We had the good fortune of connecting with Chef Gregorio Ignacio and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Chef Gregorio, what do you think makes you most happy? Why?
Working for myself because it opens up more opportunity for me to be creative in my craft of cooking. It also allows for me to try new things.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am a private chef with over 20 years of experience. This is the career I have built for myself since I got out of the military. While I was in the military, I created my first dish that would later become one of my signature dishes when I found out that I would be going to war when 9/11 happened. I grew up in the islands of Palau where we grow, plant, and hunt for our food. I was raised on the values of family, food, and culture. I think my experiences as a war veteran and cultural background has given me my unique style as a Chef. I see food as a vessel for bringing people together. I am probably most proud of when one of my dishes won “People’s Choice” award for the Santa Monica Seafood Festival. I am also honored and proud of all the people I have been able to meet and build impacting relationships with through my business. It was not easy getting to where I am today with having my own private chef business. When I decided to go from the corporate “Executive Chef” title world to having my own private chef business, I took major risks which included me uprooting myself and starting new when I moved from Hawaii to CA. I think my girlfriend who is my partner both in business and life, helped me the most in getting past these challenges and all those that are yet to come. She really showed me that life can be even better than you thought and you can make what seems impossible, possible. I think some of the greatest lessons I’ve learned along the way is that you gotta love what you do in order to put with the sacrifices and the BS that can come with the territory when you’re in business for yourself and all the risks are much higher. I would like people to know or be reminded of how short our time is in life. I hope to bring people together with my food to remind them of how important it is to make quality time for our loved ones with quality food.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
In my opinion, any kitchen is the most fun and exciting place to be where you’ll find all kinds of characters from every show. Outside the kitchen, in the cities of Los Angeles and San Diego, CA combined, there is a lot of everything to do here.

For a week long trip, if my friend was visiting, I would take them to Balboa Park in San Diego, Julian for apple pie and depending on the season, the snow. There is so much to see in the Gaslamp Quarter with amazing restaurants and bars. Lestat’s Coffee House is an infamous hole in the wall coffee house and venue.

Some of my favorite food spots in San Diego are Bombay Coast Indian Cuisine and isa.bella Pizza, Pasta & Craft Beer. I have to take them to Los Angeles since that is my other location I am based out of and when you come to Southern CA, you have to visit. There are far too many places to mention there but some of my favorite places are the Griffith Conservatory to see the stars at night and Kogi Taco Truck for tacos!

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would like to give a shoutout to all the mentors I had in the culinary world in Hawaii who helped shape and mold me into the Chef that I am today. I would also like to shout out to Lauren Silva a.k.a. “Monti the Artist” for opening me up to see new opportunities and for seeing the potential in me to open my own business.

Website: https://www.chefgregorio.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/chefgregorioignacio/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/chefgregorioignacio/

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCRx9YeD47Moa-vsKCLXt0XA

Image Credits
Lauren “Monti” Silva

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