top of page


Chef: Ceasar Solarzano

Position: Executive Chef, Café Champagne at Thornton Winery, Temecula, CA

Instagram: @Chefceasarsolarzano

How did you get started?

I’ve been working in the food industry since I was 15 years old. I worked for a couple of catering companies, I did all the loading/unloading, dishwashing, and prep. Then I ended up cooking the meals. At age 17, I worked at a fast-food restaurant for a full year until I graduated from High School.

What was your first position?

I got my first “real” restaurant job at a well-known facility as a Dishwasher. It wasn’t long till I got promoted to Prep Cook, Pantry, Pastry, Grill, Sauté/broiler, Banquet Chef, Sous Chef, Executive Sous Chef, and finally Executive Chef.


The story behind the dish:

It reminds me of one of my first mentors who believed in me when I first started as a Sauté Line cook. The Chef showed me how to properly prepare the dishes. He also taught me the history behind them, and then it became my role to execute hundreds of these dishes in a consistent manner.


What you need:

  • 2 large stainless steel pots

Ingredients (serves 8-12):

  • 5 lbs canned diced tomatoes

  • 4 cups clam juice

  • 4 cups tomato juice

  • 1 tsp chili powder

  • 1 tsp smoked paprika powder

  • 1 tsp garlic powder

  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar

  • 1 tsp oregano

  • 1 ounce fresh minced garlic

  • 1 ounce fresh minced shallots

  • 3 bay leaves

  • 7 fresh basil

  • 20 parsley leaves

  • 6 cups champagne

  • 7 oz salmon

  • 7 oz sea bass

  • 7 oz scallops

  • 5 oz blue crab

  • 7 oz shrimp

  • 1 lbs baby clams

  • 1 lbs mussels


  • Using a stainless steel pot, sauté the garlic and shallots with canola oil, until they are translucent.

  • Add all the ingredients except the diced tomatoes and fresh herbs. Simmer for 45 minutes.

  • Add tomatoes and cook for another 15 minutes.

  • Once you shut the heat off, add the herbs.

  • In a separate pot, sauté the salmon, sea bass, scallops, blue crab, shrimp, baby clams and mussels with canola oil and salt pepper to taste.

  • Once fully cooked, add this to the pot with the sauce and mix thoroughly.

It is ok not to follow the traditional method of creating a dish, because if you believe in your creativity, it might just be the next big “bang” on your menu!

Please comment, like, or share! Let's hear your story!

Story on the Pass


Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page