Published DateBELMONT — When Shannon Corbeil was hired as the head chef of Lakes Region Casino about seven months ago, she brought with her an expanded menu and the goal of turning the facility into a dining destination as well as a gaming facility.
Word has been spreading slowly, though. She still comes across people who don't know that there's a casino in the region, let alone one that offers a full menu of food she describes as "pub fare, plus".
In an effort to raise Lakes Region Casino's profile in the local restaurant scene, Corbiel will be one of the more than 20 chefs representing their restaurant at the 23rd Annual Taste of the Lakes Region, held Sunday, April 7, at the Conference Center at the Opechee Inn and Spa.
The Taste of the Lakes Region is the primary fund raiser for the Laconia Altrusa Club, a service organization that promotes literacy in the region and offers scholarships to local high school graduates. Tickets cost $25 and can be purchased at the Coldwell-Banker brokerage or Hector's Fine Food & Spirits in Laconia, or at Hart's Turkey Farm in Meredith. All proceeds will go directly to benefit the club's charitable activities.
Corbeil, though she's only been at the Casino for less than a year, has been cooking in the Lakes Region for about two decades. She recently worked at the Weirs Beach Lobster Pound, and before that, at Nadia's Trattoria. Participating in the event means a great deal of time and ingredient costs for Corbeil and the Casino, with no direct remuneration from the event. Corbeil's happy to put in the effort, for a couple of reasons. "Supporting Altrusa, everything they do for the community, they do a lot. If we can help support the community, that's always a plus," she said.
Like other restaurants, though, Lakes Region Casino is hoping to do some face-to-face marketing at the Taste, putting their food in front of diners who might not otherwise taste what they have to offer.
When Corbiel came on staff at the Casino, she said, "I changed everything." That included the menu. Prior to her arrival, the Casino offered various sandwiches, pizza and appetizer-type options. She kept some of the old favorites and added many more, mostly entrees. Diners have responded, with new items such as ribeye steaks, bourbon-marinated steak tips and chicken Alfredo proving some of the most popular at the Casino, which is open daily for lunch and dinner.
"I'm trying to get us out there as a restaurant," said Corbeil. She's planning to use the event to showcase her meatballs and marinara, both made by hand and in-house. "We're trying to ge our name out there, how we have good food. Come in to try it out."
CAPTION for ONIONS in AA:
Shannon Corbeil, head chef at the Lakes Region Casino, chops onions in preparation for lunch service. The Lakes Region Casino is one of the more than 20 local restaurants participating in the Taste of the Lakes Region, to be held April 7. (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Adam Drapcho)