PHOTO/DAVID ROBERT: Centro chef Geoffrey Caliger, on Centro South: “We would like to continue to be the location people choose to visit for an exclusive, decadent experience.”

After many of his guests expressed dissatisfaction with the original Centro South menu concept, Alberto Gazzola—the long-time Reno restaurateur and owner of both Centro locations—knew he needed to make some changes.

As a result, he recruited chef Geoffrey Caliger—or Cheffrey, as many in the community affectionately call him—to take over the Centro kitchens and immediately integrate a new, more-inclusive menu at Centro South that is reflective of Reno’s preferred food culture.

Cheffrey—formally educated at the Scottsdale Culinary Institute and classically trained on the line at Mina Group in a brigade-style kitchen with James Beard Award-winning chefs—has worked for the past four years as the head chef at Liberty Food and Wine Exchange, of the Reno Local Food Group. However, Cheffrey said he’s always desired to have a deeper role in a company—and eventually do his own thing. Over the years, business owners and investors in the community had begun to notice what he had accomplished at Liberty and had started to reach out to him to talk about opportunities.

A few months ago, Cheffrey sat down with Mark Estee, the owner of Reno Local Food Group, to discuss his future. While Estee had done what he could by expanding Cheffrey’s role at the company, they concluded that it would be several years before the group of restaurants would be able to offer him the level of partnership he was looking to achieve.

Soon thereafter, Cheffrey received the offer of a partnership with Gazzola.

“Cheffrey has worked really hard for us,” Estee said. “We want everyone who works for us to get the best opportunities, even if we are not the entity that is able to provide that opportunity at the right time for them. The timing of this opportunity has worked out well for him, and while he will be missed; we wish him nothing but the very best. It has been my pleasure to have had the opportunity to work with Cheffrey. He is a great chef, a wonderful guy and a dedicated family man.”

On June 24, Centro South—located in the Village at Rancharrah—launched new lunch and dinner menus that include both small and large plates at reasonable prices. Cheffrey and his team are also offering daily specials, as well as the options of creating a custom menu for a dining party, or requesting a chef’s choice menu whenever diners are looking to elevate their culinary experience.

The newly revamped menu reflects Cheffrey’s view of Reno’s food culture, which focuses on high-quality food, executed well. In addition to nostalgic dishes (like gnocchi, a lobster roll and a burger), guests have the opportunity to delight in dishes made with familiar ingredients that are prepared and presented in innovative and unique ways (such as calamari or tuna).

“We would like to continue to be the location people choose to visit for an exclusive, decadent experience,” Cheffrey said. “And we also want to be known as a place for people to come to get a little bit of everything for lunch or dinner. There are going to be items you are familiar with, and items you are not. The menu will always be approachable but will take people on a food culture journey.”

PHOTO/DAVID ROBERT: On June 24, Centro South—located in the Village at Rancharrah—launched new lunch and dinner menus.

Cheffrey is also leading the kitchen at Centro Midtown; however, he said he plans to leave the menu there relatively unchanged at this time.

“Eventually, the menu at Centro Midtown will also change slightly. We will most likely add a few large plates, including a burger, and are looking forward to bringing lunch back,” Cheffrey stated. “But these changes will happen over time so that people will still be able to recognize and enjoy the restaurant they love.”

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Cheree Boteler is the founder of Hungry in Reno, a brand created to support local food and drink establishments by sharing reputable, interesting, innovative and exciting food and drink experiences with...

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