Roderick LeDesma – Executive Sous Chef, Casino Del Sol
Chef Roderick 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 PBS 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, always knowing he wanted to be a chef. After seeing the movie “Ratatouille,” and experiencing a culinary epiphany, he left the university just before his senior year to attend the Art institute of Tucson.
During that 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 Primo team in Rockland, Maine. After his experience there, he returned to Tucson, taking over as the Primo Chef de Cuisine. After three years at the helm there, he joined the Casino Del Sol team as Chef de Cuisine of PY Steakhouse and was recently promoted to Executive Sous Chef, now assisting to oversee all 16 food and beverage outlets casino wide.
In 2020, he was named Best Chef in Arizona by Industry, a recruiting firm that works directly with the hospitality industry to staff kitchens and more. The company received 3,000 nominations from chefs and restaurant insiders and narrowed their choices down to 250 finalists. Chef Roderick rose to the top after a weeklong voting process that was open to the public. He was also the champion of the 2018 Tucson Knife Fight, a 16-person eight-week underground chef cooking competition for charity.