At Casino Del Sol, we’re extremely proud of the culinary artisans who create the magic in our many -restaurant kitchens. Each chef is a renowned and accomplished master of his or her craft. Together, they make the award-winning dining experience at The Sol of Tucson a world-class event for each of our guests.
Chef Ryan Clark - Casino Del Sol
Tucson native and Casino Del Sol Executive Chef, Ryan Clark has a wealth of experience in the food and beverage industry. He graduated top of his class at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, and was named one of the Top Sixteen Junior Chefs in the U.S. by the American Culinary Foundation. Clark has been nominated for Tucson Weekly’s Best Chef and holds the rare distinction of being named Iron Chef Tucson for three consecutive years. Chef Clark has also been nominated by Food and Wine Magazine as one of the Best New Chefs in the Southwest. He’s a Certified Executive Chef and member of the American Culinary Federation. Chef Clark is the author of Modern Southwest Cooking, a cookbook that showcases his passion for regional cooking and local ingredients.
Chef Carlos Guerrero – Casino Del Sol
Executive Sous Chef
Chef Carlos Guerrero has over 17 years of experience in the culinary industry.
After a short month washing dishes at 16 years of age, he realized cooking looked way more exciting and challenging. That is when he decided to ask the chef at El Corral to give him a chance. The love for cooking happened immediately, after that adrenaline rush every chef feels when service starts finally kicked in.
Prior to joining the talented Casino Del Sol Culinary team, Chef Guerrero worked in different restaurants around Tucson while attending high school. Right after graduating from high school he got a job at one of the most prestigious resort properties in Tucson, JW Marriott Starr Pass, where he worked his way up through several management positions, which included chef de cuisine in different restaurants on property, to award-winning best banquet team in 2015 in all “JW Marriott Brand” and “West Region Marriott”. Chef Guerrero won back-to-back awards with Marriot as a key part of the team to Tucson Iron Chef.
“Cooking with different ingredients, textures and colors is very exciting for every chef, because it challenges you to create art, flavors and comfort, not to mention playing with sharp objects and fire, is why I love my profession”
Chef Gina Skelton - Casino Del Sol
Executive Pastry Chef
Chef Gina Skelton has 21 years of experience in the culinary industry. She earned her culinary degree from Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Institute in Scottsdale, Arizona.
She has been the Executive Pastry Chef of Casino Del Sol since August 2015, and focuses her attention on creating everything from intricate specialized desserts for PY Steakhouse to beautifully built desserts for large-scale events held in the convention center. Chef Skelton originally joined the culinary team at Casino Del Sol in 2005 as Sous Chef at Bellissimo restaurant. She quickly advanced to Chef de Cuisine working daily on everything from butchering, to pastries in the high-end restaurant. With the closing of Bellissimo in 2010 to make way for the new convention center and hotel, Chef Skelton took the opportunity to further her career by focusing specifically on the fine art of baking and pastries. She then moved on to a new position as Pastry Chef for the James Beard, award-winning chef, Janos Wilder. There Chef Skelton oversaw baking and pastry production for three restaurants including JBar, Downtown Kitchen & Cocktails, and the award-winning restaurant Janos.
In her current role, Chef Skelton oversees the day-to-day operations of the bake shop, which provides baked goods for the nine event spaces, restaurants and eateries.
Chef Roderick Le Desma - PY Steakhouse
Chef de Cuisine
Chef Le Desma started working in restaurants at age 16. However, his love for cooking developed early on when his mother taught him to cook at a young age. Growing up on old cooking shows and cookbooks, he found himself constantly in the kitchen. He attended the University of Arizona, thinking going to college was what he was “supposed to do”, but never felt like it was right for him. He left to attend the Art institute of Tucson, during which time he started working at Primo at the JW Marriott Starr Pass. Quickly moving up the ranks, he was asked by James Beard award-winning Chef Melissa Kelly, to join the team at Primo in Rockland, Maine. After his experience there, he returned to Tucson, taking over as Chef de Cuisine back at the Primo, JW Marriott. After three years at the helm of the kitchen there, he joined the team at Casino Del Sol as Chef de Cuisine of PY Steakhouse.
Chef Ralph Felix - The Tequila Factory
Chef de Cuisine
A Tucson Native, Chef Felix went to Culinary School at the Scottsdale Culinary Institute, and has worked in Arizona’s restaurants and resorts, as well as other states such as Nevada, Colorado, and Minnesota. His main style of cuisine is based on using local fresh ingredients and getting involved in the food culture that surrounds him.
Chef Felix says, “I became a cook because I was a latch-key kid and grew up watching Jacques Pepin, Wolfgang Puck, and Bobby Flay on TV. I wanted to eat what they were making. My favorite thing about cooking is making food for my friends and family.”
Chef David Salazar - Moby's Restaurant
Chef de Cuisine
A Pascua Yaqui Tribal member, Chef Salazar has 15 years of experience in the kitchen. He worked his way up from a dishwasher to running his own kitchen as Chef de Cuisine. He credits his development to the Food and Beverage Tribal Development Program at Casino Del Sol. Chef Salazar is also a proud member of the American Culinary Federation.
Chef Salazar says, “I have worked under many great chefs that have groomed me for my current position. My vision is to not be afraid to make a mistake; the mistake is not attempting.”
Chef Javier Castro - Casino Del Sol
Chef Javier Castro has more than 15 years of experience in the culinary industry. He has been the Banquet Chef of Casino Del Sol since 2011, and specializes in creating enticing recipes and menus for large-scale events held in the casino convention center.
Prior to joining the culinary team at the award-winning Casino Del Sol, Chef Castro began his culinary journey back in Las Vegas 15 years ago as a kitchen night cleaner and has worked his way up the culinary ladder. Chef Castro served for nearly eight years in the kitchens of one of Tucson’s most prestigious resort properties, the JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort and Spa. In his current role, Chef Castro oversees the day-to-day operations of the main kitchen, and the catering functions and food ordering for the nine event spaces, restaurants and eateries.
Chef Castro is a big supporter of Ronald McDonald House Charities and Gospel Rescue Mission, and helps in numerous charitable events throughout Southern Arizona.
Chef Chris Wilson - Festa International Buffet
Chef de Cuisine
Chef de Cuisine Chris Wilson has lived in Tucson for 39 years. He has 30 years of experience in cooking and has worked at many of the resorts in the Tucson area, as well as the Scottsdale Princess Resort in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Chef Wilson is a graduate of the Scottsdale Culinary Institute and is a member of the Chaine de Rotisseurs. Chef Wilson opened the Tequila Factory in 2003 and ran the Bellisimo Restaurant until 2007. He has been the Chef de Cuisine at Festa International Buffet in Casino Del Sol since 2003.
Chef Wilson credits his mother’s adventurous style in cooking for sparking his interest in the Culinary Arts. He says, “Being a Chef allows me to express my creativity, and I love to see the look on people’s faces when they enjoy the food I have made for them.”
Chef Iris Hernandez - Streetscape Deli
Chef de Cuisine
Chef Hernandez has more than 17 years of experience in the culinary industry. She started working at the Tequila Factory at Casino Del Sol in 2009. As Streetscape Deli Chef de Cuisine, she specializes in creating great sandwiches, salads, and much more. Chef Hernandez is currently a member of the American Culinary Federation.