Cooking with Chef Todd
June 28, 2005
Piñon Plaza Executive Chef Todd Boerner hails from Marshall, Minn., and attended South St. Paul High School in So. St. Paul, where he lettered as a forward on the hockey team. He furthered his education by attending the Dakota Counts Vo-Tech School in Rosemount, Minn., completing a two-year food service program and the Rodridge & Rodridge Management Seminar.
I got my start in the culinary arts by cooking breakfast at the Pannancuen Huis (Pancake House), working my way through high school. After high school, I started an apprenticeship at the Radisson Hotel in St. Paul, working in all areas of the kitchen. My favorite job was garde manager, and I am especially proud of my unique displays created as an accomplished ice carver.
Moving west to Southern California in 1982, I became the AM/saucier at the Port Royal in Oxnard. In the summer of 1984, I opened a new property, the Harbor Town Hotel in Ventura, setting up all banquets, and in two years. I advanced to executive chef.
Next stop was at the banquet at the Red Lion in Santa Barbara. There I felt there were too many general managers, and when there was an opening for chef de partie at the Ojai Valley Inn, I took the position.
Having enjoyed skiing at Lake Tahoe for several winters, I decided to move there and opened as chef at Spatz.
When the owner sold Spatz, I came to work for Clark Russell at the Station Grill. In 1995, I helped open the Piñon Plaza, and in March 1999, asked to be transferred over to the Piñon Plaza Resort as executive chef. One of the first challenges was opening a new steakhouse.
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In the kitchen, I prefer to use all fresh products, especially in my fish entrees, ordering carefully so that turnover is frequent. Although I prefer to live in Nevada, I feels my best education was from Southern California, where I was able to learn hands on, setting new trends in the art of cooking.
One of Clark Russell’s favorite Steakhouse dishes, as well as mine, is Seafood Cioppino. I broke down my recipe to feed eight people instead of our usual, which is meant for 50.
This Cioppino recipe is time consuming and better if left to the professionals so come and see us at the Steakhouse on Friday nights. Another one of my favorites is the bone-in New York steak served with my mom’s special calico beans and string onion rings in the Chuck Wagon Grill.
1/4 cup olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 fresh red chili pepper, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried thyme
1-28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1-8 oz. can tomato sauce
1/2 cup water
1 pinch paprika
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1 cup white wine
1 lobster stock
16 large scallops
16 jumbo shrimp
24 little neck clams
8 oz. of white fish; i.e., snapper and halibut
16 dungeness crab legs
1. In a large pot over medium heat, heat the olive oil and sauté the onion, garlic, bell pepper and chili pepper until tender. Add parsley, salt and pepper, basil, oregano, thyme, tomatoes, tomato sauce, water, paprika, cayenne pepper and juice from the clams. Stir well, reduce heat and simmer 1 to 2 hours, adding wine and stock a little at a time.
2. In sauté pan cook all ingredients until about half-way cooked and add sauce (step 1), cook for approximately 7 minutes and serve with garlic bread.
This Cioppino recipe is time consuming and is better if left to the professionals so come and see us at the Steakhouse on Friday nights. Another one of my favorites is the bone-in New York steak served with my mom’s special calico beans and string onion rings in the Chuck Wagon Grill.
n Chef Todd Boerner hails from Marshall, Minn., and attended So. St. Paul High School in So. St. Paul, where he lettered as a forward on the hockey team. He furthered his education by attending the Dakota Counts Vo-Tech School in Rosemount, Minn., completing a two-year food service program. Chef Boerner also completed the Rodridge & Rodridge Management Seminar.