Get to know Brad Coleman, Eagle Mountain Casino’s Senior Chef

(Eagle Mountain Casino, Porterville, CA 93257) – Brad Coleman, the Senior Chef at Eagle Mountain Casino, was born in Pennsylvania and has been fascinated with the world of cooking since high school when he was living in Hickory, North Carolina.

“I saw an advertisement for a cooking school, and the school that I was requesting information from asked me to take a tour of the college, and within five days, I was enrolled and started classes,” said Coleman.

Coleman received his 2-year degree in 18 months and started an internship with the Hyatt Regency atop the Orlando Airport in Florida.

“That’s where I got my baptism into the world of food service. In school, you don’t get the practice of what it’s like in a restaurant. You’re learning history and how-to, but you’re not getting the experience of working the line, and I learned quickly what that was like,” said Coleman.

The broiler position was Coleman’s first role at the hotel’s busiest restaurant.

“I had to come up with a daily special every day, and I had no experience in that whatsoever, but one day I had created a dish for a special; it featured a marinated fish in raspberry with saffron, fresh raspberries, and grilled broccolini. The executive chef called me in, praised me, and told me Chef Paul Bocuse visited the restaurant and had the special, and he loved it,” said Coleman.

That moment was a highlight from Coleman’s early days in the kitchen, but it was the first of many that catapulted his career.

“In the chef world, they are not all happy days, and not all recipes work out. Sometimes you make some that are not successes,” said Coleman.

Coleman continued to absorb information and learned so much through his challenges working in Florida, including cooking for an Elton John event with close to 5,000 people.

Traveling across the country and working at different restaurants was normal for Coleman, and he eventually landed his first job as an Executive Chef in Henderson, North Carolina.

In 2003, Coleman received an opportunity that would change his life both professionally and personally, as he was selected to travel to China to teach English at a summer camp. In 2006, he lived and worked in China as a Chef at an American-owned University, feeding the 100-plus foreign faculty, staff, and international students from other countries.

“It was a fantastic experience, a wonderful opportunity, and it led me to live and work in Asia for 13 years”, said Coleman.

Coleman continued to teach English after working at several restaurants throughout Asia and eventually spent his 13 years between mainland China and Macau.

Coleman was running the Sands Macau’s signature steakhouse in his final three years in Macau.

While visiting his mom for her birthday in the U.S. on March 18, 2020, Coleman was called and told that the borders were closed and that his contract was terminated due to the Covid 19 pandemic.

“Here I am, sitting in the U.S. with three weeks’ worth of clothing and an apartment in Macau full of my belongings, as that was my life. I had nothing in the U.S. anymore. My life was in China”, said Coleman.

China’s borders were closed, and Coleman was forced to live in the U.S. Coleman could not collect unemployment due to his employment history documented in China, so he started to search for work.

Coleman found work; however, the pandemic forced officials to put more restrictions on the venues where he was hired.

In November 2022, a recruiter contacted Coleman about a Senior Chef position in California.

“I told the recruiter, I do not do California. I don’t want to deal with the traffic, the big cities. I was thinking Los Angeles or San Francisco,” said Coleman. “Then I started looking at it and realized it was Porterville. I told myself this sounded interesting! I might like this.”

Coleman interviewed and provided an audition for Eagle Mountain Casino and was hired as the Senior Chef in December. Coleman was immediately tasked with preparing Eagle Mountain Casino for the opening of the new location off Highway 65 in Porterville.

“Our goal with the new property is to make it an exciting combination of places. We are trying to tie in local products and infuse my experiences worldwide, including my work in Asia. I have picked up tricks from many chefs, and I am excited for guests to come and experience a plethora of combinations that people wouldn’t have thought of before”, said Coleman.

Eagle Mountain Casino’s location will be opening in 2023, and Coleman emphasized how excited he is to implement local agriculture in the menus that are currently in the works.

“We included local supplier J.R. Meats for our meat, and we continue to look for local suppliers and ingredients. So when I heard that there are almonds, pistachios, grapes, raisins, oranges, and honey produced in this area, I wanted to see what we could do with them to open the minds of our guests”, said Coleman about the direction of the new property’s restaurant venues.

Coleman has high expectations for Eagle Mountain Casino’s new property restaurants.

“We want to focus on quality products and give guests something they will enjoy. I hope that our restaurants will become destinations. We want guests to enjoy casino and gaming, but nothing wrong with saying, “Hey, let’s run down to the casino and grab a meal,” said Coleman.

Eagle Mountain Casino is a full-service casino owned and operated by the Tule River Tribe. The casino is temporarily closed due to recent storms and road damage on the Tule River Reservation.

Eagle Mountain Casino’s new location, “Grand Opening Celebration,” will take place on May 9, 2023, off Highway 65 in Porterville, CA, next to the Porterville Fair Grounds. The new property will double in size, growing to over 100,000 square feet, featuring new dining options, 1,750 slot machines, 20 table games, and a 2,000-seat state-of-the-art event center.

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