This past fall, five executive chefs from across the country gathered together in San Tan Valley, Arizona for the BlueStar Chef Symposium.  They spent three full days and nights creating, cooking, collaborating, and coming up with fabulous new dishes to add to the menus of the Trilogy restaurants that are managed by BlueStar Resort & Golf (BSRG).

The symposium was informative and enlightening.  First, the chefs shared with each other the tried and true dishes that have received rave reviews from their members.  Since each BSRG restaurant has a different menu, sharing successful dishes was a tremendous opportunity for the chefs to discover new recipes that may become big hits at their own restaurants.  The chefs then leveraged their skill sets and their diverse culinary perspectives to develop entirely new recipes for their menus.  They played with ingredients and took inspiration from each other’s vast kitchen experiences to come up with new tastes and textures for their menu items.  By the end of this marathon menu session, our incredible executive chefs developed a core menu of 55 outstanding dishes that will be shared with all BlueStar managed restaurants in the coming year.

Some of the dishes that Trilogy members can look forward to tasting in the year ahead include:

  • Cuban Nachos with slow roasted pork, black beans, cilantro cream, plantains & smoky jalapenos
  • Tuna Tostadas with avocado, cucumber, mango and a jalapeno ginger BBQ sauce
  • Short Rib Tacos with jicama slaw, pickled onion, cilantro chimichurri & ranchero beans
  • Classic White Artisan Wood-Fired Pizza with mozzarella, ricotta, spinach, garlic, crushed red peppers, finished with EVOO
  • Eggplant & Quinoa Fritters with ginger glazed broccolini, Asian romesco & coriander peanut salad
  • Maple Brined Pork Chops with creamed sweet corn & wood-roasted peaches
  • Lacquered Salmon with wasabi potatoes, stir fried vegetables, soy glaze, & sushi ginger
  • Vegetable Lasagna with grilled squash, roasted peppers, greens, white sauce, & three cheeses
  • Chocolate Fudge Explosion with candied orange zest

Perhaps what was most interesting – and inspiring – about this gathering of culinary greats was the chefs’ ability to put their egos aside to create through collaboration.  Ego is often a key part of a successful chef’s DNA.  Confidence in the kitchen leads to excellence on the plates.  But for this symposium, they truly left their egos at the door.  They listened and learned from one another to create exciting new dishes for the next round of menus.

The following executive chefs worked together at the BSRG Chef Symposium to develop the fantastic menus that will be rolled out for the Trilogy members in 2016.

Charles Weber, Executive Chef of Adelina’s Bistro, Trilogy at Monarch Dunes
Chef Charles Weber’s culinary background is strongly rooted in French classic technique, but his cooking mentality is cutting edge.  He has spent many years developing his own flair with upscale American cuisine featuring regional culinary practices. He emphasizes cooking with the seasons and introducing seasonal products into a constantly evolving menu. His personal love for seafood often dominates his menus, which meshes well with his seasonal approach.

Chef Weber has opened restaurants to critical acclaim and has joined prestigious teams at longstanding culinary fixtures coast to coast.  His experience in Napa Valley was especially influential.  There Chef Weber expanded his culinary horizons with Spanish and Latin American cuisines, while also embarking on wine making adventures with friends who are top wine makers in the valley.   We are so pleased to have Chef Weber leading the kitchen of Adelina’s Bistro at Trilogy Monarch Dunes.

Michael Hoobler, Executive Chef of Bistro 1528, Encanterra
There are many chefs who credit their families with jump-starting their love for the business, but few started as early or showed as much dedication as Chef Michael Hoobler.  When he was just 11 years old, his parents opened an upscale supper club, Melody Lane, in Sun City, Arizona. He started out washing dishes in the restaurant’s kitchen, then moved on to peeling vegetables and cracking eggs, and finally graduated to the “hot line,” working the grill and the griddle – all before the age of 15.

Over time, Chef Hoobler worked his way up through the kitchen hierarchy, all the while studying classical techniques from his growing cookbook library.  His career included stops at the Palmbook Country Club, the Crescent Hotel, Steamers, and Oyster Grill.  In 1996, he developed the wildly popular T. Cook’s restaurant at the Royal Palms, then left to open his own establishment, Valencia Lane.  He eventually returned to the hotel world where he was first a sous-chef at the Arizona Biltmore Hotel & Spa, and was then named executive chef at the Boulders Resort & Golden Door Spa. We are now thrilled to have Chef Hoobler leading the kitchen of Bistro 1528 at Encanterra, A Trilogy Resort Community.

Bobby Henningsen, Executive Chef of V’s Taproom, Trilogy at Vistancia
Chef Bobby Henningsen is a native Arizonan whose father is a restaurateur. He has worked in restaurants since his childhood, and has been crafting top-ranked, artisan pizzas for nearly 15 years.  Chef Henningsen spent three full months crafting the authentic, homemade pizza dough that is used in every single one of V’s Taproom’s pizzas. “It needed to be perfect. I wanted dough that was based on a traditional style, but had a few secret ingredients mixed in to keep people guessing,” says Henningsen.  He also emphasized the importance of using a wood-fired pizza oven to lock in that authentic flavor. “There’s a fine art to managing the wood-fired pizza method, especially when you’re cooking multiple pizzas, rotating them, and adding wood to the fire.  It takes precise timing and coordination, and I believe we’ve built the perfect method for pizza crafting.”

When asked what his favorite aspect of working at V’s Taproom is, Chef Henningsen says, “I love this environment, and I love knowing many of our customers by name. Every day is new and exciting, plus I have an outstanding view of the golf course every day.”  We are happy to have Chef Henningsen at the helm of V’s Taproom.

Randy Lutz, Executive Chef of Café D’Oro, Trilogy at The Vineyards
Chef Randy Lutz became Executive Chef of Café D’Oro at Trilogy at The Vineyards in August of 2014, and he has been wowing the members ever since with his culinary creativity. Prior to coming to Trilogy, Chef Lutz was Executive Chef of the Michelin star rated ‘Ame’ restaurant at the iconic St. Regis Hotel. He also earned a coveted “Best 30 Under 30” award from Zagat, and was even a guest judge on the season finale of Hell’s Kitchen with Chef Gordon Ramsay.  When asked to describe his culinary point of view, Chef Lutz says, “I try to procure the freshest ingredients I can find. When you start with something great, you don’t need much to create an amazing dish.”

Chef Lutz has been fortunate to be mentored by some of the best chefs and food & beverage operators in the Bay area – and now the Trilogy at The Vineyards members are fortunate to have him leading the Culinary Team at Café D’Oro.

Danny Pine, Executive Chef at Bear Lake Reserve
Chef Danny Pine’s career and education in Culinary Arts & Science began at the Culinary Academy of Long Island in New York.  During the course of his studies he trained under Chef Nick Di Marfio. Chef Pine has also trained under a former sous chef at the Waldorf Astoria in Manhattan, and has served as Sous Chef at The Seawane Golf & Country Club in Long Island.  He has also been both Sous Chef and Chef de Cuisine at Brier Creek Country Club in North Carolina.

Chef Pine refers to his style as “Eclectic American,” with a love for all cuisine cultures and offerings.  He has successfully implemented well-rounded menus in country club settings prior to joining the team at Bear Lake Reserve.  Chef Pine is looking forward to serving our resort community, and we are so excited to have him here.

Thank you, Chefs!  We’re looking forward to a delicious year ahead!

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