Chef Ashurina Younan found her passion for cooking at a young age; from ages 6-9 she even dressed as a chef for Halloween. Chef Rina, as most people know her, started in the kitchen at home; while her younger sister played outside and her older sister studied for school, Chef Rina preferred helping her mom cook dinner. Rina’s drive and passion for cooking grew over the years and she went on to pursue cooking on a professional level. After graduating high school in 2004, Rina moved to San Diego to explore her career options, and attend college. She graduated from the San Diego Culinary Institute in 2006, and immediately began working her way up the ranks in professional kitchens. In 2007 Rina moved back to Northern California to be close to her family, where she continued her career in fine dining. Over the next several years, she worked for several high end restaurants, hotels, casinos, and clubs, such as Cache Creek Casino Resort, Le Rivage & Scott’s Seafood on the River, The Firehouse in Old Sacramento, Valley Hi Golf Club & Thunder Valley Casino Resort. Finally Rina landed the Chef De Cuisine position at Arden Hills Resort Club & Spa in Carmichael CA, were she ran 3 different restaurants, and specialized in high end events, weddings and catering. Rina excelled and took their culinary program to new standards, all while maintaining their wellness philosophy.
It was during her time at Arden Hills that Chef Rina decided to chase her dream of being on television. She started by doing community outreach and featuring some of her recipes on live local news segments and online publications. She came across the opportunity to apply for the Food Network’s hit competition cooking show ‘Chef Wanted with Anne Burrell’, and went for it. Within weeks she was filming the show for the opportunity to become the next Executive Chef at well- known restaurant The Pear Southern Bistro in Napa, CA, one of award-winning Chef Rodney Worth’s flag ship restaurants. She dominated the competition through sheer determination and passion for cooking, and won the show and the position of Executive Chef.
After working closely with Chef Rodney Worth for just under a year, Chef Rina sought out something closer to home. She wanted something more challenging where she could apply her creativity, outstanding leadership skills, and passion for fresh, healthy and from-scratch cooking. Oakmont of Roseville was just the place. Although Chef Rina is new to the Assisted Living environment, after seeing the community and learning that the culinary program at Oakmont was compared to that of a fine dining restaurant, she couldn’t resist the challenge. Since Rina has become part of the Oakmont family, she continues to push the bar on industry standards and prove that Assisted Living can also offer exceptional culinary arts. She enjoys cooking the same dishes she ate growing up for her residents, using only the freshest of ingredients every time. Rina says “cooking is hard work and isn’t always fun, but I’m in a career that is all about making people happy through the food that I make. There is nothing like ending a busy day with a dining room full of happy residents and guests, and hearing that they loved the food. It makes all the hard work worth it, and that’s why I love what I do.”
Since starting at Oakmont of Roseville, Rina has gone on to win two more Food Network challenges: Cutthroat Kitchen and Beat Bobby Flay.