Pechanga Chef at High School Culinary Club
Chef shows taste of success
February 1, 2005
By BARBARA McLEAN - The Press-Enterprise
Think teenagers and eating, and the usual conclusion is fast food. But that's not necessarily so for members of Great Oak High School's Culinary Club.
Resource specialist Julie Alderson started the club this year with about 80 students, but the core group is about 20. Of that group, five or so are interested in a career in food preparation.
"One of my loves is eating and cooking," she said. Her own 19-year-old son is in culinary school, and she said he would have benefited from a club like Great Oak's.
To inspire students, Alderson arranged to have Pechanga Resort sous-chef Daniel Warfe make a presentation to the group. Warfe's credentials impressed the students, especially when he told them he catered for Lil' Kim during the making of her music videos.
Warfe has been at Pechanga for 18 months, but he also had worked at the Playboy Mansion and did catering for movie and television production teams. He has been working around food since he was 16 years old and has a degree from the California School of Culinary Arts in Los Angeles.
His position at Pechanga puts him in charge of 500 employees, 20 kitchens and 14 restaurants. They serve from 5,500 to 10,000 people a day, according to Warfe.
His move from the glamour of showbiz to Pechanga was made after doing some research on the resort.
"They have a great mentoring program and sense of community," he said.
During the presentation, he asked the students what their favorite after-school meal was. Their answer of macaroni and cheese played right into his plan of preparing several pasta dishes for the group.
"Once you make your own marinara, you'll never go back to the jars," he told the group.
Sophomore Jareed Scatliffe watched with great interest.
"I'm here to learn how to cook for myself, and so I can help out at home," he said.
From all indications, his place might just be a great place for dinner from now on.