Continuing its tradition of cultivating and promoting talent across the board, Pechanga Resort Casino recently promoted Jordan Garcia to Head Chef of Paisano’s and Roberto Acosta to Head Chef of Kelsey’s – two of the 13 restaurants in what is the largest resort casino on the West Coast.
Both Garcia, 26, and Acosta, 41, took over their new positions after working elsewhere at Pechanga.
Garcia moved over from the Lobby Bar & Grill, where he served as the chief lieutenant to Chef Jose Mendoza in opening the California cuisine restaurant in December 2017. Before that, Garcia spent 2 ½ years as the sous chef at Umi Sushi and Oyster Bar and as a line cook at Kelsey’s. The Chula Vista native, who grew up in nearby Menifee and graduated from the Art Institute of San Bernardino, is establishing himself as one of the region’s up-and-coming new chefs. Garcia has carved a niche as a seafood expert, with his specials at every stop being among the top-selling dishes at every establishment. That, along with his natural leadership skills in working with younger cooks, is what earned him the top spot at Pechanga’s upscale Italian restaurant.
“Fish is something I got really comfortable with when I was working with sushi,” Garcia said. “I learned how to treat fish properly. I do take a lot of pride in my specials. My sousand I really collaborate well on ideas, but almost 100 percent of the time, my specials happen organically. I can visualize a plate before I start making it. I already have the idea in my head what I want.”
Roberto Acosta began his culinary career at several Asian fast-food spots before moving to Harrah’s Southern California, where his career really took off. The native of Mexico, who is completely self-taught, started as a line cook at the resort’s Asian restaurant, before becoming the lead cook and sous chef at the steakhouse, then helping open the resort’s Mexican cantina.
He moved to Pechanga in 2017 as the sous chef at Bamboo, one of the resort’s Asian establishments, before being promoted to his current position overseeing Pechanga’s barbecue and American pub restaurant. What Acosta takes pride in is his attention to creating and maintaining balance in Kelsey’s plethora of barbecue offerings.
“One of the things I like the most in cooking is balance,” he said. “It has to be the right balance in seasoning; if we’re using a smoker, it has to be the right time in the smoker and it has to be balanced to make sure all the flavors combine and get a unique flavor. Balance is important because of all the population in general, some like it really sweet, some like it really salty and some like it either/or. You have to combine all those tastes together so there’s not too much on this side or on that side.”
Created to inspire the ambience of an Italian village, Paisano’s takes guests on a journey to the great wine and food regions of Italy. The dishes fuse the best of Old World and New World Italian cuisine along with unique features created by Chef Garcia.
Renovated in 2015, Kelsey’s was redesigned to be an inviting environment where guests could feel at home as they enjoyed their favorite top-notch BBQ dishes and beer on tap.
For more information, visit www.Pechanga.com or call 877.711.2946.