Ever wonder who’s the mastermind behind the delicious food at Tanque Verde Ranch? Meet Sergio Rocha, the Executive Chef at the ranch. After working as the Sous Chef for two year, he was promoted to Executive Chef and has held that position for two years. Working at a place where he met the love of his life and mother of his child, it’s no wonder the love he shares for the ranch translates into the fantastic dining options he prepares for guests.
Being in charge can be a lot of work, but Sergio takes it in stride. He takes his position and uses it was a way to improve not only his own cooking techniques, but also his staffs. “[What] I enjoy most about my job is giving all of my employees their time to shine, from learning new cooking styles, to running functions, or building new dishes for the menu,” says Sergio.
When creating dishes for guests to enjoy, Sergio says, “inspiration usually comes from a collaborative effort of the crew, but we always draw from the Southwest and emphasize local ingredients.” Dishes also vary depending on the season. “[We] lean towards braising and heavier use of root vegetables, in the fall and winter and lighters or even cooler preparations of food during the spring and summer,” says Sergio.
Dining at Tanque Verde Ranch is never the same. Everyday there’s a lunch buffet with different items for you to enjoy and dinner offers a full line service with a rotating menu, which will range from five to seven options as well as a starter buffet or plated salads. With a menu that’s constantly changing, you can enjoy some rather adventurous culinary creations such as fresh water prawns, quail, pheasant, buffalo, thick cut bone in pork loin or lamb, just to name a few.
Even the atmosphere of the dining room at the ranch is never the same. “The atmosphere in the dining room differs,” says Sergio, “in the morning it’s usually bustling with people trying to get some fuel for the day before they head out for a horse ride, hike or bike ride.” As the day goes on the dining room is more laid back as people are finishing up their activities for the day and can come and go as they please. Overall, Sergio says, “the atmosphere is very laid back and casual.”
Tanque Verde Ranch also offers specialty-dining events such as the horseback trail ride up to the Old Homestead for breakfast, which Sergio says is one of his favorite places to be in the morning to watch the beautiful Arizona sunrise. There’s also the Doghouse Saloon, where you can enjoy their famous prickly pear margarita, and if you take a walk from Cottonwood Grove down to the saloon, Sergio says, “it’s a site to behold, with a blanket of stars to light the way, and if you’re lucky, a full moon will really help guide the way.”
No matter what you like to enjoy when it comes to all things culinary, Sergio says, “in the kitchen [we say] every guest is a VIP and everything we make is our specialty.”
To learn more about the culinary options offered at Tanque Verde Ranch, visit tanqueverderanch.com.