Santa Barbara, Calif. (August 14, 2019) – Shaking up the culinary scene in Santa Barbara’s trendsetting Funk Zone neighborhood, Hotel Californian announces the appointment of a new Executive Chef, Travis Watson, who will lead the creation of a fresh culinary experience at Blackbird. The signature restaurant will relaunch in Fall 2019 as Bar Blackbird, a lively and upscale bar-first concept, featuring an inventive cocktail program from Houston Hospitality veteran Devon Espinosa and celebrating the intersection of food and beverage on California’s Central Coast. Chef Travis will also infuse new culinary inspiration throughout the resort, including breakfast, lunch and dinner al-fresco at Goat Tree; the Djinn library bar; Tan-Tan rooftop pool deck; and the banquets and in-room dining programs.

Travis Watson brings 20 years of award-winning culinary experience to the American Riviera and will lead the team to construct modern, seasonal cuisine that elevates all facets of the Hotel Californian culinary program. Watson’s career has led him all over the world, including France where he served as an apprentice to Chef Georges Paccard of Michelin-starred La Ciboulette. He most recently served as Executive Chef at Rancho Bernardo Inn & Spa in San Diego and is thrilled to tap into the distinctive terroir of the Central Coast.

“We are thrilled to welcome this culinary thought-leader to our award-winning Hotel Californian team,” said Warren Nocon, General Manager, Hotel Californian. “We are excited for Chef Travis to unleash his endless passion and creativity to create inspiring new culinary experiences that resonate with our guests and the Santa Barbara community.”