Local resident/chef gets past wins at Pechanga

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Wayne Quintos, head chef at The Sports Stop and owner of Urban Catering Co., won 2nd and 3rd place at the 8th annual So-Cal Chef Open on October 26 at the Pechanga Resort and Casino. Thirteen area chefs competed in the event to help raise money for the athletic programs at the Oak Grove Center in Murrieta, a non-profit public school and treatment facility for at-risk and special needs youth.

In addition to Wayne, representing his Urban Catering Co., chefs competing in the event were from Trattoria Toscana, Heart of the House Catering, Leoness Cellars, Monte De Oro Winery, The Meritage at Callaway, Tabu Sushi, Devilicious, Journey’s End, Temecula Catering, Anthony’s Lounge & Ristorante, Provecho Mexican Grill and Fresco’s Trattoria.

The Pinnacle Top Chef Award winners were selected by a panel of chefs and food experts who judge for taste, creativity and presentation. Wayne took 2nd place in this category.

The People’s Choice Awards were decided by those in attendance at the event. Wayne took 3rd in this category.

His entries were Poke and Loco Moco. The Poke ingredients were sushi grade ahi tuna, organic tamari soy, toasted sesame oil, macadamia nuts, fresh mango, chives, shishito peppers, sambal, ginger, avocado aioli, wasabi furikake, radish and micro cilantro.

The Loco Moco ingredients were sous vide beef tenderloin, porcini mushroom risottto, truffle cream gravy, sunny quail egg, crispy shallots and micro arugula.

Wayne says he has been a professional chef for the past 16 years. Two years ago, he started his own catering company, the Urban, specializing in contemporary Asian, regional American and Pacific Rim cuisines. He’s also proficient in European, Latin and Mediterranean cuisines.

In 2004, Wayne was awarded a gold medal for culinary excellence by the American Tasting Institute and, in 2005, he was given the Rising Star Chef award by the Southern California Restaurant Writers Association.

That same year, he and the bistro where he worked were featured in a five-page spread in Inland Empire Magazine. He’s also been on several culinary TV shows, including “Let’s Dine Out” with Allen Borgen and Elmer Dills’ restaurant reviews.

Wayne says his grandmother had a very successful restaurant in the Philippines that his parents helped run, so he remembers spending a lot of time there.

“Being in the environment of foodservice has always comforted me and I wanted to learn more about it,” he says. “The thought of being able to make something from raw ingredients that is beautiful to look at, taste, smell, feel was something I wanted to be a part of. I credit my grandma and my mom for teaching me some basics; but for the most part, I am a self-taught chef who has worked all facets of restaurants from quick casual to fine dining.”

The two ingredients Wayne has found to be the most important are hospitality and seasonality.

Wayne has worked under great chefs in downtown Los Angeles and premier hotels around Southern California. He is former chef of the Gambling Cowboy in Old Town Temecula, but now enjoys cooking at what he calls “the most popular restaurant/pub in this area, the Sports Stop Pub & Grill.” The Sports Stop was rebuilt bigger and better than ever after it was burned to the ground in a 2009 fire.

“At the Sports Stop we make pizza by hand, gourmet burgers and seafood dishes such as seared ahi and steamed clams,” says Wayne. “Along with appetizer favorites such as wings and onion rings, we also have healthier options such as roasted whole artichoke and sautéed mushrooms. We also boast hand-cut steaks, pastas, kid’s menu and breakfast.”

He adds, “I am proud of what I have become in the community – but most of all, who I’ve become and that is a husband and a father. My wife and my kids will always be what drives me to be the best I can be, and one of these days, maybe sooner than later, I will have my own restaurant to funnel in all of my experience, ideals, goals and dreams.”

Follow Wayne Quintos on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at therubancateringco, or call him at 909-261-7420.

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Sharon Rice