Chef Aaron Esquibel’s culinary career began early on, inspired by his grandmother’s love and respect for the food of her youth, he loved helping alongside her in the kitchen and learning all the tastes and smells of her hometown in Juarez, Mexico. After graduating Le Cordon Bleu in 2000, Chef Esquibel worked at several well known establishments in all aspects of the kitchen. Including, Hollywood Roosevelt hotel, Windows, Patina Group, and also spent several years as a Pastry Chef at the Ritz Carlton in Pasadena. Pre-pandemic he was employed at Michelin starred, Orsa & Winston in DTLA.Currently he is working as a private chef and hosts various pop-ups throughout the city. Find him on Instagram at pulpo_official.
Chef Bret Thompson (@PezCantina) was inspired to create Pez Cantina, his seafood-focused restaurant in Downtown L.A., by his travels to Loreto on the Sea of Cortez and by his marriage into a Mexican family. At Pez he has a created a menu focused on sustainable, local ingredients that draws from the traditions of the distinct Coastal Mexican cuisines of Baja, Oaxaca, and the Yucatan Peninsula. Pez Cantina has quickly become a mainstay of Bunker Hill’s dining culture.
Bret’s earliest memories of the sea are from about the age of 7 when he would accompany his father and his uncles on overnight fishing trips out of San Pedro. His fishing skills at that young age were enough to draw the competitive spirit out of his adult relatives; it was on these trips that he first learned to love the sea.
I’m Chef Nigel Solancho from Quezon City, Philippines. Currently chef at Le Petit Paris in downtown Los Angeles. I grew up being highly influenced and inspired by Asian and Los Angeles street food/art with modern French technique style of cooking. I traveled to Thailand and learned under Asia’s #1 restaurant, 2 star Michelin at Gaggan Restaurant in Bangkok, Thailand.
WholeSam began as a way to show people that home cooked food can be so much more fun, personal, enjoyable, connected, healthy, and sensational than eating out. There are certain rules at restaurants and establishments like, "you can't put this with that.." or you have to dress a certain way. But at home there are no boundaries. No rules. We all know how it feels to eat at home and I want to bring these special moments back with a touch of elegance.
My love for food made me pursue a career in cooking. I found myself cooking for friends, parties, family dinners, and anything that anyone would let me cater. It lead me on an incredible path to becoming a private chef for Ludacris and many A list celebrities.
The best part about cooking is that the more time I spend in the kitchen, the happier I am. I am a certified health coach as well so my nutrition brain is always thinking about making food nourishing. I strongly believe that you can be healthy and be a foodie at the same time. I prepare all my food with heart. And a lot of soul. Seeing people feel amazing in their bodies is the most rewarding part! I want all my clients to look and feel their best!
Chef Ayo Cherry
I grew up working in my auntie's restaurant "South Side Diner," in Tallahassee, Florida. I still remember what it was like going there everyday, how she knew everyone's orders as soon as they walked in. She knew their names, their kids, hell she knew if they weren't supposed to eating the fried foods anymore. That's how I learned southern hospitality.
Fast forward about 15 years and thanks to a referral from a chef and a great steak I became the private chef for Lil Wayne, officially landing my first celebrity client. From there I have cooked for people I could only imagine. Travis Barker, Da Baby, and a few others. In addition to my clients I create recipes and videos on Buzzfeed and I won Supermarket Stakeout on Food Network!
Chef and curator of Baryo, a pop up in the Long Beach area showcasing influences from South East Asia and Southern California. While encouraging hyper local produce, a partnership formed with Farm Lot 59 to grow, cook, and serve food to the Long Beach community that is most in need. Make sure to visit Moon Rabbit, his newest venture inside Grand Central Market serving up a variety of Asian sandwiches and Boba!
At a very young age, Richard Medina always turned to some form of art to express himself, which would later lead him to his passion in the culinary industry. Having been raised in San Francisco, a city immersed with cultural diversity and eclectic cuisines, he introduced his palate to the many bursting flavors the diverse city has to offer. What inspired him to become a chef, was seeing all the joy, passion, and love he felt when expressing his creativity on a plate. Rich realized his passion for food began to further emerge, knowing his style of cooking would leave guests with a lasting impression.
After graduating San Francisco California Culinary Academy in 1999, Rich was given many opportunities to learn and grow with the latest innovative trends in the food industry. Rich has had the privilege to experience the many wonderful flavors and different techniques offered from many talented chefs in the industry. He was able to expand, educate, and broaden his palate as a diverse chef, and worked his way up through the culinary brigade in the kitchen. His wide breadth of culinary positions and experiences helped him to become the well balanced independent chef he is today.
His whimsical creative vision of a re-imagined modern take on Filipino cuisine is filled with bold creativity. The memorable flavors of sweet, salty, umami, and savory dishes will transport your palate to experience his Filipino island heritage.
Rich has been residing in Southern California for the past four years. With nearly more than a decade of dedicated and formal culinary training, Rich is enthusiastic to share with you dishes that are reminiscent of childhood memories of what his mother cooked for their family before she lost her battle with breast cancer. This can be experienced at monthly pop-up dinner events and at “Da Good Vibes,” a mobile food truck, which will be expected to hit the streets of San Diego in early August of 2021.
Chef/Co-Owner of The Lone Crow (moto-food-story) and Chef and Curator of Birdhaus Beer Garden, both located in Union City Ca in the Bay Area. Passionate about his own Filipino culture and learning the dishes behind them, Dean creates gourmet street food and brings the feeling of home to each dish. Island inspired cuisine is what Dean brings to the table using both modern and traditional techniques to his dishes. It's all about community, “I work closely with the Union City farmers market and utilize all local farmers for our restaurant.” Bringing collaborations to a small city he grew up in, while bringing new life into the city.
Putting a twist on traditional dishes is what Dean and The Lone Crow is about - Riding choppers, making badass dishes and sharing a story through food to remember.
The Lone Crow started during the pandemic after getting laid off all his gigs. Having the downtime and going through the mental roller coaster brought light to create something himself and share his culture. Taking everything he’s learned in 15 years in the food industry into something special for his hometown has been the goal, but also bringing it to the world to share how crazy and passionate he is.
“I can go on and give you a amazing background/culinary story, but if you wanna know more fuck a screen come have dinner with me. Mahalo Salamat.”
Chef Ilan Hall was the winner of "Top Chef" Season Two and and an overall fan favorite. He is a longtime member of the DTLA community with his much loved and missed restaurant The Gorbals and Grand Central's Ramen Hood. He was also the host of Esquire Network's "Knife Fight" and can be seen as a celebrity guest judge the Voltaggio brothers' new show "Battle of The Brothers."
According to his bio on Shalom Life, "At the age of 27, Ilan developed a form of energy that uses bacon to power a time machine. He has visited the Cretaceous period and has cooked Velociraptor eggs to a perfect over easy. He also visited an infant David Bowie and can personally confirm that he wrote the lyrics to the song 'China Girl'."
Find him on Instagram @IlanHall.
Trained in classic French cuisine under legendary masters Alain Sailhac, Andre Soltner, and Jacques Pepin in New York, Chef Joseph has dazzled diners on land and sea. Recently returning to his homeland of Los Angeles, Chef Joseph is making his mark in entertainment catering and private events for Hollywood’s elite with the West coast’s amazing wealth of fresh ingredients.