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Vote for Your Favorite Chef in Hillcrest, Presented By Wells Fargo

Written By: Mimi Dang Chef in Hillcrest

Cesar Garcia: Fig Tree Café

Cesar Garcia is the Corporate Executive Chef for Rise & Shine Restaurant Group. Cesar has many years of culinary experience working in the kitchen for international brand hotels such as Four Points by Sheraton to Peohe’s serving breakfast for the San Diego Chargers NFL team. Cesar also gained significant knowledge and leadership experience during his employment with Gordon Biersch and Yard House as part of the management teams.

Cesar joined the Rise & Shine Restaurant Group in 2011 working at the Fig Tree Cafe Pacific Beach location, and then transferring to the Fig Tree Cafe Liberty Station location where he assumed the Executive Kitchen Manager position. It wasn’t too long after that he was proving himself fit for the Corporate Executive Chef position with the Rise & Shine Restaurant Group, overseeing all Fig Tree Café locations, plus Breakfast Republic locations!

Chef P’Sam: Lotus Thai Cuisine

Chef P’Sam has been with Lotus Thai Cuisine since it’s opening in 1999, and her loyalty has been a very important element in the success of the restaurant. She’s been influential in building Lotus Thai to be one of the best restaurants in the area by putting her heart and hometown Thai flavors into every dish she prepares.


Chef Brad Wise: Trust Restaurant

Brad is an East Coast native who moved out west at 21, fresh out of culinary school. Food has been his passion since the age of 12 and he’s been an Executive Chef since the age of 25 when he took over The Padre Hotel – a three level kitchen that serviced five dining outlets. It was there that Brad took home multiple awards two years in a row. Brad started out in San Diego at JRDN in Pacific Beach’s Tower 23 Hotel and most recently worked as Executive Chef of Belmont Park’s Cannonball & Draft.


Chef Carmine Lopez: Great Maple

Chef Carmine Lopez started as a line cook at Azul La Jolla, eventually cooking her way to the top, when she left her position as Executive Chef in 2012. As the Executive Chef at Great Maple, she is able to build the brand down in San Diego, pulling from her multicultural background having lived in the Philippines, Japan and San Diego due to her dad being in the Navy.

Chef Daniel Barron: Bull & Grain

With over 18 years of experience, Chef Daniel Barron ran some of America’s top kitchens in New York City, Beverly Hills, Nashville, and a top Atlantic City casino, to name a few. His creative menus, as well as himself have been ranked in the Top Ten Molecular Gastronomy Restaurants in America by Gayot.com, James Beard Award Semi Finalist Best Restaurant/Chef, and has been highly ranked by the New York Times. He has locally been awarded with the Chef of the Year Gaslamp Quarter Lamplighter Awards and Chef of the Fest San Diego Bay Wine and Food Festival.

At Bull & Grain, his talent will continue to push the palette, by incorporating worldly influences into a Progressive-American cuisine. Simon Wolujewicz, owner of Bull & Grain stated, “As we finalize our menu, we have come to the realization that our cuisine will be one of the most creative and astounding around.”


Chef Moumen: Kous Kous Moroccan Bistro Restaurant

Chef Moumen came up with the concept for Kous Kous Moroccan Bistro while growing up in the beautiful city of Marrakech. Kous Kous Moroccan Bistro is his way to share his story, and the fragrant herbs and spices, music, and colors of Morocco to all of us!


Chef Craig “Andy” Beardslee: Hash House a go go

Chef Craig “Andy”’ Beardslee serves as both co-owner and executive chef at Hash House a go go. His mission is to keep his food fresh and fun, pulling from the experiences of farm fresh agriculture, live stock, and old recipes based on his Indiana roots.


Chef Lety Gonzalez Bio, Uptown Tavern

Lety Gonzalez is a native San Diegan. She started cooking at a young age with her mother, grandmother and older sisters.  After college and living in Los Angeles, she re-discovered her passion from Chef Erik Sarkisian, who taught her the art of cooking. Working many positions in different kitchens and music venues, she felt it was time to focus on one career.  Chef Lety started as line cook at Uptown Tavern in 2013 and earned the title of Uptown Tavern’s new Executive Chef in March of 2015! Chef Lety believes one of the most important parts of her new role as Executive Chef is teaching and developing budding future chefs; she says as long as she is teaching, she will constantly be learning as well.

Vote for Your Favorite Chef in Hillcrest