We had the good fortune of connecting with Daniel Villanueva Jr and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Daniel, what matters most to you?
Truth is my ultimate value and principle. Without it nothing is real. Food is healing and cleaning of the body, nothing compares to the hunger that food satisfies in the body, the mind, the heart, and the soul. And though everyone has their own truth, I prefer mine. My relationship with farmers, ranchers, companies, fish mongers, and their families is truth.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My first realized talent is drawing & painting. I was winning art contests since kindergarten and I knew that I was super talented. I wanted to be a “starving artist” when I grew up. I laugh now because I really did become a starving artist for a while.
Once I heard ac/dc, iron maiden, judas priest and others when I was about 10 years old, I found that I was also a talented drummer naturally. I played music all through highschool straight into Hollywood while I worked in restaurants. In the end, I kept art, music for fun and became a professional chef through hard work and time. 2 catering companies and 2 restaurants later I have settled with Daniel’s Table. Where my art and music come through in my food that we serve both at the restaurant and privately catered events.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Lol .. if I had a best friend .. I would take him or her to visit every single farm and market that I get all of my food and wine from, vegetables, fruits, dairy, fish, meats, everything ! From Santa Barbara, Laguna Beach, Santa Monica, Bakersfield, Chino, Riverside, 29 Palms, Joshua Tree, Yucca Valley, Cherry Valley, and Coachella Valley. And we would eat and drink for a week non stop !

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I want to dedicate my Shoutout to my Father God who showed me mercy and grace. Offering his hand to me from a merciless career in the pits of endless forms of success tapered with vices throughout my elegant restaurant and motion picture television catering career. I worked over 200 jobs and didn’t have mentors except for Ed LeDoux who owned Caioti Pizza on Laurel Canyon & N. Hollywood. He was a noble man and in his memory I kept his “almost” 1924 Caesar salad on my seasonal menu. I found success through humility and realizing that my gifts and talents were given to me for the sake of others and then I began to flourish. In time, I began to meet farmers, ranchers, my other vendors and all of their families which has led to the amazing relationships that I have to this day serving Daniel’s Table.

Website: danielstable.com

Instagram: danielstablecatcity

Yelp: daniels table

Other: Daniels Table also on open table, toast, happy cow, restaurant guru

Image Credits
Daniels Table, The Ecology Center

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