What's your favorite thing on your menu right now and why?
My favorite dish right now is a whole fried Pompano with Ong Choy and Nam Chim. I went to Thailand for two weeks in September and spent most of my time traveling from Bangkok through the south and on the islands in the Andaman Sea. This sauce was really addictive and is commonly served with seafood. While they grill the fish mostly on the coastal and island regions, I love fish fried crispy like a lot of food stalls in Bangkok. Ong Choy was prevalent also and one of my favorite things to eat as well. This dish captures the flavors and aromas that I adored in that region of Thailand.
What are some restaurants that you like to go to? What do you eat there?
I enjoy Jasmine Restaurant on Convoy for dim sum and always get the chicken feet in black bean sauce and the stewed tripe with turnips. I love peasant foods and the ability to coax foods that are simple into complex flavors and textures.
Super Cocina is also one of my favorite spots, especially this time of year for guisados. They change the menu frequently but some of their great staples are Chile Colorado, Chicharron in Salsa Verde and Stewed Beef Tongue. This is soul food that is close to my heart and reminds me of my own grandmother.
Anything that you're "over", in terms of played-out restaurant and food trends or ingredients?
You know, I am really over restaurants that only seem to focus on tourism and because of location, use poor quality ingredients at ridiculously high prices. I just have such high respect for food and can't understand anyone in this business with the opposite attitude. You don't see that so prevalent in most cities where the metropolitan area is where you find the finest restaurants.
Do you have a wish or request for the local food scene or San Diego diners?
Explore more neighborhoods and get out of your comfort zones. There are tremendous restaurants peppered throughout the city from Jamaican to ramen and underrated Filipino joints. Let's be a little more adventurous!
I always felt like the San Diego food scene was stuck back in time a little. It has jumped leaps and bounds in the past five years since I have been here and I am excited to continue to see it's growth.
What makes cooking in here different than other cities you've worked in? How is San Diego unique as far as the restaurant/chef community?
Well first and foremost, our access to the most beautiful produce in the U.S. is one of the primary reasons that drew me here. The farmers are amazing and just the availability and length of seasonal produce alone is inspiring.
The chef community is really great here. I have to admit I don't usually get along with many chefs because of their giant Kanye West sized heads, but most of the chefs in this city are top notch, humble and fun to drink with! But seriously, when it comes to coming together for a cause, this city is way above its class. Tu salud San Diego.
· Alchemy Restaurant [Official Site]
· All Industry Dish on Eater San Diego [~ESD~]