Aron Schwartz | Executive Chef
Born and raised in San Diego, Executive Chef Aron Schwartz attended the Culinary Institute of America. During his study there, he met his wife, Pam, a fellow student. After his graduation in 1998, Schwartz landed a position as sous chef for Charlotte Restaurant, a small food-and-wine focused restaurant in Lakeville, Connecticut.
Seeking new opportunities with a wish to expand his experience in the industry, Schwartz set his sights on Las Vegas, where he worked as sous chef for French restaurant Lutèce in The Venetian.
Following his time in Las Vegas, Schwartz returned to San Diego to work as a chef at Bernard’O Restaurant. His experience led him to the Marriot Marquis San Diego Marina, one of downtown San Diego’s premier luxury hotels. It is here where Schwartz thrived as executive sous chef.
Five years later, Schwartz is still with the Marriott and is leading the waterfront hotel’s new San Diego dining concept, Marina Kitchen, as executive chef.
Michael Miller | General Manager
Michael A. Miller was born in Tucson, Arizona, and studied at the University of Arizona on a music scholarship but always had a “real” job in restaurants. At the age of 12, Miller began a lifelong vocation in the industry, bussing tables at the Blue Saguaro. Miller left the University of Arizona to move to San Francisco and work as a dining room manager with the Bobby McGee group of restaurants.
After many years, Miller left to pursue a new opportunity with the hottest concepts of the 1990s — cigars, pool and craft beer. Miller became the manager for Burlingame Station Brewing Company. This was a short-lived placement, as he quickly met, courted and married Jennifer. The two quickly picked up and moved to San Diego.
It was in San Diego that Miller was hired as the manager for Trophy’s, San Diego’s premier sports restaurant and bar, and he soon opened several outlets for the company. Miller also has opened some of the city’s most recognized hot spots, including URI, Royale Brasserie, Anthology and Lou and Mickey’s. Today he brings his skill set as an expert in restaurant launches and management to the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina’s newest San Diego dining experience, Marina Kitchen.
Michael Pickering | Head Sommelier
Mike Pickering joins Marriott Marquis San Diego’s Marina Kitchen as the award-winning restaurant’s Head Sommelier. In his role, he will oversee Marina Kitchen’s exciting beverage program, which includes managing a large team of sommeliers as well as training new ones. Additionally, Mike will lead and host a wide array of wine-education based events including Marina Kitchen’s famed “Uncorked” wine hangout series, which taps winemakers from around the country to meet industry professionals and guests in a casual, intimate setting.
Michael Miller, Marina Kitchen’s General Manager says “Mike brings his expertise to not only Marina Kitchen, but throughout the hotel, continuing to elevate the beverage offerings for our guests and locals alike.”
Originally from Redlands, California, Mike started working in the restaurant world long before he knew it would become his career. Working in a variety of roles, he began as a host and worked his way up to General Manager. He has lived and worked in Greenville, South Carolina, where he met his wife. He has also lived in other major metropolises including Chicago, which is where he turned his passion for wine into a career.
In Chicago, Mike directed a wide array of wine programs, ranging from Embeya’s old-world white wines to The Langham’s Travelle Bar + Restaurant’s 1,800 label list to White Oak Tavern & Inn’s highly curated 60-bottle selection.
Mike is a Certified Sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers, the leading evaluator, and is currently studying for the advanced certification. Beyond his passion for wine, Mike is also a certified beer server, which is the first step to becoming a Cicerone.
Just before relocating back to California, Mike spent two weeks in Europe, visiting the stunning vineyards of Alsace, Burgundy, and the Rhone Valley.
“It was great getting to see some of the world’s premier vineyards firsthand, inspiring me to continue my education and explore more of the world’s winemaking regions.”