Pechanga To Host Cooking Competition Supporting Student Culinary Arts Program


TEMECULA, CA – After a four-year hiatus, Temecula’s popular Battle of the Burgers returns to Pechanga Resort Casino on Saturday, January 20, 2024 from noon to 3:00pm. Now in its fourth year, the competition gives local restaurants a chance to earn the title of “Best Burger” in the Temecula Valley.

The event is a collaborative effort between Visit Temecula Valley, Pechanga Resort Casino, and the Temecula Valley Unified School District (TVUSD). All funds benefit the Temecula Valley Unified School District Career Technical Education (CTE) Culinary Arts Program, which engages students in hands-on, interactive, work-based learning to help prepare them for high-skill, high-wage, and in-demand careers.

“The Battle of the Burgers is not only incredibly fun, but it also helps our local school district cultivate a new generation of chefs,” said Scott Wilson, President/CEO of Visit Temecula Valley. “As Temecula tourism continues to grow, there is a strong need for chefs and hospitality workers. Our school district is on the forefront of a movement to increase work-based learning programs for high school students, which is great for local businesses and tourism.”

With an afternoon full of unique and tasty samplings, nearly a dozen Temecula Valley restaurants are expected to participate. The panel of judges will include:

  • Inland Empire/IE Explorer – Joel Greene
  • San Diego Union-Tribune – Pam Kragen, Chief Dining, Arts & Entertainment Editor
  • Temecula Foodies – Priscilla Tapia, Founder
  • Temecula Mayor – James “Stew” Stewart
  • Temecula Patch – Ashley Ludwig, Southern California Editor
  • Executive Chef – Andre Pinto, Pechanga Resort Casino

High school culinary arts students will partner with executive chefs from Pechanga Resort Casino and develop unique “loaded fries” recipes. Chef-student teams will compete for both Judges Choice and People’s Choice awards. The loaded fries competition offers culinary students a unique opportunity to engage with a professional chef.

“Pechanga has a long history of giving back to the community,” said Andre Pinto, Executive Chef of Pechanga Resort Casino. “The Battle of the Burgers brings giving back to another level where working chefs can impart their knowledge and skills on the next generation entering the culinary world. The event is as great for the students as it is for our chefs. Both gain valuable insights and come away from the event with even more real-world know-how.”

“Temecula Valley Unified School District is excited for the return of the Battle of the Burgers at Pechanga Resort Casino,” said Tim Dignan, Director of Career Technical Education for TVUSD. “It is a tremendous community event that provides professional mentorship for our culinary arts students while raising funds to support our culinary program. Funds are used to pay for our students’ industry certifications, culinary field trips, and other work-based learning opportunities.”