[Chef Talk]

Sharing sofrito and other secrets with Chef Daniel Concepcion

Find this guy at Hank’s, Terra Verde, or any of nine other eateries at Green Valley Ranch Resort.
Photo: Christopher DeVargas

Green Valley Ranch Resort assistant executive chef Daniel Concepcion calls the shots at 11 different food and beverage outlets around his property, and he loves it. “It’s awesome,” he says. “I spend a lot of time in the steakhouse (Hank’s) and the Italian room (Terra Verde), our fine-dining restaurants, but then you might find me in banquets or the oyster bar, too.” Originally from New York City, Concepcion has been cooking in Vegas since 1995, and now there’s nowhere he’d rather be. “There are days when I come home exhausted, but I’ve never had a day when I put my head down on the pillow and think I didn’t accomplish something today.”

Knives of choice: Chroma “Chromas are designed by the guy who designs at Porsche. They use 301 Japanese steel, one of the hardest materials used to make blades, and they’re lightweight. The handle is very different … it’s more natural, almost like an ergonomic keyboard. They’re amazing. I’ve been using them for nine years.”

Most soulful ingredient: sofrito “When we do family meal, I’m always making hearty, homemade Latin food. Sofrito is more of a Latin-Caribbean thing, a combination of culantro, which has a spicier taste than cilantro, bell peppers, onions, tomato, garlic and other seasonings. That’s the base for rice and beans, a lot of chicken dishes, soups, anything.”

Favorite after-hours hangout: Balboa Pizza Company (The District, 407-5273) “When we do events in the summer, the days are long: 8 a.m. until midnight, at least. We finish up here and then go to Balboa’s for good pizza, good appetizers, lots of drinks and just a chance to relax, wind down and get ready for the next day. You don’t even have to tell anybody. After a night like that, they know to just go to Balboa’s.”

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