Written by Annie Harmon
Photos provided by Craig Rodrigue
Craig Rodrigue’s first job consisted of washing dishes at the Nugget Casino Resort in Sparks, The rest, as they say, is history.
From there, Rodrigue went on to work at favorite local restaurants such as Adele’s at the Plaza in Reno (now-defunct), where he was assistant executive chef, and The Stone House Café in Reno, where he was sous chef for four years. Rodrigue has also been a co-owner and chef at Tapestries Restaurant and Wine Bar in Reno, and a food and drinks manager and executive chef at Promenade by the River in Reno. Having also worked the line at places such as MGM Grand Hotel Casino, back when it was in Reno, there is no doubt that Rodrigue is one of the most experienced chefs Reno has to offer.
“The greatest joy in my life was working at Adele’s at the Plaza as assistant executive chef,” Rodrigue says. “The one-on-one time I spent working with Adele’s owner was the best thing.”
Paul Abowd, owner of Adele’s at the Plaza, also created The Stone House Café.
“I got to work with a legend. I loved working with him, whether on a line or in a business meeting,” Rodrigue says.
After over 30 years of working in the restaurant industry, Chef Rodrigue found an opportunity to work full time at Truckee Meadow's Culinary Arts Program after teaching part-time for several semesters. This has allowed him an opportunity to spend more time with his wife Melodi, and three sons. "I often joke that my wife and I had to get to know each other again after spending so long on different schedules."
"This is the perfect job at this time in my life. I get to enjoy more family time and still be in a kitchen making a difference on the future of this profession I so greatly love," he said.
Chef Rodrigue has spent the last nine years training students to compete in the Nevada State Skills Competition. He spends extra time with the Nevada State Gold Medal winner to get ready for the National Competitions, first in Kansas City, Mo. and more recently in Louisville, Ky. These students have placed in the top ten numerous times and always compete well.
"I treasure the relationships I have with my students past and present. It does my heart good to see them go through their careers after leaving school. The part I like the best is giving back." Rodrigue says. "Every time I get into the kitchen it's a joy for me, and it does my heart good to teach and support (student's) ambitions."