Attention: All Food Fans!

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If you love food, restaurants and the culinary environment, then you should definitely attend this fantastic event. Culinary professionals from all areas of the Pima County food scene will be showcasing their talents and products during this informative function. Open to the public, these demonstrations at Pima Community College’s Desert Vista Campus will be of interest to anyone that wants to expand their knowledge of the business, pursue culinary education or just observe the various aspects of the restaurant world at work.

For more information and to volunteer, please contact

Chef Elizabeth Mikesell at or (520) 206-5128.

Attention: Future Culinarians!


Love cooking and restaurants? Interested in learning how to become a chef or baker? Want to know more about the food industry? Well, our next upcoming event is just what you’ve been looking for. Join prospective Pima Community College culinary students as they enjoy an afternoon of culinary demonstrations, industry information sessions and meet-and-greet opportunities with local food professionals. Also, you can find out information about membership in the American Culinary Federation and our local chapter, the Chefs’ Association of Southern Arizona.

Monday Nov. 17, 2014

 Time: 3pm – 6pm

Location: Pima Community College Desert Vista Campus – D126 (Center for Training and Development Culinary Arts Kitchen), Jumping Cholla Café seating area and east side of the Pueblo Building in the courtyard.

Cost: Free for everyone

(All culinarians, ACF members, current culinary students and potential program entrants are invited.)

Scheduled Demonstrations (list subject to change):

Aquaponics Fish Grill and Garden Walk Around

Ice Carving Demonstration

Garde Manger Demonstration

Cake Decorating

Beef Carcass Identification Demonstration

 Purveyor Demonstrations

Rational Cooking Systems Demonstration

      Sauté and Grilling Demonstration

      Chicken Fabrication Demonstration

     Seafood Fabrication Demonstration (with PCC organic garden and Blessing Seafoods)

   Baking and Pastry Demonstration

        Molecular Gastronomy

This event promises to be both informative and entertaining for all those who attend. If you need further information, please contact Chef Mario Diaz de Sandi, ACF-CASA president, at (520) 301-1300 or Chef Elizabeth Mikesell, PCC Center for Training and Development, at (520) 206-5128.

The Sabroso Ceviche Challenge

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Tuesday, October 28th marked the first-ever “Sabroso Ceviche Challenge” for ACF-CASA. Eight competitors from various restaurants and locations here in Tucson participated in the event. A number of different techniques and culinary styles were used to create some outstanding ceviche presentations. The judges had some hard decisions on their hands, but in the end, three entries stood above the rest.

Stay tuned for a list of the winners as well as more photos from the event…

Just in time for Halloween… the next General Session Meeting

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General Session Meeting and Challenge Tuesday October 28th, 2014

Casino Del Sol

5655 W Valencia Rd, Tucson, AZ 85757 Meeting Time – 5pm-7pm (pre-registration 4:45pm) Meeting Sponsor


Sabroso Ceviche Challenge Competition Details and Entry Info Available at: ACF-CASA Food Challenges

A special “culinary themed” mystical experience by

Michael DeSchalit

(magician, comedian and hypnotist)

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Michael is a Master Stage Hypnotist and a Multi-Award Winning Magician. He has performed in such venues as The Four Seasons Luxury Resort in Las Vegas, The RMS Queen Mary, The Prado in San Diego, The World Famous Magic Castle in Hollywood and most recently, exclusive engagements at Circus Circus Hotel and Casino and the Riviera Hotel and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip. He hosted a monthly show at the Carlsbad Village Theatre in Carlsbad California and has just returned as a featured act at the Treasure Chest Riverboat Casino in New Orleans. His Comedy Hypnosis Shows are High Energy, Vegas style shows where the volunteers become the stars of the show performing hilarious skits. You can expect to see the volunteers auditioning for a major motion picture, dancing like professional dancers, speaking in Martian; and some of them will lose their bellybuttons and forget their own names. The show is done in good taste and each of the volunteers will walk away realizing the potential they have using their subconscious mind.

To see more of his work, check out his site: Michael Deschalit

Don’t forget about our prize-filled raffle!

Culinary Students – Free / General Admission – $10


Limited Seating!!

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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.

ACF-CASA July Meeting


Our July meeting at Agustin Kitchen was an enjoyable one for all who attended. The turnout was excellent and included many culinarians and culinary students from the Tucson area.

ACF-CASA peesident, Chef Mario Diaz de Sandi, welcomed everyone and talked about the future of the organization. Current Tucson Iron Chef John Hohn talked about his experiences with the competition and gave tips to anyone interested in competing. Christy Wilson, a registered dietitian, spoke to the crowd about healthy food trends and how to apply these in the restaurant industry. Bill Bode from Shamrock Foods gave a presentation on the beef industry and supplied the proteins for the food demonstration. Agustin Kitchen Executive Chef/Owner Ryan Clark explained sous vide cooking and provided everyone with an example dish demonstrating the technique.

We want to thank all of the attendees and hope that we see everyone at next month’s meeting, which will be at The Shanty on Fourth Avenue.