We had the good fortune of connecting with Patsy Bentivegna and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Patsy, why did you pursue a creative career?
Spreading joy is what it’s all about! As the oldest girl of six kids, I learned very early on how to cook and bake. I experienced firsthand the glory and satisfaction of what it is like to put a smile on someone’s face simply by baking them a cake! These activities not only satisfied a creative outlet but gave me a foundation that would later develop into a career that I love.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I started my career as a chef at a time when I was very often the only female in the kitchen. It certainly had its challenges, but I wasn’t going to let the gender differences create a competition, I choose to let my work speak for itself. Cooking is more than a job to me, it’s an art form! I love to create, so I am in a constant mode of developing new dishes and desserts. Early on in my career, I developed a standard and a motto for myself, “It’s not just about preparing food, it’s about preparing amazing food!” My career has taken me down a long path of owning a cafe and a wholesale bakery as well as working at a variety of fine dining restaurants, hotels, and catering companies, but the most rewarding for me is teaching, it’s my “giving back”. I have taught cooking for many years at such places as Sur La Table and have had an in-person cooking school, but due to the pandemic and the upswing of online learning, I have recently filmed a series of baking videos to be launched in December and I will be offering live virtual cooking/baking classes as well. The name of the series is” Chef Patsyb Online Baking School’.
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.
It’s hard to determine favorite places in San Diego when there are so many to choose from! When my friends visit I take them to the Del Mar/Solana Beach area. Breakfast at Claire’s on Cedros or Lofty Coffee followed by shopping in the Cedros Design District area. A spa day at L’Auberge Del Mar MyHotel and a poolside lunch is a real treat, one that I have enjoyed many times! Any location near the water, so Las Olas Mexican Food in Solana Beach and sharing one of their famous pitchers of margaritas is always a fun time! If I’m looking to go on a staycation, Coronado Island is my go-to place to be! The Del Coronado Hotel and it’s beautiful private beach continues to be one of the most memorial places to visit and enjoy in San Diego.
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?
There are so many, it’s hard to choose one! I have three that I would like to recognize. The person who has always been my biggest supporter and continued source of encouragement is my son, Ryan Bentivegna. His career is in advertising, so he gave me the tagline of “Flavor Designer” as he has witnessed me many times exploring and developing flavor combinations as I design a new dish or dessert, sometimes at his suggestion. I don’t think there was a more prouder son, then when his mother competed and won on the Food Network show, “Bakers vs. Fakers”. His excitement was my greatest joy! The second person is Joann Roth Oseary, President of Someone’s In The Kitchen catering company in Los Angeles. Joann gave me my start in the food industry 40 years ago. Working as her apprentice, she took me from a home cook to a professional chef and gave me the foundation I needed to become the chef that I am today. The third person is Bradley Ogden. He is a James Beard Award-Winning Celebrity Chef and owner of several restaurants in San Francisco. I had the honor of being one of his Pastry Chefs. It was one of the highlights of my career, a real game changer! I don’t think he knows the impact he had on my growth as a chef and just how much I learned from him, especially about flavor and why the quality of the ingredients you choose and how they are used will impact the success of your dish and make memories for the guests who enjoy them.
Facebook: Patsy Bentivegna
Other: You can catch my win on the “Brownie Points” episode of “Bakers vs. Fakers” on the Food Network channel or Hulu.com