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These Chefs Use a Bit of Sugar, Spice and Everything Nice

Written By: Patricia Kemp La Quinta Food Scene

We’re taking you inside the kitchen to explore some culinary confessions from La Quinta’s best-known foodie fanatics. We spoke to four top chefs and restaurateurs who channeled their love of food into appetizing careers. Beyond the menu, these gourmets spill some savory secrets. Find out what their favorite essential ingredients are for making any dish a magical and tasty work of art.  

   

Hot for Sauce La Quinta Food Scene

Andrew Cooper | Executive Chef, La Quinta Resort & Club, a Waldorf Astoria Resort

As Executive Chef of La Quinta Resort & Club, a Waldorf Astoria Resort overseeing Morgan’s in the desert, Twenty6 and Adobe Grill, Andrew Cooper’s career spans two decades after beginning at the prestigious Culinary Institute of America. “I love that every day I get to make a living playing with food, interacting with people and creating lasting memories for guests. Food brings people together. Seeing plates that come back to the kitchen spotless is the best reward,” he says. Go-to ingredient? “I love hot sauce! You’ll always find it in my kitchen, at the hotel and at home for endless opportunities to create incredible dishes.”

La Quinta Resort & Club, a Waldorf Astoria Resort 
49499 Eisenhower Dr
La Quinta, CA 92253
760.564.5700

 

Tacos Are Life! La Quinta Food Scene

Marco A. Aguilar | Chef de Cuisine, La Quinta Resort & Club, a Waldorf Astoria Resort, Adobe Grill 

Marco A. Aguilar, Chef de Cuisine at La Quinta Resort & Club, a Waldorf Astoria Resort, learned the basics of cooking Mexican fare with much care at a young age from his grandparents. “I focus on flavors and textures and come up with trendy, colorful ideas [by] thinking outside of the box. We don’t reinvent dishes, but we try to serve a casual, modern interpretation of Mexican cuisine like pollo con mole,” Aguilar says. Go-to ingredient? “Don’t forget to have a good piece of skirt steak and ingredients to make a good salsa and tortillas for tacos. Life without tacos is not a life at all!” 

Adobe Grill | La Quinta Resort & Club, a Waldorf Astoria Resort
49499 Eisenhower Dr
La Quinta, CA 92253
760.564.5700

Savor the Salt La Quinta Food Scene

Andie Hubka | Executive Chef, Cork & Fork

Andie Hubka, Executive Chef of Cork & Fork wine bar, specializes in farm-to-table small plates like filet mignon tacos. “I feel everything needs to look as good as it tastes and that means painting food with colorful and flavorful sauces and garnishing to create pops of color that make the dish stand out to the eye. When someone tells me they visited our restaurant three times on vacation, it’s pretty rad,” Hubka says. Go-to ingredient? “I’m a salt fanatic, so everything is well-seasoned. Adding pops of salinity and acidity to every dish makes it special and craveable.” 

Cork & Fork
47875 Caleo Bay Dr, Ste A106
La Quinta, CA 92253
760.777.7555

Sip It Good

Brian Dewberry | Head Bartender and Lounge Supervisor, Morgan’s in the desert

Brian Dewberry got his start bartending at Morgan’s in the desert 10 years ago. Good friend and three-time James Beard award-winning chef, Jimmy Schmidt, made Dewberry the bartender and taught him that food is in art. “He always believed that a great presentation makes the food taste better because people eat with their eyes, I take the same approach with cocktails. A well crafted cocktail with fresh ingredients and garnishments makes all the difference in the world,” says Dewberry. Dewberry likes to build a drink based on the liquor the guest likes, “You tell me what spirit you like and I will craft a cocktail specialty designed for your liking.” Go-to ingredient? Different flavor bitters and a good vermouth. “La Quinta Resort & Club, A Waldorf Astoria Resort, is a desert paradise and I have met people from all over the world. And this job has everything to do with it,” says Dewberry. 

Morgan’s in the desert | La Quinta Resort & Club, a Waldorf Astoria Resort
49499 Eisenhower Dr
La Quinta, CA 92253
760.564.5700

Secret Chili Sprinkles

Chris Chmielak | Owner, RD RNNR Libations Pints & Plates

Fresh on the Coachella Valley culinary scene, RD RNNR Libations Pints & Plates opened in November 2019, playing up a roadrunner theme with pecks and bites for all day-grazing, such as the Pavo Taco Salad. Owners Chris and Anita Chmielak wanted a casual, light and bright crafted American dining experience. “We try to utilize the most fresh and local ingredients, partnering with Madison Street Produce just 10 minutes away in Indio for asparagus, corn, bell peppers and cabbage,” Chris Chmielak says. Go-to ingredient? A house blend of five chili spices appropriately named “Runner Dust” that guests will find on every table in the dining room. “We have a secret recipe on the ratio mixture, but basically, its enhanced flavor with medium heat. We like food that has a kick to it.” 

RD RNNR Libations Pints & Plates
78075 Main Street, Ste 105
La Quinta, CA 92253
442.400.3255