Show 175, June 11, 2016: Damien Stanley, Executive Sous Chef, Pechanga Resort & Casino

Danian StanleyChef Damien Stanley is the Executive Sous Chef at the Pechanga Resort & Casino. He’s responsible for creating the initial menu for the newest, full-service restaurant at Pechanga, the well-received Umi Sushi & Oyster Bar.

With his promotion Chef Stanley turned the sushi mat and chopsticks at Umi over to Kiyokuni Ikeda (ex-Morimoto.)

Umi means “sea” in Japanese. On the extensive menu are sushi, sashimi, nigiri, rolls, oysters on the half shell, seafood platters, specialty cocktails and so much more.

Chef Stanley held the Pechanga chili crown for two years in 2015 and 2014. He’s not competing this year but will provide an expert’s overview for us of the nine chef-created chilies in competition for 2016.

Chef Stanley will also give us a hint about the two new full-service restaurants which will be part of the current, in-the-works expansion. One will be a poolside bar and grill adjacent to the new Las Vegas-style resort pool deck.



Show 110, February 14, 2015: Damian Stanley, Executive Sous Chef, Pechanga Resort & Casino Continues…

Umi Sushi and Oyster Bar at Pechanga Resort and CasinoChef Damian Stanley is the always on the move Executive Sous Chef at the Pechanga Resort Casino in Temecula. Since the hotel tower and casino opened in 2002 at Pechanga they have enjoyed an outstanding reputation for the quality and diversity of their food and beverage offerings.

Chef Damian was the project manager for one of their newest interactive fine-dining spots, Umi Sushi and Oyster Bar. which launched after Thanksgiving in 2013. Umi means “sea” in Japanese. Sushi, sashimi, nigiri, rolls, oysters on the half shell, seafood platters, specialty cocktails and lots more are on the varied menu at Umi Sushi and Oyster Bar.

Three highly skilled Japanese sushi chefs (actually from Japan) are part of the culinary team. It’s an interactive and highly entertaining experience with the sushi chefs if you dine at the sushi bar.

There is a hint of the South on the menu, too. Look for gumbo and jambalaya. The specialty bouillabaisse has clams, fish, shrimp, scallop, and mussels in the hearty seafood broth.

A standout dish is the Bone Marrow Lobster with pear, tatsoi salad, celery root skordalia and black truffle vinaigrette.


Show 31, June 15, 2013: Dining with Jet and Producer Andy

The new dining room of Spago Beverly HillsChef Jet and Producer Andy have been doing some noteworthy dining around…

Jet recently experienced the renovated Spago Beverly Hills which remains one of the bastions of fine dining in the West. The new look is more retro in the style of AMC’s “Mad Men” series. The servers are smartly attired in vests with ties.

Serving portions are by the numbers. One’s are the appetizers. Two’s are small plates and Three’s are big plates which you can share. Standouts for Jet are the grilled corn agnolotti and the veal steak tartar. Expensive but worth it…

Connie & Ted's in West HollywoodProducer Andy reported on the new Connie & Ted’s on Santa Monica Blvd. in WeHo. This is Celebrity Chef Michael Cimarusti’s (Providence) greatly anticipated East Coast / New England-style seafood “shack” with his front of the house partner from Providence, Donato Poto, one of the most welcoming in the business. It’s housed in an architecturally significant new building. The front looks like a wave and the inside has the feeling of openness with an open kitchen.

Producer Andy was particularly taken with their lobster roll. You can get it hot or cold but Andy commented on the hot variation which is poached lobster served on a house-baked, toasted hot dog –style bun slathered in drawn butter. All breads and rolls are baked in-house including the oyster crackers for the three versions of clam chowder.