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These Chefs Really Know How to Spice Things Up

Written By: Charlotte Farrell Chefs in La Quinta

Nestled within the Coachella Valley, La Quinta is mostly known for its golf scene, but it has some great dining and fabulous shopping. The city is constantly growing and evolving, and the restaurant offerings are really bringing creativity to the table. In the midst of it all, there are chefs waiting to serve you a memorable dish. In our recent poll, readers voted for their favorite chefs in the area. Here are the five winners that topped the list. Bon appétit!

 

Chef Luis Arroyo at Bistro 60

Q: What is your favorite dish that you have created for the restaurant?

LA: Working with fresh fish, be it Lake Superior white fish, pan seared salmon, fresh lobster, fresh shrimp, tilapia, monkfish, halibut; this is one of my most enjoyable food groups. Depending on availability, I can design a flavorful, unusual creation with complementary starch and vegetable sides with inventive, sometimes exotic flavorful demi-glaces, sauces or coulis’. Many of our guests enjoy fish, and we love to make it in many unique ways.

Q: What inspired you to be a chef in the first place?

LA: When I was young and starting out at Kaiser Grill, I started at the bottom and learned the business. I watched everything and wanted to learn everything. I got to see how things operated from the front of the house to the back of the house, to the vendors and suppliers. I wanted to be involved in all aspects of the business from customer service, to selling, prepping in the kitchen, seeing and learning the ‘flow’ of the business each day from front to back. I worked on the line and watched the head chef and told myself one day ‘I will be a head chef!’

Q: How does it feel to be voted La Quinta’s favorite chef?

LA: ​I am thrilled that my local community cared enough to vote for me and Bistro 60. Our dining reservations have increased; the word is getting out and that is great because we will be open all summer, seven days a week delivering fresh, fun, new specials to keep our locals interested and happy. Many restaurants close for a few months in the summer. Bistro 60 does not.

Executive Chef Andie Hubka of Cork & Fork

Q: What inspires you the most when it comes to developing a dish?

Andie Hubka: Seasonality and traveling to other places, both are important to creating new dishes that work well here in the desert.

Q: How does it feel to be voted one of La Quinta’s favorite chefs?

AH: Great, we love La Quinta and are proud to be a part of the community.

Q: What is your favorite dish that you have created for the restaurant?

AH: Of all the thousands of dishes I have created over the past ten years I’d have to say my favorite (and everyone’s favorite) is our Goat Cheese Bruschetta with truffle honey, pesto and pistachios

 

Executive Chef Francisco “Paco” Solano of Solano’s Bistro

Chef Solano is a self-taught chef from Mexico City. He moved to the US at the age of 18, where he began his culinary journey as a busser and eventually made his way into the kitchen. Solano spent 12 years as the Executive Chef at The Club at PGA West before opening his own restaurant. Inspired by coastal Baja flavors, you’ll always see a catch of the day on the menu!

Executive Chef Matthew Briggs of Arnold Palmer Restaurant

Q: How does it feel to be voted one of La Quinta’s favorite chefs?

Matthew Briggs: I feel very humbled to be voted one of La Quinta’s favorite chefs. I only arrived here in La Quinta last August, and spent my first season here and to be considered one of the cities favorite chefs is an affirmation that I am achieving what I set out to do and that is to help the culinary scene in La Quinta grow and thrive.

Q: What is your favorite dish that you have created for the restaurant?

MB: My favorite creation for Arnold Palmer’s has to be the fresh Alaskan Halibut Picatta. It sounds simple and it is but the flavors are complex and the textures work well together within the dish. I had no idea when I first put it on the menu that I would get the kind of response that I have gotten from it.

Q: What inspires you the most when it comes to developing a dish?

MB: I think what inspires me the most when creating a dish, besides seasonality, is my palate. I think to myself, ‘What would I like to eat,’ and then I develop a dish that is inspired by my appetites. My appetites usually coincide with the seasons.

 

Head Chef Raul Garcia of Lavender Bistro

Q: What is your favorite dish on your menu?

Raul Garcia: The beer infused risotto with shrimp and scallops.

Q: How does it feel to be voted one of La Quinta’s favorite chefs?

RG: I feel honored of course, and excited to see Lavender Bistro recognized this way. We are going on our 10th year here in La Quinta, and it is always rewarding to see the same repeat patrons, as well as new ones that visit us. Cooking is my passion, and working with the owners (Nicolas and Michel Despras) has been nothing short of a lifelong dream to present wonderful, creative and fresh cuisine in a gorgeous setting with great staff. It all works perfectly!

Q: What is your favorite dish that you have created for the restaurant?

RG: The Madras Yellow Curry served with chicken or shrimp, jasmine-blend rice, bananas, cucumber, kumquat pineapple chutney, pappadam flatbread and roasted cashews. It’s quite amazing!

You Voted! Here Are Your Favorite Chefs in La Quinta