Cosmopolitan Restaurant Hires Executive Chef

May 25, 2010

Jeff Thurston, former executive chef of The Prado in Balboa Park, has been named the executive chef of the soon-to-open historic Cosmopolitan Restaurant in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.

“Jeff has more than 20 years of exemplary culinary experience,” said Joseph Melluso, operator of The Cosmopolitan Hotel and Restaurant. “We know that his vision for The Cosmopolitan Restaurant is one that will honor the history of the building as well as infuse innovative ideas into this brand new restaurant.” 

Thurston spent the last 11 years as the executive chef at The Prado where, under his direction, the restaurant won multiple awards such as San Diego’s Best New Restaurant by San Diego Magazine and one of America’s Top Restaurants by Gourmet Magazine. He was also recently awarded “Chef of the Year” by the California Restaurant Association.

Thurston started his culinary career at the age of 14 at Le Pigalle in Toronto, where he was born and raised.

In 1990, Thurston started studying under Wolfgang Puck in Los Angeles where he acquired the necessary skills to join the opening team as sous chef at the well-known Moose’s Restaurant in San Francisco’s North Beach.

After working at Moose’s, he was recruited to be the sous chef at Gordon Biersch Brewery and Restaurant in San Francisco, where he became executive chef four months later. Chef Thurston later became consulting chef at Essex Supper Club in San Francisco.

After leaving San Francisco, he spent two years working in Seattle under Wolfgang Puck and then made the move to The Prado at Balboa Park in November 1999.

“My experience at The Prado will be very valuable at The Cosmopolitan Restaurant,” stated Thurston. “Much like The Prado, The Cosmopolitan is a San Diego historical institution that tourists and locals alike will treasure for years to come.  It is up to our opening team to set the standards very high as we know all of San Diego will be watching.” 

The Cosmopolitan Hotel and Restaurant is recognized as one of the most historically significant buildings in California and the oldest building within the state park system. When it reopens in June, the restaurant will include both indoor and outdoor bars and dining rooms.  The interior bar and dining areas have been meticulously restored and boast authentic mid-1800s furnishings collected from around the United States as well as chandeliers, draperies and wallpaper custom made to reflect what would have been in the rooms when it was the center of San Diego life and the only stagecoach stop in town.

For more information about Old Town’s Cosmopolitan Hotel and Restaurant, visit

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