The 19th Annual Chefs’ Gala: A Feast Fit for Ancient Rome

Robson Ranch Arizona recently hosted the 19th Annual Chefs’ Gala, an extravagant event showcasing the culinary talents of the Robson Resort Communities. Spearheaded by George Atwell, Vice President of Food & Beverage Operations, who also served as the master of ceremonies for the evening, this year’s Gala transported guests to the days of Ancient Rome with its grand theme. Held in the elegant Hermosa Ballroom, the Gala was a celebration of creativity, skill, and culinary excellence in a competitive yet friendly environment.

The Chefs’ Gala provides chefs and their teams from the Robson Resort Communities with the opportunity to create a special dish complemented by a carefully selected wine pairing. In addition to the chefs’ competition, the banquet and catering staff from participating communities decorated their respective serving areas reflecting the Ancient Rome theme. Throughout the evening, guests sampled each community’s dish and wine pairing, viewed the decorative presentations, and voted for their favorites. Mr. Ed Robson, Founder & Chairman of Robson Communities, and his wife, Karrin Taylor Robson, were also in attendance, adding to the excitement of the event.

The decorative presentation was a significant element of the competition. Quail Creek, under the direction of Epifania Torres, Director of Banquets and Events for the community, emerged as the winner, showcasing a stunning and captivating display that added an extra layer of elegance.

The pinnacle of the evening was the announcement of the highly coveted Chefs’ Gala award, which went to Robson Ranch Arizona’s dynamic duo, Chefs Marco “Maximus” Morando and Stephen “Spartacus” McVeigh. Their winning creation, a tantalizing Butcher’s Cut Steak topped with a buttery Flambé Cognac sauce and served with French Fondant Potatoes, was a standout.

The Gala also featured a variety of crowd-pleasing dishes, including:

• SaddleBrooke Ranch’s Seared Rack of Lamb with Goat Cheese and Lemon Whipped Potatoes, Cilantro and Mint Pesto with a Blackberry Demi (Chefs Jeremy Imes, Teddy Macaluso, and Daniel Davis)

• Quail Creek’s Duck Duet: Duck Confit Parmentier with Carrots, Eggplant, Foie Gras, and velvety Yukon Potatoes served along with Seared Duck Breast and Cherry Wine Reduction with Couscous Risotto (Chef Aris Cabrera)

• PebbleCreek’s Astakomakaronada Lobster Marinara, Angel Hair Pasta, Fresh Herbs, and Lemon Prosciutto Wrapped Scallops, Balsamic Pearls Tinned Fish Platter, Trout Croquettes, Tzatziki Sauce, and Idaho Mash (Chefs Thomas DeWitt and Shanen Young)

• Robson Ranch Texas’s Candied Bacon Spanakopita and Braised Pork Gyro with Cucumber Tzatziki (Chefs Grant Kester and Ashkan Moeinearghi)

The 19th Annual Chefs’ Gala was a testament to the culinary expertise and creativity of the Robson Resort Communities, highlighting the exceptional skills of its chefs and the dedication of its banquet and catering teams.