Semiahmoo Resort recently welcomed new chef Daniel Rehbein who hopes to build on the resort’s use of local products.
Rehbein’s interest in cooking started as a child, mostly as a way to avoid doing the dishes, and later evolved into a career after graduating from the Oregon Culinary Institute in 2015. His cooking comes from a Pacific Northwest mindset rooted in classical technique.
“Food is our greatest equalizer as humans,” Rehbein said. “It’s what brings us together. It can trigger visceral memories. It’s something we all do and can find common ground in.”
Rehbein’s culinary career led him to work at about a dozen mom and pop restaurants in his hometown of Portland, Oregon. Most recently, Rehbein worked as executive chef of Gabbiano’s, an Italian-American restaurant; chef de cuisine at Lac St. Jack, a now-closed French restaurant in Lake Oswego; and executive chef at Kex Hotel, which included a seasonal rooftop bar, The Sunset Room, and lobby bar, the Pacific Standard. At Kex, where Rehbein worked until starting at Semiahmoo, he built up catering, events and private dining programs.
“I helped them grow significantly while I was there,” he said of Kex. “I caught that bug of, ‘How can I push myself further? How much bigger can I go?’”
Rehbein landed at Semiahmoo Resort in September after he and his wife decided to move to Whatcom County, where she is from, to raise their 10-month-old daughter.
During his interview for the job, Rehbein remembers Semiahmoo Resort’s sous chef listing all of the farms the resort uses. “That turned the switch for me,” he said. “I was like, ‘Cool, this is actually a viable, local option.’”
With two months under his belt, Rehbein has already started reducing the number of dishes on the resort menus to focus on its best items.
“We’re trying to keep that mindset of shopping local and taking a lot of pride in what we’re doing and the products that we’re using,” Rehbein said.
As for his favorite recipe currently on the menu, Rehbein says it’s the gemelli with lamb and anchovy ragu – a warm dish for fall.
Leading Semiahmoo Resort as chef, Rehbein oversees Packers Kitchen and Bar, Great Blue Heron Grill, Seaview Café and private events.
“The people who have been here have been doing a great job and we want to take Semiahmoo to the next level,” he said. “There’s no location like this for a resort and we really want to capitalize on that and show everything this area has to offer, including us.”
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