Chef George’s restaurant is a lasting legacy of an amazing man whose vision of laughter, delicious food, great music and unbreakable bonds lives on. Chef George Ristich owned the legendary and successful restaurant George’s Camelot C H E FGEORGE&LANA in Newport Beach before relocating to the desert with his wife Lana in 2003. They opened Chef George’s, serving authentic European and Hungarian cuisine freshly made from scratch daily and seasoned with authentic spices and herbs.
George was only 14 years old when he discovered his passion and talent for cooking. His father saw his incredible potential and knew George was destined for outstanding accomplishments through cooking. Originally from Europe, George’s family briefly moved to Canada before immigrating to the US, but no matter where he moved George carried his Hungarian roots and a world of flavor with him.
By the age of 24 he became an Executive Chef – the youngest of that title in North America. From there George’s passion for cooking blossomed in impressive venues such as the Bel-AirCountry Club, Scandia, Escoffier Rooms and Del Ray Yacht Club.
One of Chef George’s greatest legacies, attested tob ymany, was his love and attentiveness for those around him. His restaurant served as a place to become family for everyone who walked through the doors as he made rounds to warmly greet everyone who entered.
Lana shared her fond memories of George’s unfailing morning routine; he ensured she had a fresh cup of coffee accompanied by a rose every morning. His attentiveness to detail and his dedication and love for his community thrives as patrons continue to fill the seats in the home-like and warm ambience of the family diner. Separated only by a wall from Chef George’s restaurant is the famous Picassos Lounge, a much more cozy and romantic setting filled with lively music and cheers.
Over the years, Chef George’s Picasso Hungarian Restaurant has been visited by various celebrities including country singer Toby Keith. George himself cooked for movie stars such as Elizabeth Taylor, Ray Milland, John Wayne, and Lauren Bacall. All Chef George’s creations boast intense flavor and a call to his heritage. George perfected the homemade Hungarian apple strudel as a tribute to his childhood and cultural roots. Samples of his tempting dinner dishes are seafood linguine, made with fresh tomatoes, mushrooms, green onion and creamy white wine sauce, or cannelloni Bolognese, crepes with cream chicken topped with seasoned meat sauce, Swiss and parmesan cheese and served with spaghetti.
“George was a wonderful and honest man. He loved everyone all the way to the end,” says Lana, who continues her husband’s legacy through the restaurant’s operations along with the team of devoted chefs who have been there since opening day 20 years ago. “He put love in every dish, and I hope to keep that same feeling!”
Visit Chef George’s Restaurant & Picasso Lounge on the corner of Washington and Country Club: 40100 Washington St Suite #125, Bermuda Dunes. To make reservations call 760-200-1768.