Prince Albert’s best local chef comes from humble beginnings.
Genalyn Dioso, from the North Star Restaurant, earned the Best of the Best’s local chef award for 2017.
For Ghena – as what many people call her, working in the kitchen started over 20 years ago in the Philippines with her family.
“[Winning] really means a lot for me, because I started from a humble beginning,” Ghena said. “I was a kitchen manager, I was a Sous Chef before Northern Lights Casino, but when I [started] here I was a server.”
Ghena turned her work experience with her family into a career following formal culinary education and a bachelor’s degree in science and tourism.
Ghena, now a Journeyman Red Seal certified Chef, worked her way to an executive chef position in May of 2016 and eventually on to her most recent accomplishment of best local chef.
The first thing which stands out about Ghena’s food is the striking visuals; her passion and skill lies in presenting beautiful dishes.
The crispy pickerel with curry coconut cream sauce, served over grilled butternut squash, or the grilled peach cups with pesto, topped with a delicately curled slice of prosciutto ham speak to her attention to detail.
Her menu features international dishes, along with traditional Indigenous and western fare. Ghena’s background is in Oriental cuisine, which she used to create a fusion component in her food.
You can find fresh soups from scratch, traditional bannock along with a diverse buffet at Northern Lights Casino’s – North Star Restaurant from 5pm-8pm on Sundays through Thursdays and from 8pm-9pm on Fridays through Saturdays.
“On Sunday’s there’s an Asian themed buffet and from Monday to Saturday is our traditional buffet; it changes every night, so it’s not the same every night when you come here,” Dioso said.
Being a chef goes above and beyond food preparation. Ghena said she takes pride in the professional development work she does with her kitchen staff, whom she attributes for helping her win the award.
“This is where I love to work, in the kitchen.” Ghena said. “I’m doing office duties [as well], but as much as I can I’m doing hands on stuff cooking with my staff and my Sous Chefs, providing them coaching… providing them some training.”
In the next year, Ghena said she’ll be focusing her energy doing what she loves in the kitchen of the North Star Restaurant, where she hopes to be a contender for the 2018 Best of the Best Awards.
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