The Masonic Homes’ and Acacia Creek’s dining experience is renowned for fresh ingredients and innovative menus. At Annual Communication, ladies and guests can experience it for themselves in an exciting cook-off at the beautiful Union City campus. Buy tickets today.
Three executive chefs – one from each campus – will compete on Saturday, Oct. 10 for the title of “Top Masonic Chef.” Each will prepare a unique entrée before the audience’s eyes in a 30-minute sprint, while John Marshall, director of food services, provides colorful commentary of their techniques. Tasting portions of each dish will be served as part of a multi-course luncheon. Then, the crowd will decide the winner!
Meet the chefs:
Fernando Gaeta: Acacia Creek
Chef Gaeta’s first memory of cooking was at age nine, churning out homemade French fries on demand for his brothers. This humble beginning led to a higher artistic calling: As a culinary student, he honed his skills cooking for musicians, movie stars, and elite athletes in the open kitchen VIP Club of Los Angeles’ Staples Center. He then went on to stage some of the finest restaurants in San Francisco, including the five-star Restaurant Gary Danko. In June 2015, he took his talents to Union City, where he now brings that same flare and fine dining sensibility to the Acacia Creek kitchen. “I’m a hands-on chef and I like to be in the trenches with the staff,” Gaeta says. “I was always trained that you don’t get respect; you earn it.“
Manuel Gallardo: Masonic Home at Union City
Since joining the Union City Home two years ago, Chef Gallardo has been named Chef of the Year by the Chef’s Association of the Pacific Coast and earned a Culinary Excellence award from the American Culinary Federation. And these are just the latest in a career’s worth of accolades. “I’ve been in kitchens for 38 years,” he says. “I started working in one of my grandmother’s restaurants when I was 12.” That connection to heritage is key to his cooking style. “What inspires me is to be able to cook a meal that honors somebody’s memory of what they grew up eating,” he says. “I might never be able to match the memory of going to your grandma’s house, but if I can come close and remind you of that, then I’ve done my job.”
Michael Still: Masonic Home at Covina
Chef Still has crafted cuisine for Southern California’s most discriminating palates, from the Staples Center’s luxury boxes to the exclusive clientele of Lucques West Hollywood. For the past 12 years, he’s been thrilling palates at the Covina Home. His lobster tail is a resident favorite. “I’m inspired by all types of cuisine,” he says. “I enjoy trying new foods, then finding ways to incorporate them into new dishes. I can be inspired by a new plating of an old classic, or a technique I haven’t tried before.” He’s looking forward to channeling that creativity into the Battle of the Masonic Chefs, where he will represent the Homes’ Southern California campus. “It will be a great opportunity to meet with the other chefs,” he says. “Also, it should be pretty entertaining with John Marshall on the microphone.”
All spouses, partners, and guests of Annual Communication attendees are welcome to attend.
Tickets for this special event are limited. Purchase tickets today to reserve your place.
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