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Fascinating Faces

You know the brands. You frequent the stores. You dine on the cuisine and drink the wine. And with this series of portraits, you can now meet the Orange County-based innovators behind it all.

From left: Wil Dee, Greg Daniels and Ace Patel

Diane Hibbard

THE RESTAURATEURS
Greg Daniels’ seasonal menus laden with distinctive culinary creations like porchetta di testa separate him from the rest of the O.C. chef pack. In case you didn’t know, that’s the head of a pig, de-boned, seasoned, rolled, sous-vide for 14 hours, cooled and then sliced for a beautiful mosaic of tongue, ear, cheek and skin. “It’s something I don’t think anybody else does in O.C.,” says Daniels, the Le Cordon Bleu-trained executive chef of Haven Gastropub whose other “out-of-the-box” specialties have ranged from grilled baby octopus to lamb belly. An abundant selection of craft beer, wine and cocktails also complements the menu. It all began in September 2009, when Daniels partnered with hospitality veterans Wil Dee and Ace Patel, better known as the O.C.-based restaurant group Haven Collective (havencollective.com), to open Haven Gastropub in historic Old Towne Orange. The trio followed their first successful venture in early 2011 with Taco Asylum, a small, fast-casual eatery at The Camp in Costa Mesa known for its nontraditional tacos with fillings ranging from duck to lamb. Next came the larger-sized Haven Gastropub + Brewery in Pasadena in late 2011, where the brew master creates up to 16 different styles—including the black rye India pale Hell Ryed to Haven—that are sold at the company’s three restaurants, as well as craft beer bars and restaurants from L.A. to San Diego. Says Daniels: “We’ve tried to elevate every aspect of the casual-dining experience, which is something we still work on every day. We like to think of it as firing on all cylinders. We’ve always just wanted to stand out and do something different than everyone else. I think we have.”

THE BEAUTY QUEEN
Diane Hibbard says she remembers the day her father told her that, unlike her two brothers, she couldn’t be involved in the family biz, Pacific Panel Products, because it was a “man’s industry.” So she sought out something she knew she’d be good at and landed a career at O.C.’s luxe Burke Williams Day Spa (burkewilliamsspa.‌com). “I’ve always been the girliest of girls,” says 33-year-old Hibbard, who started as an esthetician at the spa’s Orange locale before becoming director of the entire company’s skincare department. For 13 years, she’s been in charge of training, educating and managing more than 250 licensed estheticians companywide. Her job also includes product research and formulation of the spa’s exclusive H2V skincare line (which the company plans to make available for online purchase), along with 20-plus products from its Triple C Serum line (which boosts collagen and fights wrinkles) and Buff (a cornmeal and aluminum oxide exfoliant). But one of the most exciting products launched to date is the Youth Cell Activator, with Mexican bamboo and Japanese knot wood that activates human stem cells and reduces fine lines by 30 percent in three weeks. “This is cutting-ege,” says Hibbard. “We’re getting a lot of press, and we’re selling out of it very quickly.” She and the spa are now working on expanding the product line, with more cosmetics like Spagloss lip gloss (launching this year) and a rich facial using the newest marula oil.

THE LAND BARON
It was a friend who turned international real estate developer Luke Chadwick onto Belize back in 2006. He jumped on a plane, and it wasn’t long after his arrival that he became convinced it was the next big emerging market and a perfect investment opportunity. “It offered many things, including impeccable weather... and close proximity to the U.S.,” says Chadwick, who as partner and lead developer of Eco-Futures Inc., Sanctuary Belize and Kinetic Residential Estates in Belize (sanctuarybelize.com), is spearheading the construction of a gated, eco-friendly 14,000-acre residential, resort and marina development in the southern tip of the country. The 36-year-old Huntington Beach resident has spent close to $40 million on the tropical oasis and will have shelled out close to $100 million upon its completion (excluding residential home construction). The community offers the chance to experience Caribbean Sea frontage and five distinct ecosystems, along with an average year-round temp of 85 degrees. Created in collaboration with the Sittee River Wildlife Reserve, the development is designed for people who are passionate about preserving their environment. “We wanted to make the dream of property ownership in a Caribbean paradise an affordable reality for all,” Chadwick says. “At the same time, we are committed to developing our community responsibly and respectfully, with as minimal [of an] impact to the natural surroundings and wildlife as possible.”

Click here to read more of "Fasinating Faces" in the digital edition of Riviera Orange County!