Lick the Plate

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  • Ashley Archer, Director of Food & Beverage at Valley View Casino & Hotel

    As Valley View Casino & Hotel Food & Beverage Director, Archer’s responsibilities as Food and Beverage Director include the oversight of the culinary division in addition to expanding to the front of the house operations. Prior to his appointment in January of 2014, Ashley was the Executive Chef, responsible for overseeing all seven of Valley View Casino & Hotel’s dining venues including the famous all-you-can-eat Maine lobster buffet. Prior to joining Valley View Casino & Hotel in 2011, Ashley was the Executive Chef at Ameristar Casino and Hotel’s East Chicago, Vicksburg and Kansas City properties as well as at the Westin Philadelphia. He is the recipient of the prestigious Mobil Four Diamond Award and is the only chef to have placed in every category at Mississippi’s state culinary competition. Archer also had a hand in the first James Beard Foundation charity event held outside of Las Vegas, in which funds were raised for culinary scholarships.

  • Matt Spencer-owner/operator at the hot new Kettner Exchange

    I took the Coaster down to Santa Fe Station on a rainy Tuesday then caught an Uber to Little Italy and the amazing new Kettner Exchange. Loved everything about this place. Killer building with a fun rooftop and solid food to back it up. We ate our way through a good chunk of the menu and were not disappointed.

    Matt Spencer and his business partner Tyler Charmin started off in the industry as club promoters in downtown San Diego who decided to invest in a nightclub, Aubergine with David Cohn, which trickled into further restaurant ventures. The Cohn Restaurant Group is still a powerful mentor to the entrepreneur restaurateurs.

    Matt and Tyler’s mission is to find what is needed in local areas to create supply in a demand market. ​For instance, the duo brought Firehouse American Eatery + Lounge to the college town of Pacific Beach, where guests could enjoy a nice meal on the beach, the only upscale option at that point besides Tower 23. Next, they created a classy, upscale wine bar in a hectic, club-focused Gaslamp District to reach a new customer that wanted to be social downtown without spending time and money in the club scene, which brought out Vin De Syrah.

    They have also created their own internal design team (San Diego Creative Media) that acts as a creative agency for Matt and Tyler’s restaurants as well as other local venues, and allows for the team to create assets and maintain quality brand control over their restaurants.

    ​Matt is also a local San Diegan who grew up in Point Loma. ​

  • Black & Blue at Valley View Casino & Hotel

    We’re sitting down with Chef Michael Knowles of Black & Blue at Valley View Casino & Hotel to check out the amazing food!

    They’ve got delicious options from chorizo wrapped sea bass to a Maine lobster tower to a mac & bleu cheese… and they were even recently voted best steakhouse. See you there!

  • Chad Cline, co-owner of the Waterfront Bar & Grill in Little Italy

    Established in 1933 the Waterfront is the oldest tavern in San Diego. Known for being a locals bar throughout the decades it has always hosted some of San Diego’s more colorful characters including fishermen, judges, and downtown office workers. The Waterfront has been in the same family since the late 1960′s when Mary Nichols took it over. Her grandsons Chad Cline and Jason Nichols are now running the show and the Waterfront is more popular than ever. Their solid bar food including delicious, no-frills burgers provide an old-school alternative in amongst the trendy eateries now populating Little Italy. If you stick around for last call, there is a good chance you will encounter the Cookie Monster serving up fresh baked cookies.

  • Cowboy Star Exec Chef and co-owner Victor Jimenez and Chef de Cuisine Christopher Osborne

    A graduate of Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, France, Chef Victor Jimenez has presided over some of San Diego’s most well-loved restaurants including the Gulf Coast Grill, Thee Bungalow, and JRDN in the Tower 23 Hotel. Using his imaginative palate, Chef Victor designed Cowboy Star’s original menu with a special emphasis on the meats and accompaniments that are offered to diners as well as in the butcher shop. Chef Victor Jimenez continues to redefine the culinary landscape, ensuring top quality dining for every guest.

    Chef de Cuisine Christopher Osborne knew From a young age he was destined to be a Chef. As a boy he trod the heels of his Aunt Margret Ann Smith at her fine dining establishment The Red Fox in Snowshoe, West Virginia. At nineteen he decided to join the Navy. However it quickly occurred to him that cooking was the only life he wanted. After a short stint, he returned to the kitchen in 2007 working his way up the ranks of some of Virginia Beach’s best restaurants including most notably Terrapin under Chef Rodney Einhorn. In Early 2010 Chris made the move to San Diego and joined the team At George’s California Modern where he worked under Trey Foshee as Saucier for three years. In May 2013 Chris made the leap to Sous Chef with us here at Cowboy Star.

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