Farm to Table Favorites from the Chefs of La Quinta Resort

Posted on 21st May, 2019

Did you know that the Palm Springs region is home to a major agricultural industry with vast expanses of fertile land that support three growing seasons?  From the juiciest table grapes bursting with flavor, zesty citrus fruit and luscious watermelon to carrots, peppers, lettuce, artichokes, and broccoli, our “winter salad bowl” supplies more than 50% of the nation’s fruits and vegetables. And, the Coachella Valley might well be called the Date Capital of the U.S. producing nearly 95% of the sweet delicacies grown in this country.

It should come as no surprise, then, that chefs throughout the Coachella Valley embrace the abundance of ingredients grown (and grazed) locally and regionally.  Amid our own 45-acre grounds, La Quinta Resort & Club boasts bountiful citrus groves with juicy limes, lemons, oranges, tangerines and grapefruit that ripen during the winter season.

Thanks to our talented culinary team, La Quinta Resort has cemented a top spot on the Palm Springs food scene. We’ve asked our chefs what local ingredients get their creative juices flowing, and they’ve shared a few recipes that you can try at home.

Chef Andrew Cooper, Executive Chef, La Quinta Resort & Club

Leading a team of more than 100 culinary professionals, Chef Andrew Cooper oversees the seven dining destinations in La Quinta Resort & Club and PGA West, and the resort’s in-room and catering programs.  His illustrious career spans extensive culinary experience in the U.S. and abroad, with passions that include exploring farmers markets for the freshest and most fascinating finds.

Favorite Local Ingredients

Quail and Dates

A Preferred Purveyor

Newport Meat Company for Quail

“John from Newport Meat is an incredibly knowledgeable person and loves to support local farms. He also visits La Quinta Resort often to share all the specialty cuts that we can use as specials, and he also partners with us for our dry aged meat program in Morgan’s in the Desert.”

Why Quail?

“It’s tasty, the flavors are delicate, the meat is so tender, and it’s very versatile—you can make stock from the bones and reduce it to a mouthwatering sauce. We often create a quail dish for special events when we really want to showcase local and sustainable practices. The recipe below is 100% local and it’s delicious.”

Palm Springs Date Lacquered Squab with Preserved Artichoke, Micro Sorrel, Fresno Chili, Pasilla Squab Jus

 Chef Andrew Cooper

Yields 6 portions – cooking time 1 hour


6 squab breasts


Black pepper

Oil for cooking



3 whole artichokes

6 marble peewee potatoes (confit of potatoes)

1 pasilla pepper (sliced thin)

Micro Sorrel (garnish)

California almonds (garnish)

1 quart white wine vinegar

4 ounces sugar

Sachet with star anise, yellow and black mustard seeds, garlic, thyme and peppercorn.

Date Sauce:

½ cup demi-glace

½ cup date puree

Combine both and mix well

  • Clean and trim squab breasts and pat dry with paper towels
  • Season each breast with salt and pepper
  • In a medium hot sauté pan with 2 tablespoons of oil, sear both sides of squab and then roast skin side down until just under temp.
  • Add date sauce to pan, letting the sugars brown and glaze the squab
  • Reserve some date sauce for plating

Preserved Artichoke

  • Clean and trim artichokes..
  • Blanch, shock in ice water and then drain well
  • In a separate pot, combine 1 quart white wine vinegar with 1-1/2 cups water, 4 ounces sugar, 4 ounces sale, and bring to a boil, then simmer for approximately 5 minutes.
  • Strain over artichokes and make sure to submerge the artichokes in the pickling solution.
  • Reheat gently in olive oil.

 To Plate

  • Gently warm up the artichokes and confit of potatoes.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Using a slotted spoon (to eliminate any excess liquid), pick up 3 artichokes and some potatoes, and place in a line down the center of the plate.
  • Strategically place the pasilla peppers, sorrel and sliced dates around for color and texture.
  • Spoon the date sauce to finish the dish and enjoy.

Chef Camiel Henning, Chef De Cuisine, Morgan’s in the desert

You’ll find Chef Camiel Henning helming the kitchen and culinary team at Morgan’s in the desert, La Quinta Resort’s signature restaurant distinguished as the site of the resort’s original 1926 dining room, and an enchanting outdoor patio overlooking the lush Main Lawn. Chef Henning uniquely infuses his Dutch heritage and culinary expertise gained from working in multiple Michelin-starred restaurants into imaginative fare showcasing the region’s seasonal bounty.

Favorite Local Ingredient 


A Preferred Purveyor

FreshPoint, a produce distributor based less than two hours from La Quinta.

“Emerson Sotelo at FreshPoint is a terrific person and he always tries his best to get his customers the best product available. He comes by the resort nearly every other week to maintain personal contact and ensure that all goes well with ordering and delivery.”

Why Tarragon?

“You can use tarragon in so many ways­—it can lift a dish to a higher level. When you taste it, something just happens in the mouth and the brain. I use it in many different dishes and in different ways, such as making sauces and crème out of it, frying it to make it crispy, blending it with other produce, and combining it with fish, meat and salads.”

Tarragon Emulsion

 Chef Camiel Henning


4 ounces tarragon leaves

5 ounces egg whites

¼ ounce salt

9 ounces sunflower oil

½ ounce white vinegar

  • Blanch tarragon leaves in water, and then shock in ice water.
  • Remove from ice water and squeeze all of the water out.
  • Put oil and tarragon leaves in a blender and blend until completely smooth
  • Put the eggs whites in a bowl. While using a hand mixer, add the salt
  • Slowly add the tarragon oil mixture to egg whites.
  • Add the vinegar and mix well.

Chef Sergio Garza, Chef de Cuisine, Twenty6

Born and raised in Michoacán, Mexico, Chef Sergio Gazca’s passion for cooking stemmed from the family business where he often helped his mother and grandmother with the cooking. He migrated to the United States at 17 to attend culinary school before beginning his professional career in the Coachella Valley and at La Quinta Resort & Club. Chef Gazca also was part of the grand opening culinary team for the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills.

Favorite Local Ingredient


A Preferred Purveyor

Madison Street Produce at 47306 Madison Street in Indio, (760) 898-8624

“What I like most about Madison Street Produce is the freshness of their fruits and vegetables. They literally harvest all of this behind their fruit and vegetable stand­—this is the true definition of farm-to-table ingredient. And I love going there for their strawberries. They have the best in the valley.”

Why the Tomato?

“I love tomato because it’s a universal ingredient. You can use it in so many ways and there are hundreds of different varieties. I remember as a kid seeing tomatoes in my mother’s kitchen all the time. This is a healthy and delicious snack that can simply be enjoyed with a pinch of salt, pepper and olive oil. At Twenty6, we utilize this ingredient on soups, sauces, salads, and pizzas, and we also garnish some of our dishes with it.”

Tomato Gazpacho

Chef Sergio Garza


12  Roma tomatoes (quartered, remove core and seeds)

1 red bell pepper (remove core and seeds)

2 garlic cloves

1 green jalapeño pepper (remove core and seeds)

1 cucumber (quartered, remove seeds)

¼ red onion

½ cup tomato juice

¼ cup sherry vinegar

¼ cup olive oil

Kosher salt to taste

Fresh ground black pepper to taste

  • Start by rough chopping all the vegetables and place into an 8-cup blender.
  • Add tomato juice, sherry vinegar and olive oil, and blend until smooth,
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Chill and serve.

Tomato Cucumber Relish (garnish)


1 cucumber

3 Roma tomatoes (quartered, remove core and seeds)

2 teaspoons sherry vinegar

1 Tablespoon olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

  • Small dice the tomatoes and cucumber, and place in a small mixing bowl.
  • Add the vinegar and olive oil, and season to taste.
  • Place on top of gazpacho for garnish.

Chef Marco Aguilar, Chef De Cuisine, Adobe Grill

A native of Mexico City, Chef Marco Aguilar entices diners with a tantalizing menu balancing diverse Oaxacan fare with the restaurant’s renowned time-honored signature dishes. Chef Aguilar set off at the age of 15 to attend culinary school followed by a career working in the kitchens of world-renowned hotel brands throughout the U.S.

Favorite Local Ingredient

Our fresh corn masa

A Preferred Purveyor

La Sorpresa Tortilleria, a family-owned business in nearby Coachella

“When I first started working at Adobe Grill, I wanted to make our own tortillas using Mexican corn from scratch. I then found out that La Sorpresa was selling fresh corn masa using organic Mexican corn. Of course, I wanted to use La Sorpresa’s product—to give us the freshest corn masa and, at the same time, support local business.”

Why fresh corn masa?

“Fresh corn tortillas taste like heaven—like real Mexico. It takes my back to my childhood when my grandmother use to make tortillas at home. At Adobe Grill, we use this fresh corn masa to make our own tortillas for our tacos, tamales and enchiladas, as well as tostadas for our ceviche.”

Tamales Recipe

 Chef Marco Aguilar


Corn husk (20 each)

2 pounds fresh ground corn masa for tamales

11 ounces soft butter

½ tablespoon baking powder

2 ounces heavy cream

1 cup cream corn

Salt to taste

Filling variations (e.g. shredded chicken with salsa verse, or pulled pork with salsa roja (or any leftovers that you may find in your fridge.

  • Prepare the corn husks by covering them with hot water, keeping them submerged, and letting them stand for a couple of hours until the husks are soft.
  • Using an electric mixer on medium speed (or mix by hand), mix the corn dough and butter for five minutes, than mix the rest of the ingredients in a separate bowl.
  • If the dough texture is dry, add more heavy cream (dough needs to be soft but not runny). Taste the dough to see if additional salt is needed.

To Form the Tamales:

  • Lay out one of your chosen corn husks with the tapering end toward you.
  • Spread approximately ¼ cup of the dough into about a 4-inch square, leaving at least a 1-1/2 inch border on the side toward you and a ¾-inch border along the other side (note: with large husks the borders will be much bigger).
  • Spoon 1-1/2 tablespoons of the filling down the center of the dough.
  • Pick up the two long sides of the corn husk and bring them together (so that the dough surrounds the filling).
  • If the uncovered borders of the two long sides that you’re holding are narrow, tuck one side under the other; if wide, roll both sides in the same direction around the tamale. (If the husk is small, you may feel more comfortable wrapping the tamale in a second husk).
  • Finally, fold up the empty 1-1/2 inch section of the husk to form a tightly closed tamale, As you complete each one, stand the tamales on their folded bottoms.

Steam the tamales for approximately 1-1/2 hours then let them rest 15 minutes before serving. Serve with any salsa, beans and rice.


Come experience a taste of La Quinta Resort & Club during the annual Greater Palm Springs Restaurant Week, May 31­–June 9, 2019,