What are you most excited about regarding working at The Terrace?
I’m most excited for the opportunity to create a new experience at The Terrace and for Pasadena in general— our new menu emphasizing fresh, local ingredients, and healthier direction overall.
What is your culinary philosophy on using local ingredients?
I aspire to be as market driven as possible, to be sustainable, and to also support local resources. Becoming aware of where your produce comes from is important, as is how it’s grown as well.
What are some of your new favorite menu items at The Terrace?
I’m looking forward to serving our Spanish style octopus with a beautiful al dente rigatoni pasta for the dinner service. I definitely think it will be a hit among our patrons! Or our take on a classic Monte Cristo during breakfast. Or just maybe the brown-butter garbanzos, another item we will be serving up during dinner service. And just one more since I got your taste buds going: a not-so-usual French dip bánh mì. Taking the best of both worlds and mashing them up, so California cuisine.
You’ve had the honor of cooking for Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, as well as cooking alongside chef Wolfgang Puck. What else would you like to accomplish on your culinary bucket list?
I’m forever grateful for all my experiences thus far in my career and my accomplishments. As the new chef of The Terrace, my goal is to leave a lasting impression on my team and the cooks I cross paths with. Being their leader, guiding them with insight, and encouraging them that the impossible is possible is my duty. I want my fellow cooks to remember me for my integrity and creativity, in hopes they carry on something I have taught them and pass it on to the next thriving cook.
Favorite way to spend a day off?
I would have to say my favorite things to do in my free time are spending time with my fiancé Saroun, walking our fur baby Khloe Bear, eating delicious food, visiting the farmers market, and hiking.