JAMUL, Calif., (March 14, 2022) — Jamul Casino recently recognized the extraordinary talent of James Donovan with his promotion to Executive Chef. This new role will leverage Chef Donovan’s culinary track record, creativity, and outstanding leadership to continue enhancing Jamul Casino’s award-winning restaurants and cuisine. With its emphasis on maintaining an exceptional culinary program, Jamul Casino and its restaurants have received numerous “San Diego’s Best” honors from The San Diego Union-Tribune Reader’s Poll, and a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence for four (4) years running.
A native of San Diego, Chef Donovan graduated from El Cajon Valley High School in 1993. His career began just three years later in 1996 as a line cook at Viejas Casino & Resort. Energized by the casino kitchen environment, he spent his career working his way up the casino culinary ladder. Upon assuming leadership roles, he discovered a passion for relationship-building, and opening and assisting in designing new restaurants.
Chef Donovan was recruited to join Jamul Casino in 2016 as a Sous Chef. Recently promoted to Executive Chef, he is a top manager for Jamul Casino’s Food & Beverage team of 200 members, overseeing the 85 crew members in the back of the house. Helping to ensure Jamul Casino is a preferred employer, he is also focused on providing fresh, healthy, and very popular cuisine served in the employee dining room. He also enjoys building relationships with the regular guests, many who drive from throughout San Diego County. With pride, he describes that no day is the same at the Casino—citing the “Endless Dining” plated buffet experience, Lobster Brunch, Latin Night on Thursdays, and more. Chef Donovan envisions Jamul Casino as the entertainment venue of choice, employer of choice, and dining destination of choice.
Mary Cheeks, President and General Manager of Jamul Casino, states, “James brings a remarkable enthusiasm, creativity, and leadership to our culinary team. We are thrilled to recognize his talent with this well-deserved promotion.”
Prime Cut Steak & Seafood
The centerpiece of Jamul Casino’s award-winning culinary experience is Prime Cut Steak & Seafood. The fine dining venue features gourmet steak and seafood entrees, more than 300 bottles of wine in its wine cellar for perfect pairings, a famous dessert cart with seasonal specialties, and spectacular panoramic views of the Southern California mountains. The award-winning restaurant is complemented by Jamul Casino’s newly renovated High Limit Rooms. The Casino recently remodeled its High Limit spaces, now offering a larger High Limit Slot Room with a dedicated bar, a separate High Limit Asian Games room, and a private High Limit VIP lounge—all with custom artwork, finishes, and lighting. With the new High Limit Rooms and Prime Cut Steak & Seafood, Jamul Casino better meets the selective standards of today’s VIP patrons.
Chef Donovan states, “The culinary experience at Jamul Casino is the result of a very talented team. Prime Cut’s Chef De Cuisine, Cheryl Cruz, has become well-known for her Chef’s Table experience; Manager & (Level 2) Certified Sommelier, Dennis Reiter, has built an unparalleled wine program; and Benjamin Petell, our VP of Non-Gaming Operations, is a great leader and has cast an incredible vision for our team. I’m honored to work alongside them.”
About Jamul Casino
Opened in 2016, the Jamul Casino is located in Jamul, California, San Diego County, and is owned and operated by Jamul Indian Village Development Corporation (JIVDC), a wholly owned enterprise of the Tribe. The $430 million, award-winning casino features nearly 1,700 slot machines, 46 live table games, a dedicated poker room, and various restaurants, bars and lounges. Jamul Casino supports more than 1,000 permanent jobs in the region and is the closest casino to downtown San Diego, which is the eighth-largest city in the United States by population. For more information about Jamul Casino, please visit www.jamulcasinosd.com.