Recognized as one of the best chefs in Chico, Chef Ann Leon owns the go-to place to celebrate special events with family and friends!
Opening Leon Bistro in 2008, fulfilled a goal that Ann Leon had developed during more than twenty years of restaurant and catering experience.
Today she is widely recognized as one of the best chefs in Chico (she has received that title in a Chico News & Review consumer election every year from 2011-2017). Her restaurant is undeniably a go-to place for Chicoans to celebrate special events in their lives or to enjoy a fine meal on a weekday or weekend night.
After working for nine years at local shops and restaurants, she went to the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco, where she externed at Chez Panisse. After graduating at the top of her class, Ann remained at Chez Panisse, honing her skills and palate and developing a reverence for using fresh, local ingredients at the top of their flavor. This is the approach that she follows today at Leon Bistro, where she curates a network of farmers, ranchers, dairies and fishermen who bring her their organically grown, pasture raised or fresh caught fish for Leon Bistro.
Prior to opening Leon Bistro, Ann worked as Sous Chef at Rolling Hill Casino, Spice Creek Cafe and Avanti's Restaurant in Chico. Before that, in the Bay Area, she was restaurant chef at the Regency Plaza in San Mateo, and the Restaurant Chef at the Claremont Resort Hotel and Spa in Berkeley.
At Leon Bistro, Ann creates distinctive dishes that express her creative take on contemporary California cuisine and showcases locally grown, organic ingredients. A talented and charismatic teacher, Chef Ann leads small, informal cooking classes twice a month, which are very popular. She takes great pleasure in training her own kitchen staff, who have gone on to start their own food establishments in the area. Chef Ann Leon is honored for her charitable work in the community. At Leon Bistro, she is joined by her sister, Susan Leon Peterson, who is a sous chef/pastry chef, and her grandson Owen Peterson, sous chef, as well as other staff.
Meet the Chef
A Family Affair
Everything about Leon Bistro reflects Ann's vision of what a fine restaurant should be -- from her choice of art (her dad, Dennis Leon) to the family members she relies on (her sister Susan, her investors and all around helpers, Joan and Ramon, and her grandson Owen). They are joined by a front and back staff whose skills are honed on the job, plus a stream of Chico student interns considering careers in the culinary arts.