Ameristar Chef Ashley Archer|[07/16/08]

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Ameristar Executive Chef Ashley Archer and his culinary team have taken top honors at the annual Mississippi Hospitality and Restaurant Association’s Chefs of Mississippi Awards Gala.

Ashley and the Ameristar team wowed the judges and the 500 guests assembled with Chef Ashley’s creative entree, a modern twist on a classic surf and turf favorite – Red Wine Braised Oxtail and Seared Sea Scallops with Rice Style Grits paired with a Rose Water Bourbon Cocktail.

The chefs were judged in three categories: taste, presentation and originality.

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“Ameristar stole the show during the award presentation,” Bess Mitchell Averett, public relations manager for the casino, said. “Chef Ashley was the only chef to place in every category.”

Annual event

Each year, Mississippi’s brightest and best chefs are selected to compete in the annual event. The culinary stars selected prepare and present the savory dishes of their choice to celebrity judges for awards and acclaim. For the first time, an Ameristar chef was chosen to participate in this year’s event; and Chef Archer was the only chef from this area and the only casino chef in the state to be selected to compete in the event.

The chefs were judged in three categories: taste, presentation and originality. Chef Ashley was the only chef to place in every category, and the Ameristar team was awarded first place in originality and second place in both the taste and presentation categories.

“It is a great honor to have recognition at this level for our exceptional culinary team. At Ameristar, we set very high standards in order to deliver the highest quality product possible to our guests each day,” said General Manager Adrian Caldwell. “Chef Ashley and the rest of the culinary team are extremely talented, and I am very proud of their victory.”

Although the most recent, these awards are not the first for Ameristar’s executive chef. Chef Ashley was awarded the Mobil 4 Diamond Award while at the Westin Salishan Dining Room at Gleneden Beach, Ore. He also carries an impressive background as executive chef at the Westin Philadelphia, executive sous chef at the Sheraton Overland Park, the Westin Salishan and the Sheraton Birmingham. He joined the Ameristar family in 2005 as assistant executive chef of Ameristar’s Kansas City property. In 2007, he was named executive chef for Ameristar Vicksburg, where he blends a variety of flavors in each of the Ameristar restaurants while teaching others to enhance their abilities.

“Under control, vocal, focused yet fun, describes Chef Archer’s personality in the kitchen, Averett said. “His food is eclectic, combining a passion for Southern cuisine blended with influences from travels to the Pacific Northwest, Hawaii, Arizona and Miami.

“Learning from his mother and grandmother in Alabama, Chef Ashley began honing his gift at the early age of 14 by preparing food for an Italian fine dining restaurant.”

AmeristarAmeristar Casino Hotel Vicksburg is a wholly owned subsidiary of Ameristar Casinos Inc. and is the long-time market share leader in the city of Vicksburg. The casino extends over 65,000 square feet and provides nonstop gaming with the latest slot machine technology. Adding to the property’s total entertainment offerings are The Bottleneck Blues Bar, with great live entertainment in a Delta-style blues club environment; the Star Awards VIP players lounge; and high definition plasma screens for special-event viewing. The property also offers a 149-room deluxe hotel and a variety of dining choices, including Bourbon’s Restaurant and the Heritage Buffet.Ameristar Casinos Inc. is a leading Las Vegas-based gaming and entertainment company known for its premier properties characterized by innovative architecture, state-of-the-art casino floors and superior dining, lodging and entertainment offerings. For additional information, visit Ameristar Casino’s Web site at”I love seeing how food changes from place to place and how each region has its own core ingredients to work with. I like to bring those ingredients and pair them with my Southern roots to create fun, and exciting dishes” Ashley said.

Expansion planned

As executive chef for Ameristar Vicksburg, Chef Ashley oversees Bourbon’s Restaurant, the Heritage Buffet and the Bottleneck Blues Bar. Next on the horizon is the culinary expansion for Ameristar Vicksburg. With the $100 million casino expansion, Ameristar will be adding new amenities this summer including two new themed restaurants and a more lavish VIP lounge offering cocktail service and meals twice daily. The property is also adding a state-of-the-art bakery to further enhance the existing and new dining venues.

Pearl’s Oyster Bar, due to open in August, welcomes the best of New Orleans to Vicksburg. This warm, inviting restaurant takes inspiration from Creole and Cajun culture and cuisine with fresh seafood as the main attraction. Pearl’s is the perfect eclectic, casual gathering place offering the most scenic views of the Mississippi River around.

Also opening in August is the all-new casino deli, DeliLUX. Available to settle a craving almost anytime you need a snack or a quick meal, the deli will feature cold and hot sandwiches, salads, pies and more.

“I look forward to the new restaurants, which will add to the already exceptional dining offerings at Ameristar,” Ashley said. “The challenge of opening new restaurants and creating new menus is always rewarding for a chef.”