran of many of the local events in Monterey including Carmel Tomato Fest, Cooking for Solutions, Meals on Wheels Culinary Classique d’Elegance, and the Panetta Institute’s Jefferson-Lincoln Awards.

Paul’s dedication to education and culinary arts keeps him involved in several boards and committees including Rancho Cielo’s Drummond Culinary Academy, Chaine De Rotisseurs Jeune Commis, Mission Trails ROP Career Technical Education, Monterey County Hospitality Association, NRAEF Certified ServSafe Instructor, Chef Certification Evaluator for the American Culinary Federation, and Food Safety Advisory Council for Monterey County.  Currently, Paul is focused on educating and training students at Rancho Cielo and serves as Past President for 2 professional chefs’ associations: the American Culinary Federation, Monterey Bay Chapter, and Les Toques Blanches, International, Monterey Chapter. Paul was honored as Monterey’s ACF 2006 Chef of the Year and United Way’s 2012 Adult Volunteer of the Year.