We had the good fortune of connecting with Ruben Maldonado and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Ruben, can you talk to us about the impact the Covid-19 Crisis has had on your business.
Well, unfortunately catering requires larger than 20 people sized gatherings in order for it to be profitable for us, so that hasnt been and doesn’t seem feasible in the near future. That being said, we don’t know when we will be able to start back up and assume we will be probably the last group to be allowed to work. We are looking at reinventing ourselves to maybe a private chef business… maybe. Lol.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
What sets us apart is that we do things the old school way, meaning, that we smoke meats at low temps for long periods of time. Usually pulling all nighters to meet our event needs. We strive to serve the freshest food possible. I have been cooking my whole life but one of the greatest experiences for me was going to Culinary School. It wasn’t easy but it wasn’t impossible because of the knowledgeable instructors who cared about giving us a full experience. The challenges I faced were nay sayers, self doubt, and fear of how to pay my daily bills because of leaving that paycheck from the regular 9-5 job. I overcame all this by feeding off my wife’s support, jumping into it head first, and not giving up. Lessons learned is never give up on your dreams, strive to be the best, never listen to the nay sayers, and believe in yourself. We work hard so our customers benefit the most from the wonderful world of our art also known as Culinary Art, always reaching for that Umame moment!!!

Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
Places to visit would be of course, Old Town San Diego, Balboa Park, Coronado, PB, OB, Point Loma, Downtown Gaslamp Quarter, Midway, Breweries, Wineries, and the town of Julian. Places to eat would be Hodad’s, Grande ole BBQ, Herb & Wood (which I worked at), Tender Greens, Crack Shack, Carnitas Shack, La Quinta Grill, Old Town Mexican Cafe, Sardinias, and OB Noodle House. I love the feel of Julian, CA. Im a sucker for the outdoors and small town feel. There is a great little place out there called Fort Cross Old Timey Adventures. They do a hay ride, teach candle making, arts and crafts, tomahawk throwing, bow and arrow, slingshot range… great time with good people!

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Yes!! Always our regulars who keep coming back for more, Wendy who is always pushing more business towards us, Brian Britton who is always talking us up and pushing us on social media, my wife who supports all my endeavors and my kiddos who are always there when I need them.

Instagram: Smoke_n_aces
Linkedin: Ruben Maldonado
Facebook: Smoke n Aces BBQ
Other: you tube channel coming soon!