This Tuesday! General Meeting and Competition

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ACF-Chefs’ Association of Southern Arizona – “CASA”

Cordially Invites You To

Our General Session Meeting on Tuesday September 2nd, 2014

4pm – 6pm (3:45 Pre-Registration)

The Shanty

Corner of 4th Ave and 9th St.

401 E 9th St, Tucson, AZ 85705 (520) 623-2664

(Parking available in the Maloney’s parking lot on Fourth Avenue)

Meet the New Board of Directors

Learn More about CASA and Membership Opportunities

ACF-CASA Welcomes Alexander Rodarte – Solar CityTM

“The Power of Solar Energy”

Merit Foods and Key Impact – Meeting Vendor Sponsors

Old Pueblo Chicken Wing Challenge

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Competition Details and Entry Info Available at:

Enjoy the Competitors Chicken Wing Creations, Veggies and Ranch Dressing

as well as Various Beers, Drinks and Specials Available at The Shanty

Culinary Students – Free / General Admission -$5 EVERYONE WELCOME

Register here:

Limited Seating!!

The Judges


The Contestants

Bryan Douglas King – Old Chicago Deli

Donneil Perryman – Pima Community College – CTD

Jonathan Revies – The Shanty

Margie Salazar – Redemption Renewal Center

Redha Kouchit – Pima Community College – Chef Instructor

Nick Lexvold – Café a La C’art

Damien Horrocks – Rincon Market

Denise Schafer – La Indita Restaurant

Gabriel Mojarro – Caridad Community Kitchen

Meet the judges for the 1st Annual “Old Pueblo Chicken Wing Cooking Challenge!”

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  • Monica Garcia is an early riser. She’s News 4 Tucson Today’s Morning Reporter and MMJ. This San Diego transplant has her eye on the Tucson community and our regions culture. When she’s not reporting, she’s enjoying the eclectic border cuisine around town. You can catch her stories on Tucson Today and in the 4pm newscast.
  • Rob Betancourt, known in the industry as Rob Base, has been producing signature events for years.  The unorthodox method of his business marketing is trendsetting and his “business – meet pleasure” events that take place year round in three markets help companies increase revenue, market share and reach.  Over the last couple of years, the team at Main and Mace Public Relations (MMPR) has produced “Women & Wine Wednesday”, “Boys, Brews & Business” and their introduction into the food and craft beer arena, “Arizona Bacon Fest.”  In 2015, Rob will unveil two more signature concepts to add to the group’s already busy repertoire.  On September 13th, Rob will also launch his first hard publication, “Livewire” Entertainment magazine, with a free public party at the famous Rialto Theatre on 2nd Saturday.
  • Erika Bostick is one of the amazing chefs of The Coronet, a brasserie style restaurant featuring “old world rustic cuisine” at the southern end of historic Fourth Avenue. A Tucson native, Erika has worked at various food locations in Tucson, including California Pizza Kitchen, Sparkroot and REILLY Craft Pizza and Drink. She brings both an artistic style and great dynamic energy to the downtown food scene.

Be sure to drop by The Shanty on Tuesday, September 2nd from 4-6pm to enjoy the ACF-CASA meeting and competition.

A Reflection on Chef Gino Marinelli


Remembering Chef Gino
by Lilia Cassady

The first time I met Gino Marinelli was at a food Show in the year 2000.  I was a Junior chef who volunteered to help in a competition. Gino entered his Seafood Cioppino Stew and won First Place! We both became members of CASA (Chefs Association of Southern Arizona) that year and became very involved. I volunteered to be the  Junior Chair and Gino became the Vice President. Gino was a great supporter of the CASA Junior Chef/Student program. When the Junior Chef Team need a place to practice,  Gino graciously let us use his restaurant, Roma Caffe, to practice. When I competed, Gino always sponsored me and I felt like he always had my back. He was always there for me.

Gino became my mentor, friend and a brother who accepted me for who I was. He was a huge supporter and encouraged me to better myself.  I wanted to start my own catering. Most people tried to discourage me and said I couldn’t do it, but  Gino was different. He offered help and encouragement. He made me feel special and talented. Most importantly, he believed in me! He helped me get my catering license by letting me use his restaurant as the premises.  I was so happy to have my own business. I had come a long way from being a single Mom from the Phillipines who did not speak English when I came to this country!  When I needed help or advice, Gino was always there.  It was a joy to work with with him and his mom Carmella, “Mama” in the restaurant. He would sing Italian songs, talk about movies he enjoyed and playfully tease “Mama”. When “Mama” showed me how to make her lasagna and tiramisu, he told me “the only reason she is showing you, Lilia, is because you are part of our family”. That meant so much to me.

Besides helping me,  Gino loved making a difference in the community. He participated in the Italian Festival at St. Elizabeth Church, CASA cooking demonstrations at the Oro Valley Art Festival, Tucson Original Wine Tasting at Ventana Canyon Resorts and Children’s Miracle Network Event at La Encantada. He made gingerbread houses for Marana Elementary School and donated food to them when asked. He hosted a bake sale at Roma Caffe that raised over $1000 for the Children’s Miracle Network. I could go on and on, but there are too many acts of kindness to name all.

Gino’s pride and joy was his beautiful wife, Stephanie and his lovely daughter, Giovanna. Of course, chefs all know that when you own a restaurant, you are married to it also! Gino strived to build his restaurant with love and authentic home cooking from Naples where he was born. Roma Caffe had great food and a warm and caring staff. When you were there, you felt like you were home. That is how Gino wanted it and being there made you part of the “family”. I was lucky to know Gino and will miss him as will his family and friends.

End of Summer General Meeting and Chicken Wing Cooking Challenge

Summer is almost over! We hope everyone had great vacations, from school, work or otherwise.(To those who worked all summer, at least the heat will be over soon!)  To say goodbye to summer and help kick-off the fall culinary school sessions, we invite everyone to join us at our August/September General Membership Meeting. Fun, drinks, information, food and more in a relaxing setting at The Shanty. There will even be a cooking competition that you can enter!


Please head over to for more information and to register. We hope to see you all there.