Hector was born in San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, MX. He moved to California as a 16 year-old, and has studied at Mesa College in San Diego. He is an experienced kitchen veteran, with nearly 30 years in the hospitality industry.
Like many of the great chefs Hector has practiced his art in places far and wide, with stops in San Diego, Valley Center, Escondido, San Antonio, Wisconsin Dells and Sandia Casino in New Mexico. Ultimately his travels brought him to Arizona, where he has been working for the last 4½ years.
He has 3 children, ranging in age from 16-21. Though he maintains a hectic schedule as an Executive Chef, Hector is making time to finish up a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Hotel and Business Management at NAU. He is also learning French. His hobbies include grilling steaks at home and relaxing with a cold beer, and riding horses; he owns a quarter horse named “Alfalfa.”
Among Hector’s favorite cooking styles is Asian Fusion. He particularly enjoys preparing seafood dishes; one specialty is a Seared Halibut in a Cabernet Sauvignon reduction.
Hector and his staff are already making their impact at the casino’s two main restaurants, and Storytellers will be introducing a new menu in December.
Chef de Cuisine
Andrea DiLuca’s path to Cliff Castle is even more circuitous than Hector’s. He was born in Testaccio, a neighborhood in Rome, Italy. His cooking career began at the tender age of 16 in his Uncle’s restaurant. At the age of 19, he began to work as an apprentice “dietro la cucina” (behind the stove) in Rimini, Italy. This is where Andrea states that he “learned from the old masters.” It wasn’t long before DiLuca opened his first restaurant, Spaghetti Rocks. Spaghetti Rocks was located in one of Rome’s hippest neighborhoods, Trastevere. “We had 50 or 55 seats, and we had customers, mothers & their children, waiting outside until after midnight just to get in,” he recalls.
After the success of Spaghetti Rocks, Andrea took his act on the road, working in restaurants in Germany and Copenhagen before moving to the United States in 1983. He soon caught on with restaurants in Rhode Island, Philadelphia, and California, before making his roots in Arizona, with an acclaimed restaurant in Sedona bearing his name.
We at Cliff Castle Casino Hotel are happy to have two such talented chefs. Look for exciting new dishes and new twists on old favorites at Storytellers and Mountain Springs Buffet.