New chef juices up culinary team at Pechanga Resort and Casino

New chef Krystle Schenk takes over the Garde Manger restaurant at Pechanga Resort and Casino. Courtesy photo
New chef Krystle Schenk takes over the Garde Manger restaurant at Pechanga Resort and Casino. Courtesy photo

Jessica Newton

Special to Valley News

Pechanga Resort & Casino, the No. 1 casino in the U.S. voted by readers of USA Today in 2015, has just named Krystle Schenk as the new Garde Manager chef. With the resort casino’s $285 million expansion underway, hiring managers are bringing on 350 new food and beverage team members, causing a shift in management and the need for additional chefs.

Schenk has been with Pechanga since 2010, starting off as a line cook in the production kitchen and quickly promoting to other positions at the Pechanga Buffet, Kelsey’s and Garde Manger before she became its head chef. Before Pechanga, Schenk worked in the kitchen at a popular international hotel chain for five years and honed her best cooking techniques. She went to culinary school at The Art Institute of California at Orange County immediately after graduating high school, as she has thoroughly enjoyed the art of cooking since she was a child. Outside of being a master chef, Schenk enjoys spending time with her husband and their 7-year-old son and cooking together.

Pechanga is currently under a $285 million resort expansion set to open at the end of the year. It includes the addition of 568 rooms and suites, 70,000 additional square feet of indoor event space, a luxury, two-story spa and salon, a 4 and one-half-acre resort pool complex and two new restaurants. This spring, Pechanga celebrated the grand opening of the brand-new 2,400-space parking garage, featuring 44 electric vehicle charging stations and three Tesla Superchargers and marking the completion of the first phase of the expansion. Enough solar to power 100 homes along with a moving sidewalk to the casino entrance will be added to the new east parking garage this fall.

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