Chicken Enchilada Casserole

Born in Santa Monica California and raised in San Diego, I gained an appreciation for both southwestern food and all types of seafood. While in high school, I started my food service work at a San Diego steak and chop house. Like everyone in this industry, it all started with dishes and prep work. I was given the chance to learn the grill station due to an employee illness. As I continued to build skills and tenure, I was given the opportunity to learn other stations as well. The bottom line was that I loved the fast paced challenge that seemed to change daily. I continued to work with those folks all the way thru my time at San Diego State University.

In my junior year I made a life changing decision to leave school and head to Hawaii to ride the big waves. So with $85 in my pocket and my surf board, off I went. Upon arrival I realized that I couldn’t make a living surfing so I took a job at a local chop house and had the good fortune of apprenticing under two of the finest chefs in the Islands for almost two years. By the time I arrived back on the mainland I was armed with an entire arsenal of skills that would allow me to become what I have become today.

I served as the director of food and beverage at the Harbor Hotel in Watkins Glen, NY for the last five and a half years. I am currently semi-retired, but still very active in the culinary world and you can find me at Schuyler Hospital in their culinary unit. I was previously the executive chef for two years at Castel Griesh, and served in the same capacity for eight years at The Lindenwald Haus in Elmira prior to that. While in their employment I developed recipes and menus to meet the needs of all types of events: weddings, rehearsal dinners, large parties, and off site catering. Additionally, I directed our corporate aviation catering activities. I have prepared food for many Hollywood stars and politicians, including Hillary Clinton, Angelina Jole , Robert Dinero, John Glen, and Bill Cosby. Additionally, my staff and I did all of Tommy Hilfiger’s catering when he would come to town to visit family.

During the last ten years I have been working with NBC television as their food segment chef. I have done more than 600 shows, not including my Finger Lakes Kitchen show. So as you can see, I lead a busy life, but love every minute of it. One must have a passion for what they do! The one thing I always pass on to every young chef: You can’t do it by yourself. It takes the efforts of an entire kitchen team to deliver the highest quality dining experience for the patron.

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