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Nearby casino chefs share their most loved Xmas foodstuff memories

San Diegans already know that local casinos boast some of the largest restaurants in the region. What they could not know is that its significant-volume restaurants attract cooks from all about the globe. We questioned some of the region’s American and worldwide chefs for their favorite Xmas dishes.

Marlene Moore

Head chef for Temptations Food items Court’s 6 places to eat at Pechanga Resort On line casino

Born and lifted in the two-island Caribbean country of Trinidad and Tobago, the Menifee resident’s West Indian Christmas feast includes two turkeys (one particular classic and a person with jerk seasoning) and a ham as nicely as West Indian curry hen with potatoes and steamed rice, oxtail stew with peas and rice, macaroni pie, potato salad with a trace of sweetness. She also would make jerk chicken, which she ranks a 12 on the spicy scale of 1 to 10.

“My holiday break food with my relatives can take a large amount of perform, but I really like every moment of all the planning, planning and the cooking. It tends to make me come to feel like I’m back again home. Family members and mates fly in from New York, Texas and Philadelphia to shell out Xmas, or our celebration of it, at our property. I’m actually wanting ahead to it this 12 months, even additional than in many years in advance of. It’s even extra particular after not observing some of my relatives for about two years.”

Jason Luke, an assistan chef at Harrah's Resort Southern California

Jason Luke, an assistan chef at Harrah’s Resort Southern California in Valley Centre.

(Harrah’s Vacation resort Southern California)

Jason Luke

Assistant chef, Harrah’s Vacation resort Southern California

“Growing up, I was embarrassingly picky about food. I fixated on body fat, refusing to try to eat it or pores and skin of any variety. Then, when I was 12, I viewed my grandfather cook dinner for Thanksgiving. He grew up quite inadequate, but alongside the way experienced turn out to be a phenomenal cook, and observing him brine and roast a turkey, accompany it with best mashed potatoes baked into toasted cones, earning gravy from the pan drippings, pan-searing fresh green beans, and making one thing I’d by no means seen right before with cranberries and sour cream. It was like viewing him set his coronary heart out on the desk. When he pulled a piece of completely crisp skin from that turkey, I noticed him just pause and take his time eating it. I realized it experienced to be one thing specific, so I went for it, as well. I was not well prepared for what I experienced been missing. Considering again, that moment could, in all reality, have despatched me on the route to loving and performing with food items. I continue to make potatoes the very same way, 30 a long time later, and making a cranberry mousseline is the best homage I can feel of to the cranberry dish he produced. Cheers Kawpaw.”

Larry D. Banares, executive chef and director of restaurants for Viejas Casino and Resort.

Larry D. Banares, government chef and director of restaurants for Viejas On line casino and Resort.

(Viejas Casino and Resort)

Larry D. Banares

Government chef and director of eating places, Viejas Casino and Vacation resort

“Being of Filipino heritage, our culture is based mostly on family. Not just speedy family members, but extended loved ones with generations generally living in the exact same family. This dynamic creates an unbreakable bond constructed on food, family and buddies. We are regarded to be very hospitable and generous, and love to entertain and celebrate, specifically at Christmas. In the Philippines, Xmas begins in September with the complete complement of getaway decorations and tunes. Hamon, bibingka, pancit, queso de bola and lechon are all Christmas favorites. For me, the real pleasure of cooking is sharing, supplying nourishment and generating unique memories with family members and good friends. This is a chef’s satisfaction, in particular throughout the holiday seasons.”

Ronnel Capacia, executive sous chef at Pechanga Resort Casino in Temecula.

Ronnel Capacia, executive sous chef at Pechanga Resort On line casino in Temecula.

(Pechanga Vacation resort Casino)

Ronnel Capacia

Govt sous chef, Pechanga Resort Casino

Originally from the island of Guam, Capacia gathers with his relatives of much more than 100 persons each and every Christmas Working day for a feast incorporating traditional Filipino and Chamorro dishes.

“We go to my aunt’s home in San Diego each individual calendar year for Xmas evening meal. I will commonly head out of Pechanga all over 4 or 5 p.m., but my wife and daughters journey to her household before in the day. When I get there, all the foods is by now organized, but my aunts place me in demand of reducing and carving up the fruit. This is their demonstrate, not mine. It’s a loved ones custom I am so grateful to be a part of and to give my little ones the encounter of. The household enjoys meat from a full roasted pig (about a 100-pound pig purchased from a farmer exterior of Escondido), embutido (a rolled meatloaf with eggs and warm dog sausage), buko (coconut) salad, bibingka (a sweet rice cake built with coconut milk as nicely as the meat from the coconut included in) and Guamanian specialties this kind of as purple rice, kalbi ribs and chicken kelaguen. It is all delicious and reminds me so a lot of growing up in Guam. There we would have fiestas for Xmas that involved our complete village, like 200 or 300 persons. Following the spiritual ceremonies were over for the working day, the adult males would look at on the pig they had roasted right away, and the gals would finish making ready other dishes. It’s extremely a great deal the similar now in San Diego, only everyone allows with almost everything.”

Alain Martins is the Executive Pastry Chef at Valley View Casino & Hotel in Valley Center.

Alain Martins is the Executive Pastry Chef at Valley Watch On line casino & Lodge in Valley Center.

(Valley Watch Casino & Lodge)

Alain Martins

Govt pastry chef, Valley Look at Casino & Resort

Raised in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Martins has worked in pastry for the past 3 years at Valley See On line casino. For the holiday break year, he will be making ready his signature bourbon pecan frangipane cake, which is served at the resort’s Black & Blue Steakhouse. His fondest memories contain how considerably teamwork it can take to come with each other and make the ever-transforming pastry menu every single year. As a boy he started building desserts for his older sister and then he researched the pastry profession at a culinary school in New York.

Redentor Ramos, executive chef at Harrah's Resort Southern California in Valley Center.

Redentor Ramos, govt chef at Harrah’s Vacation resort Southern California in Valley Middle.

(Harrah’s Resort Southern California)

Redentor Ramos

Government chef, Harrah’s Vacation resort Southern California

“I really do not keep in mind cooking for Christmas, as I am generally at perform undertaking brunch or distinctive events. But when I do, I really like generating an appetizer before a meal, where all my spouse and children and close friends can obtain all-around the kitchen area and communicate although the little ones are opening their offers. My beloved item to get ready is lobster strudel. They are uncomplicated to make, and everyone often enjoys it.”

Redentor Ramos’ Lobster Strudel recipe:


  • Lobster Tail (cooked, deshelled and minimize in chunks)
  • Mushrooms
  • Boursin Cheese
  • Shallots
  • Fresh new Thyme
  • Italian Parsley
  • Garlic
  • 4 sheets Phyllo Dough (room temperature )
  • Melted Butter
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Truffle Oil — optional

For hen mousse:

  • Skinless Rooster Breast
  • Egg White
  • Large Product

How to prepare:

  • For the mousse, place the chicken on the foodstuff processor and pulse till easy, gradually include the eggwhite and 2 tbsp of heavy cream and system until finally smooth and blended effectively with each other. Established aside.
  • Upcoming, saute the mushrooms really effectively with minced shallot and garlic. Include the white wine, thyme and parsley. Stir commonly right until the liquid evaporates. Year with Salt and Pepper. Amazing down and set aside.
  • In a stainless-metal bowl, blend the mushroom and the lobster. Alter the seasoning if vital. Then add hen mousse. Combine effectively and keep them refrigerated though getting ready the Phyllo dough.
  • To make the Phyllo Dough, line your sheet pan with buttered parchment paper. Lay out just one sheet of Phyllo and brush with melted butter. Repeat using a complete of 4 sheets of phyllo dough.
  • Lay out lobster and mushroom combination from conclude to finish of Phyllo dough. Thoroughly roll into a strudel.
  • Tucking both ends. Brush the strudel with butter. Bake at 375 levels until eventually golden and crisp. About 25 minutes.
  • Lastly, enable it rest for 10 -15 minutes