Our Team


Chef Daragh

Chef Daragh Matheson BS, CEC, CCE is a seasoned industry professional with over 30 years of intensive from scratch culinary experience. Chef Matheson began his journey in 1985 at 15 with an apprenticeship in Dublin, Ireland and is contagiously passionate about his craft. He first attended Sallynoggin Community College completing a Vocational Degree in Hospitality before moving on to the Dublin Institute of Technology Graduating with the London City and Guilds 706/1 & 706/2. Whilst Chef Matheson attended College he was constantly working throughout his studies in various Hotels and restaurants in the Irish Capital to gain additional experience. His first full time position was Chef de Partie in the Stillorgan Park Hotel before being promoted to Pastry Chef, a position he maintained before heading southbound to Sydney, Australia. Daragh further honed his culinary skillset working in several noted eateries including the Wharf in Hickson Bay for famed Sydney Chef and Restaurateur Anders Ousback and The Eastside Bar & Grill for Chef Russ Gluyas constantly moving between the worlds of Savory and Pastry equally relishing both aspects of the business.  After two intensive years in Australia Daragh returned to his homeland to take up a posts in Dublin to working in some of the City’s best known restaurants including Michelin nominated Whites on the Green and Irish Legendary Restauranteur Roly Saul at Roly’s Bistro in South Dublin. Daragh went on to open his own establishment Aubergine, an upscale Delicatessen and Full Service Catering company.

In 2003 Daragh arrived in Temecula beginning at The Great Oak in local Casino Pechanga before moving on the High Limit Lounge where Matheson catered to the resorts High Roller clientele with a no holds barred Menu.  In 2010 Daragh accepted a teaching position at The Art Institutes in San Bernadino before accepting the position of Executive Chef at Leoness Cellars in 2011. During his time at the Art Institute Daragh received several American Culinary Federation (ACF) Certifications including Certified Executive Chef (CEC) and Certified Culinary Educator (CCE) and also completed a Bachelors in Science majoring in Culinary Management during his tenure at the School and also teaching at Chaffey College in Chino. In 2011 Chef Matheson was part of a team of five Chefs featured from the Art Institutes to cook at the James Beard House.  During his time at Leoness Chef Matheson has seen the restaurant grow from an initial team of three to its current lineup of ten line cooks. As passionate as Chef is about his food he is equally passionate about cultivating talented Cooks in his Kitchens which has been a hugely rewarding part of his tenure at Leoness and our sister properties. Chef Matheson says “Watching our Cooks coming directly from Culinary School and seeing them grow and spread their wings in our kitchens is one of the greatest rewards in our business”.

The Restaurant at Leoness is proud to offer a full service menu featuring items wholly made in our kitchen from scratch. All of our stocks, soups, sauces and desserts are 100% made on property not to mention our by now famous French Fries utilizing Chef’s three day process. The restaurant features many unique dishes all cooked in the French Traditional style with each dish prepared to order or “Ala minute”.

Daragh maintains dual positions of Director of Culinary Operations and Executive Chef in our sister properties Crush & Brew in Old Town Temecula and Avensole Winery on Rancho California Road. Chef is currently working on an MBA which he hopes to complete in 2016. 

Chef Martin 

As a child growing up in Texas, Chef Amanda Martin always loved spending time in the kitchen cooking and baking alongside her mother. As she got older, she also became very interested in design and art, which led Chef Martin to start taking college courses in 2001 geared towards Art and Interior Design in San Antonio, Texas then later at The University of Virginia. After moving to California in 2009, she decided to combine her love for cooking with her love of art, and attended The Art Institute of California – Inland Empire in San Bernardino.

In 2010 she began her career at The Restaurant at Leoness Cellars in Temecula, California under the tutelage of her mentor Executive Chef Daragh Matheson. Just a couple years later, in December 2012 she received her Associate of Science Degree in Culinary Arts, graduating with highest honors. Chef Martin has since moved up from an initial team of three to Chef de Cuisine overseeing all kitchen and food operations not only for The Restaurant at Leoness, but also for special catering events.

Chef Martin has successfully created an enthusiastic and productive working environment with her staff of 14 at Leoness Cellars. When offering new additions to the menu at The Restaurant, Chef Martin combines her passion for food with her unique creative flair. The Restaurant at Leoness is proud to offer items made in their very own kitchen from scratch.  All stocks, soups, sauces and desserts are 100% made on property.  The Restaurant features many unique dishes all cooked in the French Traditional style with each dish prepared to order or “ala minute”. The Restaurant at Leoness has been voted #1 Best Winery Restaurant by USA Today and the best winery restaurant by Inland Empire Magazine for three consecutive years all with great contributions made from Chef Martin.

Just recently, she has accepted a position as a culinary instructor at the Art Institute of California Inland Empire, hoping to inspire students who are just entering the world of culinary arts with her true passion for her craft.  Furthermore, she is also working on her Bachelor’s degree, which she hopes to complete in 2016.