Chef Daniel Warfe of Pechanga Resort & Casino was busy preparing his ingredients as the students entered the Home Economics classroom at Temecula Valley High School.
The group of seniors were all advanced culinary students, many of them with aspirations of becoming professional chefs or restaurant owners someday.Chef Daniel quickly got things started with a brief introduction, telling the kids of his 25 years of experience in the culinary industry and about his duties as the main kitchen chef at Pechanga.He
then went to work demonstrating how to make a French dish called "Vol au Vent."The item is a puff pastry that one can fill with almost anything. (Its English translation means "Flying in the Wind".) To fill the pastry, Chef Daniel showed the seniors how to make Chicken Curry.He
explained some of the history of French cuisine while demonstrating the techniques in preparing the dish.As he
sautéed the items for the curry filling, he
made sure the students were informed about the proper ways of creating unique flavors in dishes by adding ingredients at just the right time.Daniel
showed them the care that professional chefs use when placing the final ingredients on a plate that will be served to guests."Not only does your entrée, vegetables, pastas, whatever, have to taste good, it needs to look good.Otherwise, your guest may not want to eat it and might not come back to your restaurant," Chef Daniel explained.
After the final plate presentation, it came time for the students to make their own chicken curry.Chef Daniel assisted with techniques while they created their own fantastic dish."I don't know who had more fun, the students or myself," said Chef Daniel.
The second period home economics class was in the process of learning all about garnishments to finished dishes.Chef Daniel was happy to stay and instruct this class on some of the finer points of presenting the most visually appealing plates of food.He
demonstrated how to use strands of lemon and orange peel in salads and with fish dishes.He
fried thinly julienned leeks and potatoes and showed them how nice they look paired with fresh parsley or daikon sprouts."It's really all about using your imaginations and being creative.This is where you get to play with your food," said the chef. Following both classes, Chef Daniel talked with many students individually who were interested in pursuing a career in the culinary arts.Advice he gave included getting as much ‘hands-on' experience as possible and if one is very serious about becoming a chef, "definitely consider culinary school," he said.
"You learn things in school that chefs in a restaurant just don't have time to or sometimes forget to show you."The teachers at Temecula Valley High School
invited Chef Daniel back for demonstrations in the fall semester which he
plans to do.Chef Daniel also encouraged the students interested in working in a fast-paced kitchen to apply at Pechanga Resort & Casino.He
mentioned that the resort is expanding, adding two new restaurant outlets (including a five-station food court), and that getting in on the ground floor of a new restaurant looks quite good on any resume. Pechanga Resort & Casino
is located at 45000 Pechanga Parkway in the beautiful Temecula Valley.