The Pinnacle Restaurant at Falkner Winery. It was voted 2010 Best Restaurant and Best Chef by readers of Inland Empire.
Folks, we are in for a treat! I can vouch for just how delicious their food is. If you remember, I told all of you that my husband and I had dinner there for our 20th anniversary. I’ve been wanting to go back since. Alas, we live in Utah and Falkner Winery is in beautiful Temecula.
Everyone comfy? Okay let’s begin.
Mary: Can you both tell us a little bit about you and your background. Where you grew up and how you came to be where you are at Falkner or I should say The Pinnacle.
Angel: I was born in Sevilla, Spain. I came to college to San Diego when I was 18 years old. I have worked previously in restaurants under several top Chefs from Argentina, Spain and France. San Diego has become my second home now, I have been living in the USA for another 18 years. I worked and managed restaurants my way through college and after owning several businesses I was the GM for a winery in San Diego. My passion for food and wine always existed since my dad used to take me with him for summer trips to Portugal, France, and Italy where we used eat and sample wines even and a very early age. Due to my experience in wineries and restaurants I did several consultant projects for Mr. Falkner previously. I love the winery business I want it to work again in the same field and Mr. Falkner need it somebody to help him at the restaurant.
Chef Gianni: I grew up in Pennsylvania and started cooking when I was a teenager at my Parent’s friends restaurant. I came to Falkner from Tommy Bahama’s. I learned my trade as an apprentice for the Ritz Carlton hotel.
Mary: When we visited, the restaurant was still fairly new. However it came highly recommended. And we were not disappointed. What do you attribute your success to?
Angel: Hard work, consistency, customer service oriented, and have tall of our customers are special.
Chef Gianni: Team work, dedication to my craft, passion and focus.
Mary: I’ve been browsing your web site and I see that there are free cooking classes called “Mac & Me”. It looks to me like these are on-line. Do you also have in person classes? I bet it’s fun to help teach people. Can either of you tell us a funny story about a cooking class or wine tasting?
Angel: At this moment we do not have personal classes. I cannot remember anything of the top of my head. But I can say that cooking classes and wine tastings are always super fun and leave a great memories.
Chef Gianni: We currently do not do classes in person.
Mary: Looks like some of you need a refill, go ahead and fill your glass. Especially since my next question is about wine. When it comes to wine with your dinner, do one of you recommend something that will pair well with your guests dinner, or do your menu’s have a recommendation?
Angel: (while I am sipping some of my wine, lol) Our menu has recommendation, but I always try to make a recommendation with my food trying to find what the customer’s palate is.
Mary: I've got my wine to sip too!
Chef Gianni: All of the items we make have specific recommendations for wine which we feel enhances your senses.
Mary: I see that the winery was reviewed by The Daily Grape (I watched the video and now I’m on their newsletter and on their twitter and Facebook). I totally agreed with their assessment. They loved your Lobster Mac & Cheese. Can you share the recipe for your Lobster Mac & Cheese with us?
Angel: Chef this is all you!!!!!!!
Chef Gianni: If I shared the recipe then it would not be special for our guests, many have tried to emulate it but none have perfected it, sorry…
Mary: Oh man, that’s why I wanted the interview, LOL. Okay I’m off to try my hand out figuring it out! You have Jazz at the winery also, do either of you get involved with the concerts? Do you have dinner or lunch with them?
Angel: Jazz and BBQ don’t forget Mary the BBQ. BBQ is new this year with the Jazz the chef and I worked the menu and it has been a complete success. Sausage and peppers sandwich and the chicken skewers are to die for.
Chef Gianni: We have lunch with our Jazz, and in the yard we provide BBQ grilled food for our guests.
Mary: What do you love about living in Temecula? How would you compare it to the Napa Valley, or is there no comparison?
Angel: While I still live in San Diego wine country, Ramona that is. I am looking to move here. Can anyone compare Southern California to anything, no comparison… lol
Chef Gianni: The only comparison is it gets hot there too. I love living in Temecula I have been a resident here for 15 yrs.
Mary: Is there anything about the restaurant or winery that you’d like to tell the readers today?
Angel: The Charm of the winery and the love for the wines is an incredible feeling. Come, eat, drink and enjoy life.
Chef Gianni: Yes, We are constantly challenging ourselves to become better and provide the highest quality food and service.
Mary: The winery is charming and you do provide the highest quality, I've experienced it first hand. One last thing before I let you both return to work, what is your favorite part of your career?
Angel: The passion for food and wine
Chef Gianni: Making people Happy!
Thank you both for indulging me today. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed myself. I hope you drop back to say ‘Hi’ to all of us from time to time. When we were at the winery we tried something that sounds like the Falkner Amante. It’s been awhile so I’m not sure of the name. But it was awesome. The problem is, we live in Utah and when we find a great wine, a lot of times we can’t find it in our wine stores. This is one of them.