From left: Line Cook, Christian Orea; Line Cook, Francisco Gonzalez; Chef di Cucina, Riccardo Cuccaro; Assistant Chef di Cucina, Ramon Garcia; Stewardess, Dominga Aparicio

A career in the kitchen is no joke. Those who work in restaurant kitchens might as well be deemed superheroes – they spend hours on their feet, the pace is fast…all the time, work is almost always done under pressure, perfection is often necessary, and mistakes (even small ones) can be disastrous. To successfully work behind the scenes in a restaurant requires discipline, commitment, attention to detail and some darn good knife skills. The culinary team at Ponte Vineyard Inn’s Bouquet Restaurant meets all of these requirements and then some.

The Chef di Cucina

Led by Chef di Cucina, Riccardo Cuccaro, the restaurant staff at Bouquet is responsible for producing some of the best dishes (and certainly the best dining experience) in Temecula Valley. What the menu lacks in size it more than makes up for in quality…and isn’t that what’s important, anyway? For 22 years Chef Cuccaro has worked in the culinary world. Inspired by his father, who was a chef in Italy for 45 years, and equally inspired by his hometown of Positano, Italy, Chef Cuccaro is strongly influenced by the Mediterranean Sea, which plays into Bouquet’s seafood-heavy dinner menu. Before Bouquet, he worked in many fine restaurants in southern Italy and under the tutelage of Michelin-starred chefs. His approach to food is simple yet refined: use the best, seasonal ingredients and don’t overcomplicate the flavors. His favorite Bouquet dish to make? Lobster Ravioli!

The Culinary Team

Name: Ramon Garcia

Position: Assistant Chef di Cucina

What he does: Works directly under Riccardo Cuccaro and often supervises other members of the kitchen staff. He spends the majority of his time cooking in the kitchen and can handle any food station with ease– from salads to entrees to desserts.

Favorite Bouquet dish to make: Pan-seared Halibut

Name: Christian Orea

Position: Line Cook

What he does: Christian is responsible for prepping ingredients and assembling dishes according to Bouquet’s recipes and specifications. With the hot, noisy and sometimes stressful atmosphere a kitchen can employ, line cooks must always be able to work efficiently and quickly.

Favorite Bouquet dish to make: Filet Mignon

Name: Francisco Gonzalez

Position: Line Cook

What he does: see Line Cook description above.

Favorite Bouquet dish to make: Swordfish


Name: Dominga Aparicio

Position: Stewardess

What she does: Dominga works under the supervision of Chef Cuccaro. She is responsible for the basic maintenance and cleanliness of the kitchen and dining areas. While she may keep a low profile, the tasks she accomplishes are essential to maintaining a successful restaurant.

Favorite Bouquet dish: Salmon

We invite you to make a reservation at Bouquet Restaurant and see why TripAdvisor awarded us a 2015 Certificate of Excellence! Reserve your table here. We are open for breakfast and dinner daily, and for lunch on Saturday and Sunday.

–Erica Martinez