Back To Previous Page

Innovative Chefs Cook Up Unique Culinary Creations in Temecula Valley

Saturday, November 18, 2017 12:00 PM by Annette Brown

Temecula Valley’s restaurant scene is a hub for artisanal eats, innovative flare, locally-sourced ingredients, and unique menu options. The region features a wealth of dining options, from quick bites and small plates at local eateries to sipping wine and perfect pairings while fine dining in wine country. These five Temecula Valley top chefs are bringing the best of their culinary creations to Temecula Valley. Their A-game is heating up a restaurant scene that’s begging to be discovered. Visitors can plan a mid-week trip to Temecula Valley to try out the region’s culinary creations and innovative chef recipes without the crowds, while exploring the restaurants of Wine Country, Old Town Temecula, and Pechanga Resort and Casino. 

Leah Di Bernardo, E.A.T. Marketplace

As owner and executive chef of E.A.T. Marketplace, located in Old Town Temecula, Leah Di Bernardo features the seasonal offerings of regional farms and ranches with an emphasis on clean eating. Leah believes that everyone, no matter their diet restrictions, deserves good, delicious food. E.A.T. Marketplace supports traditional, paleo, gluten free, and plant based diets. With a passion for food education, supporting local, small farms, and a love for great food, Chef Leah helps set the bar for Temecula restaurant standards.

Jason Rivas, Cork Fire Kitchen

From humble beginnings as a steward to Chef de Cuisine at Cork Fire Kitchen, Chef Jason Rivas is the most recent addition to the culinary team at Temecula Creek Inn. With 10 years of experience, formal training at the Scottsdale Culinary Institute (currently Le Cordon Bleu of Scottsdale), two-time certification by the American Culinary Foundation, and Level 1 Sommelier achievement, Chef Rivas has a passion for California Modern Cuisine, local, sustainable products, and authenticity in his expertise. 

Gerry Kent, PUBlic House

PUBlic Restaurants offer an ever-changing, seasonal, “farm to table” menu that complements the moods of the seasons. Their menus are inspired by Gerry Kent, an award winning chef and restaurateur, who envisioned the profound role restaurants play in patron’s lives: “[Restaurants] create food that fits how you are feeling… [with] what’s available.”  With a strong focus on the feelings and emotions food pairings create, Chef Gerry Kent keeps his menu creative and inspirational, using local, organic ingredients when available. 

Daragh Matheson, The Restaurant at Leoness Cellars

With a globe-trotting resume detailing 30 years of intensive from scratch culinary experience, Dublin-born Chef Daragh Matheson, of The Restaurant at Leoness Cellars, is contagiously passionate about his craft. His industry experience ranges from Chef de Partie to Pastry Chef, mastering both the savory and pastry world during his tutelage from some of the world’s greatest chefs and Michelin-nominated restaurants.  The Restaurant at Leoness Cellars was recently voted #1 Winery Restaurant by USA Today’s 10 Best Reader’s Choice for the second year in a row.

Marlene Moore, Pechanga Resort & Casino

Originally from Trinidad and Tobago, Pechanga Resort & Casino Chef, Marlene Moore, commands the kitchen at Temptations Food Court Kitchen, one of the resort’s numerous on-property restaurants. Her mouth-watering fried chicken has garnered plenty of praise and attention, it has been dubbed one of the 10 best fried chicken spots outside the South, while her hearty, spicy chili is also both a crowd pleaser and award winner. Marlene has been featured on TV in Los Angeles and San Diego.

For exciting details and itineraries, detailed restaurant information, and trip-planning tips, explore 

About Visit Temecula Valley
With natural gifts of climate and geography Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country is recognized for scenic vineyards, award-winning wines, and 40+ wineries. The popular, boutique destination includes the Temecula Valley A.V.A. (American Viticulture Area) as well as Historic Downtown Old Town Temecula, Pechanga Resort & Casino, and Temecula Wine Country Golf Trail.

Visit Temecula Valley is the region’s official tourism marketing organization and an online resource for visitors at Temecula Valley Visitors Center is located in Old Town Temecula (Third Street and Mercedes). For visitor information and assistance, call (888) 363-2852 or (951) 491-6085.


Author: Annette Brown

If you see, hear or read about Temecula Valley, chances are it originated from Annette. When not pitching stories, she’s is often traveling around Temecula Valley showing media the amazing people and places that make the destination an unforgettable experience. Nearly 30 years, Annette has been working in public relations and marketing. Annette joined the Visit Temecula team in 2011 and is the Director of Public Relations.