One of the best parts about a visit to Valleyfair? The food. But none of your favorite Valleyfair indulgences would be possible without the one-and-only Chef Luis. As someone who is usually behind the scenes, most guests are not lucky enough to see Chef Luis in action, but they can thank him for their delicious, refreshing treats they enjoy in the park.
Chef Luis Carrillo is the executive chef here at Valleyfair and has the responsibility of overseeing all the food throughout the park, creating ideas for new recipes and all other food-related operations. This is his 6th season working as the executive chef, but it is not his first position at Valleyfair.
In 1998 and 1999, Luis worked seasonally in the foods department at Valleyfair. This position was one of the things that sparked his love and passion for culinary arts, along with working in high-end restaurants and watching his mother and grandmother cook growing up.
“Watching my grandma not having recipes for anything and just eyeballing ingredients, constantly being around her and tasting her cooking was a big influence,” he said. “I would ask my mom, from a very early age, ‘what can I help with?’ She would tell me ‘peel potatoes’ and as I got older I started doing more in regards to cooking… she is still teaching me things to this day that she only knows and I can only hope to make as good.”
Chef Luis went to culinary school in Minneapolis at Le Cordon Blue College of Culinary Arts and has prepared meals at high-end restaurants in many different cities. Prior to returning to Valleyfair, he lived in Los Angeles, but he missed the Midwest. Everything in his life lined up for a smooth return, both to Minnesota and to Valleyfair.
When asked what his favorite food stand in the park is, he paused, but ultimately decided on Sidewinder Burrito.
“Me being from Mexican descent, I have a passion for that food,” he said. “Hopefully next year we can revamp that entire location and make it more authentic.”
Favorite Ride: Excalibur
Favorite Food Stand: Sidewinder Burrito
Favorite Dish to Prepare: Mole – a complex, Mexican sauce