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Benchmark Chefs Light Up the Summer during National Grilling Month

The Woodlands (Houston), Texas, July 2019 … It’s the steak and the sizzle, the tang of a barbecue sauce and marvelous marinades made with the bite of a pepper or the sweetness of a fresh peach. It’s the Catch of the Day, reeled in just this morning and the snap of a cold beer opening.  It’s the smoky aroma of a Texas Barbecue brisket that transforms a suburban patio into a home on the range. It’s July, National Grilling Month and Americans will be firing up grills of every size this summer, celebrating the season with friends and family. Inspiring the festivities are eight leading chefs from Benchmark Resorts & Hotels and Gemstone Collection, with recipes that showcase the best of American regional cuisine.

“Sixty-three percent of Americans own outdoor grills, and our chefs are delighted to share these innovative ideas that will make their cook-outs fun and flavorful,” says Olivier Gaupin, Director of Culinary Operations. Mr. Gaupin, an internationally recognized French chef, contributed his unique culinary flair to the effort with a recipe for Grilled Lobster Tails.

Locally sourced, all-American ingredients reach their full potential on the grill. Start in the East with a New York Strip Steak topped with Trumpet Mushrooms marinated in Merlot. A Florida Grouper is sparked with Summer Corn Salsa and Lime Butter. From Benchmark’s Texas properties and celebrity chef Stephan Pyles, the “Father of Southwestern Cuisine” and Benchmark culinary advisor, come Barbecue Brisket, Pollo Asada el Carbon and Grilled Tomato Gazpacho with Goat Cheese Panna Cotta. On the West Coast, the heat goes on in Santa Cruz with Santa Maria Grilled Tri-Tip Sirloin topped with Chipotle Butter, and in Washington State, legendary wine country brings new dimensions to a Ribeye Steak in a Gewurztraminer marinade.  

Get the thrill of the grill with these sizzling recipes from the Award-winning Chefs of Benchmark Resorts & Hotels and Gemstone Collection:


Willows Lodge, Woodinville, Washington (Gemstone Collection)

Grilled Rib Eye with Pickled Peaches and Gewurztraminer Vinaigrette

Chef Bobby Moore:

Serves 8-10 people  

Rib Eye Rub

¼ c. white sugar                                                           1 tbsp. dry mustard

½ c. brown sugar                                                          2 tbsp. old bay

½ c. paprika                                                                 1/2 tsp. cayenne

¼ c. kosher salt                                                            ½ tsp. onion powder

¼ c. chili powder                                                          ½ tsp. granulated garlic

Method:  Start with five 14-16 oz. bone-in rib eyes.  Season the meat with the spice blend rub.  Rub the blended spices into the meat.  Place the rib eyes directly over the grill on medium high heat and cook for 2 minutes, then mark the meat by rotating 30 degrees and cook for another 2 minutes.  Turn the rib eye over and repeat by marking the side for a total of 4 minutes.  Let the meat rest for 3-4 minutes and serve medium rare.  Serve with Pickled Peaches and baby arugula tossed with a Gewurztraminer Vinaigrette.

Pickled Peaches

3 c. rice wine vinegar                                                    2 tsp. green cardamom

3 c. Mirin                                                                     1 tbsp. pickling spice

½ ea. jalapeno (halved)                                                 4 peaches (medium size)

Method:  Combine the first five ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil.  Prep peaches by washing, halving and seeding.  Cut each half into three even slices and place in a container large enough to hold the peaches and the liquid.  Strain liquid to remove the spices.  If peaches are firm, pour over them while it is still hot.  If the peaches are soft, cool liquid down before introducing to the peaches.  Let the peaches “pickle” overnight.


Stephan Pyles Concepts, Dallas, Texas

Grilled Tomato Gazpacho with Goat Cheese-Horseradish Panna Cotta

Celebrity Chef Stephan Pyles, Benchmark Partner Chef

Serves 4-6  

Grilled Tomato Gazpacho

2 pounds ripe plum tomatoes

1 small red bell pepper

1 English cucumber, peeled and seeded, divided

½ c. torn fresh or day-old country bread, (crusts removed)

1 small clove garlic

2-3 tbsp. Spanish sherry vinegar

1 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

¼ tsp. hot Spanish paprika or pinch of cayenne pepper

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

Method: Preheat grill to medium-high. Grill tomatoes and bell pepper, turning a few times, until they soften and the skins are blistered and charred in spots, about 8 minutes. Transfer the pepper to a plastic bag and let it steam until cool enough to handle. Peel off the skin; cut the pepper in half and discard the stem and seeds. Place one half in a blender. When the tomatoes are cool enough to handle, core and roughly chop. Add the tomatoes, skins and all, to the blender.

Add half the cucumber to the blender along with bread, garlic, vinegar to taste, parsley, paprika (or cayenne), salt and pepper. Blend until smooth. Add oil and blend until well combined. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 1 hour.

Before serving, finely dice the remaining cucumber and bell pepper; stir half of each into the gazpacho and garnish with the remaining cucumber and bell pepper.

Goat Cheese-Horseradish Panna Cotta

olive oil

1 ¼ tsp. unflavored gelatin (or 2 sheets)

½ c. milk

½ c. heavy cream

4 tbsp. freshly grated horseradish root

½ c.  whole milk yogurt, crème fraiche or sour cream

½ c. fresh goat cheese

Kosher salt

Method:  Brush six 2-ounce ramekins with olive oil. Sprinkle the gelatin over the milk and let soften, about 5 minutes. If using sheets, cover with water in bowl and strain water when softened. 

Place the cream and the horseradish in a medium saucepan and bring just to boil. Remove from heat, cover and let infuse for 15 minutes. Add the milk and crème fraiche to the saucepan and bring back to a boil. Remove from heat and whisk in the goat cheese until all lumps are gone. Strain mixture into a bowl; season with salt.  

Evenly divide the mixture between the ramekins. Place the ramekins in the refrigerator and chill for 2 hours or overnight. To serve, run the tip of a small knife around the edge of the ramekin and invert onto a soup plate. Spoon the gazpacho around the panna cottas. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil or garnish with olive oil powder.


Villas of Grand Cypress, Orlando, Florida (Gemstone Collection)

Grilled Florida Grouper with Summer Corn Salsa and Lime Butter

Chef Robert Gioia

Serves 4-6

Grouper in marinade

2 lb Fresh grouper filet

1 tbs. Olive Oil

1 tbs. Minced Garlic

2 tbs Fresh squeezed lime juice

1 tbs.  Chopped Mint

1 tsp Salt

.5 tsp Cracked black pepper

Method:  Take grouper filet and cut in 4-6 equal parts.  It should be about 5-6oz per serving.  Once the fish is cut, mix remaining ingredients in a small bowl and add grouper to coat.

Let the grouper sit in marinade while making remaining parts of recipe.

Corn Salsa

4 ea. Corn on the Cob                                                   .25 tsp Smoked Paprika

1 cup Diced mango                                                       2 ea. Limes juiced

.5 cup Diced avocado                                                    2 tbsp. Honey

.25 cup Diced tomato                                                    1/8 cup White Balsamic Vinegar

.25 cup Grilled and diced red pepper                             2 tbs. Chopped Cilantro

.25 cup Grilled and diced red onion                               4 tbs. Olive Oil

.25 tsp  Ground Cumin                                                 .5 tsp Salt

.25 tsp Smoked Paprika                                                 .25 tsp Cracked Black Pepper

Method:  Shuck and rinse the corn, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and place on grill till lightly browned and charred.  Slice the onion and char along with the corn. Remove corn and onion from heat and let cool. In the meantime, dice the mango, tomato, avocado, grilled red bell pepper, grilled onion and place in mixing bowl. Add the chopped cilantro, olive oil, spices, and lime juice to the mix and toss with salt and pepper. Shave the corn from the husk and using your hands separate the kernels.  Add to your mix and incorporate till well mixed. Season with salt and pepper.

Lime Butter

½ lb soft whole butter

3 ea limes juiced

½ ea Jalapeno diced

2 tbs. Cilantro chopped

Method:  Blend all ingredients together till smooth.


La Cantera Resort & Spa, San Antonio, Texas (Benchmark Resorts & Hotels)

Pollo Asado el Carbon

Chef Robert Carr

Serves 2-4


1 ½ c. Ancho chili powder                                            ½ each. Jalapeno pepper, chopped

1 tsp. Dried Mexican oregano                                        2 tbsp. Achiote paste

1 tsp. Ground cumin                                                     4 each. Garlic cloves

½ tsp. Ground cloves                                                    3 tbsp. Apple cider vinegar

½ tsp Ground cinnamon                                                ½ c. Orange juice

¼ c. Lime juice                                                             ½ tbsp. kosher salt

Method:  Combine all ingredients in a blender. Blend until all ingredients are combined thoroughly.  Puree should be smooth. Place in a container and keep refrigerated until ready to use.

Note:  Jalapeno pepper can be omitted for milder spice or jalapeno can be substituted with serrano or habanero for a much spicier marinade.  


1 large roasting chicken, 3lbs                                         1 c. marinade                                                   

Method:  Rinse chicken under cold running water and pat dry. Using chicken shears or large sharp knife cut through the back to remove the back bone. Chicken should be connected still by the breast plate. Flip chicken over and press down on the chicken to break the breast plate. Chicken should lie flat. Truss the legs close to the body using butcher twine. Tuck wings into the back. Smear the marinade over the chicken on both sides. Using your hands, rub the marinade into each side of the chicken. Let chicken rest in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours.

Prepare charcoal grill and bring up to 325 degrees. When charcoal is ready, place chicken on the grill with skin side up for 30-45 minutes. Do not turn chicken over. Using the remaining marinade, baste the chicken as it cooks. Before chicken is done flip over and cook until internal temperature reaches 165F and juices run clear. Remove from the grill, wrap in foil and let rest 10 minutes before cutting. Serve on platter along with roasted corn, beans, lime, tortillas and hot sauce.

Note:  Chicken can also be prepared on propane grill or cooked in the oven although flavor will not be the same. Mesquite wood chips can also be added to charcoal to give a smokier flavor to the chicken.


Delta Allen by Marriott Hotel, Allen (Dallas) Texas (Benchmark Resorts & Hotels)

Texas Brisket BBQ, with Chipotle BBQ Sauce Smoked Over Pecan Wood

Chef Stuart Race

Serves 20

BBQ Brisket

1 brisket (average weight 16 pounds)


1 cup brown sugar                                                        2 tbsp. Cumin ground                                      

1 cup White sugar                                                         2 tbsp. Onion Powder                                      

2/3 cup Kosher Salt                                                      2 tbsp. Garlic Powder                                      

4 tbsp. Course Black Pepper                                          2 tbsp. Cinnamon                                            

2 tbsp. Chipotle powder                                                .5 tbsp. Nutmeg                                   

4 tbsp. Paprika                                                            .5 tbsp. Cloves ground                                     

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl until well mixed.

BBQ Brisket Method:  Take the brisket and trim excess fat off, then rub down the brisket very generously all over until evenly coated. Bring smoker up to 220 degrees, place brisket in smoker and smoke for 12 hours or internal temperature of 190 degrees. Wrap up in butchers’ paper then let sit for 1 hour to relax before cutting. Once rested, cut the brisket and serve with the BBQ sauce.

Chipotle Sauce

6 ounces, Onions small diced                                        6 Cilantro stalks                                  

2 ounces, Garlic rough chopped                                     .5 tsp. Cinnamon                                             

1 tbsp Worchester sauce                                                1.5 c. Chicken stock                                         

1 chipotle, Chipotle in Adobe sauce                               1 tbsp. Dijon mustard                                       

1 tbsp. Balsamic vinegar                                               3 tbsp. Tomato ketchup                        

2 tbsp Brown Sugar                                                      2 tbsp. Molasses                                              

Method:  Sautee the onions and garlic until transparent, add the brown sugar and caramelize. Add the rest of the ingredients then bring up to a slow simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and place in a blender and blend until smooth. Place back on heat and bring to a simmer, correct seasoning with salt and pepper.


Chaminade Resort and Spa, Santa Cruz, California (Benchmark Resorts & Hotels)

Santa Maria Grilled Tri-Tip Sirloin, Chipotle Butter

Chef Pete Page

Serves 2-4

Tri-Tip Sirloin

¼ c. Kosher salt                                                            24 oz – 32 oz. Tri-Tip Sirloin

3 tbsp. ground black pepper                                         4 tbsp. chipotle butter              

2 tbsp. granulated onion                                                1 oz. wild baby arugula

1 tbsp. granulated garlic                                                1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil                                                                            

Method:  Mix the salt, pepper, granulated onion and garlic in a small bowl. Trim any silver skin membrane or gristle from the whole tri-tip sirloin. Rub the steak generously with the seasoning mix. Set aside. Light charcoal or hard wood grill and allow to burn until coals are white and evenly distributed, Place steak on the hottest part of the grill and allow to cook 4 minutes. Flip steak over and cook 4 minutes more, undisturbed. Rotate the steak one half turn and flip over. Cook 2-3 minutes. Flip steak once more and cook to desired temperature. Remove steak from grill and allow to rest off the grill in a small pan for 10-15 minutes. To serve, slice steak across the grain of the meat, top with chipotle butter and pan juices from the resting pan. Garnish with arugula dressed with olive oil.

Chipotle Butter

3 lb. unsalted butter, at room temperature                       2 tbsp. steak seasoning mix (above)

1 each 7 oz. can chipotle in adobo                                 3 sheets parchment paper or wax paper

Method:  Puree chipotle chilies and adobo sauce in a blender or food processer until smooth. Place butter and seasoning in the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment and starting on low, whip butter until softened. Add chipotle puree and slowly increase blender speak until butter is fluffy and a pale orange in color. Roll reserved butter in parchment paper and store frozen until needed for service.


Olivier Gaupin, Benchmark Director of Culinary Operations

Rosemary Grilled Lobster Tail, Toasted Corn and Tomato Salsa Toasted Pecan Basil Pesto

Serves 4

4 Each, 9oz Lobster Tail

4 Sprigs Fresh Rosemary

4 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive oil

1 tbsp. Squeezed Lemon Juice

Black Pepper | Sea salt

Method:  Combine olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper, rub each lobster tail with the mixture, insert a sprig of rosemary inside the shell of the lobster. Grill the lobster tail on top of hot wood charcoal for 6-7 minutes, remove the lobster and set aside.

Roasted Corn and Heirloom Tomato Salsa with basil

3 each Sweet White Corn on Husk

2 each Fresh Heirloom Tomato

1 each Red Onions Julienne

1 clove Fresh Garlic

1 each Lime Zest

1 each Lemon Zest

5 tbsp. Olive Oil

4 each Basil Leaves chiffonade

1 pinch Piment D’espelette

Method:  Grill the corn until tender, 6-8 minutes, once the corn is grilled and cooled, cut the kernels off the cob and reserve. Blanch the tomatoes in a hot water bath for 30 second to remove the skin, remove the tomatoes and chill in an ice water bath. Once the tomatoes are cold, peel off the skin, dice the tomatoes to a half of an inch and reserve. Slice half of a red onion in a very fine julienne, set aside. Chop 1 clove of garlic, and set aside.

Once all ingredients are ready, incorporate all ingredients together, with the Lime zest, olive oil, basil chiffonade and a pinch of espelette pepper, season well with salt and pepper.

Toasted Pecan Basil Pesto

4 oz. Raw Pecans, Toasted

5 Each Blanched Basil Leaves

1 tbsp. Parmesan Reggiano

1 clove Garlic Blanched

1 c. Extra virgin olive oil

1 Each Lemon juice

Method:  Incorporate all ingredients together in a blender at high speed, until all ingredients are well blended, 40-60 seconds. Refrigerate the pesto immediately to preserve its color. Cut the shell of the lobster, serve the salsa on the bottom of a coupe bowl-like plate, display the lobster tail still warm on top of the salsa and drizzle the pesto over the lobster.


The Ridge, Basking Ridge, New Jersey (Benchmark Resorts & Hotels)

Grilled N.Y Strip Steak, Spinach Puree, Marinated Trumpet Mushroom, Shallot-Merlot Reduction

Chef Vincent Raith

Serves 10   

Spinach Puree (cream of spinach)

3 QT baby spinach                                                        1 tsp. nutmeg

½ c. heavy cream                                                          Salt and pepper to

Method:  Reduce the heavy cream and nutmeg over low heat until thick consistency. Blanch baby spinach in salted, boiling water for 8 seconds, put it in an ice bath. When cool, press out excess water and chop.  Quickly blend baby spinach and reduced cream then season with salt and pepper.

Keep in a bain-marie until plating.

Shallot Merlot Sauce

2 c. finely chopped shallots                                           ½ tbsp. chopped thyme

1 garlic clove                                                                1 bottle of Merlot

1 cup veal demi glace

Method:  Sweat the shallots, garlic and thyme with blended oil. Add the Merlot and reduce until the level of the shallot. Pass through a fine mesh strainer and blend the cooked shallots. Reduce the wine until is a syrupy consistency then blend it with the shallot puree.

Season with salt and pepper.

Marinated Trumpet Mushrooms Sous-Vide

20 small royal trumpet mushrooms                                4 tbsp lemon oil

3 pieces orange peel (½ orange)                                     Juice from 1 orange

1 piece lime peel (½ lime)                                             1 clementine

Method:  Cut mushrooms in half, cut clementine in 4 pieces and place with the rest of the ingredients in a sous vide pouch or sealed plastic bag and let it marinate in the refrigerator for about 12 hours. Open the pouch, season with salt and pepper and grill with the steak.

Grilling Recipe Photography:

About Benchmark Resorts & Hotels®

Benchmark Resorts & Hotels® features the finest in lodging, dining, recreational and meeting accommodations.  Featuring unique and distinctive properties renown for exceptional service and for creating unforgettable memory-making experiences, it is the signature portfolio of BENCHMARK®, a global hospitality company, which has been a leading US-based hospitality management company for nearly 40 years.  Many Benchmark Resort & Hotels' properties are certified by IACC, the association that represents the finest meeting venues and services globally, and many have also been recognized with the coveted Benchmark Conference Centers® certification of meeting excellence.  To become a fan on Facebook, visit  Follow us on Twitter at, on Instagram at, and on Pinterest at

About Gemstone Collection

The Gemstone Collection includes distinctive hand-picked properties in spectacular and popular U.S. destinations coast to coast. Each upscale resort and hotel destination provides highly-personalized service and luxury reflective of the charm and unique character of the destination, while in keeping with the collection’s shared mission and passion for excellence.  A distinguished portfolio of BENCHMARK®, a global hospitality company, which has been a leading US-based hospitality management company for nearly 40 years, the Gemstone Collection is the preferred choice of guests who yearn for inspiring and transformative experiences, customization over conformity, stimulation over predictability, and adventure over routine. To become a fan on Facebook, visit, or follow us on Twitter at, on Instagram at, and on Pinterest at


Ken Ellens
Ken Ellens Communications
Phone: 201-758-2864