Meet Temecula Creek Inn Executive Chef Matthew Steffen. Chef Matthew’s love of farm fresh flavors and signature twists on traditional favorites bring a new energy and excitement to the resort’s menus, from Cork|Fire Kitchen to banquets and weddings.Chef Matthew started his career at the age of 15 with a dishwashing job at a Sheraton Hotel in Minot, North Dakota. His love for food grew from there, but after graduating high school he put restaurant work on hold to serve in the Navy. While stationed in Pearl Harbor, he was introduced to fresh seafood and global cuisines that would shape his palate and push him to pursue a culinary career.
After his tour in the Navy, Matthew started as a prep cook at the Flying V Bar and Grill at Loews Ventana Canyon Resort in Tucson, Arizona. His passion and talent led him up the ranks, culminating in a position as chef de cuisine in less than four years. From there, he worked at three more AAA Four-Diamond resorts: Arizona Biltmore Resort and Spa, Wigwam Golf Resort and Spa, and most recently the Woodmark Hotel and Spa in Kirkland, Washington, where he was the executive chef for the past five years.
At Temecula Creek Inn, Chef Matthew will be provide refreshing updates to menus using the freshest ingredients with state of the art cooking techniques and stress teamwork in the kitchen to elevate the performance of the entire staff.
When not crafting memorable menus at Temecula Creek Inn, Chef Matthew enjoys spending time with his family and is looking forward to exploring all Southern California’s wine country has to offer, from cuisine to the great outdoors.
Temecula Creek Inn’s Chef de Cuisine of Cork|Fire Kitchen, Darrell MacNeil, grew up in Pennsylvania’s famous Allentown – a city whose culinary offerings have been shaped by the great diversity of the area’s population. Hispanic, Asian and European influences abound. At sixteen, Darrell found his place in the kitchen at Café Terra Cotta in Tucson. He quickly transitioned through the ranks; from Prep Cook to Line Cook, then Sous Chef and on to Chef de Cuisine and Executive Chef at various restaurants in California. With each step – experiencing, learning and growing through his career – which is now 25 years and counting.
Chef Darrell attended school at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts Minneapolis/Saint Paul where he learned both contemporary and classic cooking methods, building on the practical skills already developed in working kitchens. Chef Darrell’s drive and effort earned him an Associate in Applied Science degree.
Darrell grew up eating Chicken Paprikas Nokedli on his birthday. This Hungarian dish is similar to German spaetzli. Always fond of fresh vegetables as an adult, Chef recalls not being a fan of asparagus or cauliflower as a kid. Eating great produce and protein is a must in Darrell’s mind. He can be found at local farmer’s markets, looking over the freshest seasonal vegetables and chatting with purveyors. Knowing where his food comes from is something very important to Darrell and another example of how he connects with ingredients he uses in the kitchen.
For breakfast at home, Darrell likes his eggs over-easy with cilantro, jalapeno and hummus on an English muffin or hearty whole grain bread. For inspiration Darrell will open a dialogue with his team, bouncing ideas off each other in an open, collaborative process. Flipping through cookbooks, experiencing the great outdoors and painting contribute to his creative process.
Darrell is now in his 2nd year in the kitchen at Cork Fire Kitchen.