Valle’s 12 Chefs Before Christmas


By Jenna Gabrial Gallagher

Some of the best moments of the holidays are the ones that capture the sense of wonder, discovery and the joy of giving that we experienced as kids.

On the evenings of December 14th and 15th, Chef Roberto Alcocer, his team at Valle, and 12 of his respected peers from Mexico and the US, are giving guests a chance to do just that with The 12 Chefs Before Christmas, a first-of-its kind culinary event in a beautiful seaside setting… all while supporting two important organizations that are helping children.


Chef picking up herbs


The Idea Behind The 12 Chefs Before Christmas

Chef Alcocer came up with the 12 Chefs Before Christmas as a way to combine a few of his passions: sharing the flavors of Baja, Mexico, his homeland, in innovative ways that people can really connect with; sparking that special alchemy that happens in the kitchen when great chefs get together to exchange ideas; and helping children in need.

With the full and enthusiastic support of Mission Pacific, he invited a dozen of the chefs that inspire him most from Baja and Southern California to cook with him and his team at Valle, a California Michelin Guide restaurant. There will be six chefs collaborating each night.

The lineup from Baja includes Javier Plascencia, Benito Molina, Solange Muriz, Victor Morales, Paulina Amador and Drew Deckman. The chefs from Southern California are Claudette Zepeda, Josh Gil, Diego Hernandez, Brian Redzikowsky, Moira Hill and Sergio Jimenez. 

“I chose chefs that I respect…I like the way they cook, and I think they can vibe with each other. In the kitchen, it’s always a symphony,” explains Alcocer. While many of the California-based chefs are well-known, Alcocer says he’s excited to introduce the chefs from Mexico. “They have been doing a lot to put Baja on the map.” 

heart hands

How The 12 Chefs Before Christmas Supports Kids

As much as Chef Alcocer is looking forward to the event, he’s also really grateful to have this opportunity to help children. “When I see a kid in need, it just breaks my heart. So, I wanted to choose two charities that I know are really making a difference in the lives of kids.”

Tickets for the 12 Chefs Before Christmas are $250 each, with all proceeds on December 14th benefitting El Sauzal Casa Hogar Home for Children, a family-run orphanage helping abandoned, abused, and wounded children near Alcocer’s restaurant, Malva, in Valle de Guadalupe. On December 15th, proceeds will benefit The Autism Society of San Diego.

Alcocer says he’s been moved by the generosity of everyone involved with the project. From the chefs, for giving their time and talent, to Mission Pacific for donating food, staff hours and supplies, along with hotel rooms for the chefs and the beautiful Valle restaurant and terrace as an event space, to local purveyors, LMA Wines, and others who have donated. “I tell them about the charities, and they say ‘Let us know what you need.’”


Valle terrace


What You Can Expect from the Evening

Guests will have the opportunity to meet the chefs as they mingle against the backdrop of the sun setting over the Pacific Ocean during each evening’s cocktail hour on the terrace of Valle. There will be passed canapés, wine and live music, as well as a short presentation by a representative of the nonprofit selected for the evening’s proceeds.

At 7 P.M., just as the stars are starting to shine, Chef Alcocer will invite us all inside to dinner, where the styles, techniques and cultures of some of the most talented food visionaries of our time will be in harmony to create a dining experience like no other and a new line of hope for two communities of children.

“My dream for our guests is that you will be inspired by the foods of Baja so you will have a new destination to learn about and visit,” says Alcocer. “And that you’ll feel very good about the way you are helping kids”