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New exec sous chef at Barona

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San Diego culinary veteran James Phillips has been appointed executive sous chef at Barona Valley Ranch Resort & Casino. In his new role, he will help to develop new menu items, oversee special events catering -- both on and off site -- and manage Barona's entire culinary operation alongside the resort's executive chef, Dean Thomas.

Chef Phillips brings more than 25 years of experience in many of San Diego's acclaimed kitchens to Barona. Most recently, he served as executive chef at Anthology Fine Tuned Music & Cuisine and before that, he was the executive chef at Pamplemousse Grille in Del Mar and the University Club in downtown San Diego.

Gold Medallion winners

Every year, San Diego's restaurant industry honors the "best of the best" at the California Restaurant Association's Gold Medallion Awards, recognizing culinary excellence and prestige -- and took place April 30.

A highlight of the evening's winners include: Restaurateur of the Year, Lehn Goetz of Café Coyote; Chef of the Year, Carl Schroeder of MARKET Restaurant & Bar; People's Choice, The Marine Room; Best Ethnic Restaurant, Indigo Grill; Best New Restaurant, Jade Theater; Best Seafood Fine Dining Restaurant, Oceanaire Seafood Room; Best Steakhouse Fine Dining Restaurant, Island Prime; Best Wine Bar, The Wine Lover; Best Sunday Brunch, Crown Room at the Hotel Del Coronado; Best Caterer, Urban Kitchen Catering.

This year, the awards auction raised $54,000, which will be used by the San Diego chapter of CRA's Education Committee to fund local high school culinary arts and other education programs. For a complete list of Gold Medallion winners visit calrest.org

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