Chefs of The Chocolate Soirée

We are so proud of our amazing lineup of Featured Chefs from all over the Coachella Valley!

Christian Brennan- Mastro’s Steakhouse

                                           

Christian Brennen started his career with Mastro’s here in the Desert when they opened their doors back in 2012. Christian was initially employed as a line cook but quickly moved through the ranks. Taken under the wing of the executive chefs before him, his hard-work and dedication saw him progress through the kitchen from the pantry to the broiler. After being promoted to sous-chef, Christian assisted in the expansion of the brand by joining the “training team” which led him across the country to open new stores.  In 2017, Christian took on the role as the Executive sous-chef in the newly opened Boston location where he honed his skills and took on new challenges. No more than a year later Christian found himself back in the desert when he happily accepted his position as Executive Chef in the same location that started his career nearly seven years ago.

 

Felix Diaz- Sherman’s Deli, Bakery and Catering

                                                            

Felix Diaz is the pastry chef at Sherman’s Deli. He is from New York and of Puerto Rican descent. He has been baking for 38 years, starting in his father’s bakery. He came to Sherman’s in 1998 and is here to this day.

Pascal Lallemand- Wally’s Desert Turtle

                                             

Executive Chef Pascal Lallemand was Born and raised in Paris France. He Attended Culinary College in Le Touquet, France and learned and practiced the trade in various Hotel and Restaurants in France (Sofitel, Pavillon Dauphine, La Corbeille, Le Meridien, Golfe de Naples) before moving to the U.S.A in 1981. He started his culinary career in Austin Texas with the opening of Le Bistro D’armand and later, he became Executive chef at the Stephen F Austin, Sheraton Hotel. 
He then moved to Aspen Colorado to reopen the Hotel Jerome. After this, he spent a year on the Wind Star cruise ship in Tahiti and traveled around the Caribbean Islands. His career then took a detour in Detroit Michigan at the Saint Regis Hotel. After his time there, he returned back to Texas as the Executive chef at the Intercontinental hotel. After his time in Texas, his next move was to California as the Executive Chef at the Parker Meridien in Palm Springs. After this he met Michael Botelo at Wally’s in 2006 and took the position of Executive Chef until 2014 when he attempted retirement and seeing the world. 
Michael and Nicole had other plans for him, and we are proud to announce that he has rejoined Wally’s.

Alexander Marquez- Pinzimini

                                              

  

Alexander Marquez is the creative young Sous Chef at The Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort and Spa. Alexander first developed a passion for cooking in his grandmother’s kitchen, learning how to make American and Mexican cuisines. After graduating high school, he studied culinary arts in Cancun Mexico, furthering developing his skills in international cuisine. By the time he was 21, Alexander had already earned work experience in multiple cuisines including Mediterranean, Asian fusion and Argentinian. His experience in these environments along with working in a private restaurant lead him to his first management position at the age of 25 at the Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort.

 

Mark Roberts- Mark Roberts Catering

 

                                       

 

Since the age of five, Chef Mark Roberts has had a passion to create amazing food. At age sixteen he studied at L’Ecole Culinaire in St. Louis, Missouri. While at L’Ecole, he learned basic and advanced French techniques, as well as basic and intermediate baking techniques. He had the realization that he wanted to be a pastry chef, but after some time he learned of his true calling for the culinary side. Starting at the of age eighteen, he began his work in various kitchens, with the titles of Sous Chef and Chef de Cuisine. Now, over 12 years later, he has decided to bring his talents to the table and let everyone experience his artistry.

 Tom Satcher- The Nest

                                                              

Chef Kitamba “Tom” Satcher has been cooking professionally for 25 years, under some of the best chefs in the world. Opening Four Diamond restaurants and working with Chef Fernando Cruz, Chef of a Two Michelin Star restaurant in Spain. Chef Kitamba ran the kitchen of the world-famous restaurant, The Nest, rated top 100 restaurants in the U.S. by Opentable.com and also ran the kitchen of the of one of the prestigious Waldorf Astoria restaurants. Along the way, he picked up various cuisine techniques, such as French, Creole, Fusion, New Vous, Southwestern and Continental Cuisine. 

Dominique Valenzuela- JW Marriot Desert Springs

                                               

Chef Dominique was born and raised in La Quinta, CA. While attending La Quinta High School, he joined the four year Culinary Arts program a curriculum set forth by the California Restaurant Association and the National Restaurant Associations Educational Foundations.

Upon graduating high school, he attended the prestigious Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY where he received a Bachelor’s Degree in Baking and Pastry Arts Management. He then moved to Las Vegas, NV where he began working at restaurant ALEX at Wynn Las Vegas a two-Michelin star, Forbes 5 Star, AAA 5 Diamond, Wine Spectator Grand Award Winning restaurant. Once restaurant ALEX had closed, he transferred to the main pastry kitchen for Wynn & Encore where he produced quantity production desserts. He then took on a position at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas working under renowned Executive Pastry Chef Vincent Pilon in the main pastry kitchen overseeing desserts for  five restaurant outlets and all special occasion cakes for the casino/hotel. He then took on the Pastry Sous Chef position under the direction of Executive Pastry Chef Salvatore Martone at MGM Grand Las Vegas overseeing both Joel Robuchon restaurant – a three-Michelin star, Forbes 5 Star, AAA 5 Diamond, Wine Spectator Grand Award Winning Restaurant, and L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon – also a Michelin starred restaurant.

Dominique eventually returned home as the Executive Pastry Chef at the JW Marriott Desert Springs in June 2015. Currently, he manages a team of twenty two pastry cooks and bakers that  produce everything sweet throughout the resort including Mikado Restaurant, Rockwood Grill, Bluestar Lounge,  Aquafer 65, the Spa Bistro, Oasis Pool, In Room Dining, T&T Innovation Kitchen and Banquet & Events. He also maintains a close working relationship with La Quinta High School in assisting with a variety of collaborative projects with the students at the culinary academy. Recently he has also partnered with Rancho Mirage High School, seeking to build a steady relationship in mentoring, advising, and job placement for aspiring students.