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Chef-Alum of Rick Bayless’ Kitchen Joins Puesto Team

Chef Katy Smith trades Chicago for San Diego

Third Coast Photography

As Puesto preps to open its third location in Orange County, at Irvine’s Los Olivos Marketplace, the modern Mexican concept has brought on additional culinary talent to help with innovating menu items for the upcoming eatery and Puesto’s existing locations in San Diego.

Joining founding executive chef Luisteen Gonzalez is new executive creative chef Katy Smith, a SoCal native who most recently worked in Chicago with industry luminary Rick Bayless as the kitchen director for season 10 of Bayless’ Emmy-nominated PBS series, Mexico—One Plate at a Time, and oversaw recipe testing and development for Bayless’ most recent cookbook, More Mexican Everyday. Smith was also the culinary director of ‘The Feed’, Bayless’ James Beard Award-winning podcast.

Puesto owner Eric Adler says, "Adding chef Katy to the team creates a cohesion in the kitchen, as well as allows our culinary team time to source our ingredients from local purveyors and be involved in the communities Puesto is rooted in. With our expansion, it was necessary to add someone, and we feel like we hit the jackpot when we found Katy. She is one of the most talented and creative chefs in the Mexican food scene right now. Her experience alongside chefs like Bayless and Pablo Salas are relevant in a way that will help grow Puesto to become a culinary force. Quite literally, there is no one else who has been exposed to the food we are serving from so many of the regions of Mexico we want to share with our guests."

The chef has already rolled out some new dishes onto the menu, including Baja striped bass crudo with spicy guava broth, sesame oil, avocado, pickled manzano chiles and sea beans and a mushroom vegetarian taco with crispy melted cheese, garlic braised seasonal mushrooms, stone fruit jalapeño salsa, pickled onion and hearts on fire salsa.

Smith shared, "I'm really excited to create seasonal menu changes that really complement the amazing tacos and dishes that are already on the menu at Puesto. I love the relationship with local vendors as we never had anything like that in Chicago and can't wait to keep working on finding amazing local ingredients to make into killer tacos and small plates."


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