Conrad Gonzales, Valle Fresh

Hometown: Lompoc

What made you realize you wanted to work in the food industry? 

After I had already worked in the kitchen for 10 years, I realized this was probably what I was going to be doing the rest of my life. So I went to culinary school and then I realized it was my passion.

Who is the person you most admire in the food industry? 

Alice Waters. She pioneered the whole California food movement. 

What is your favorite part about being a chef? 

Recipe testing, trying new food and reinventing dishes.

How do you unwind after service? 

Beer or red wine and then eat.

What cookbook should every home have? 

The Joy of Cooking 

What is the one recipe/ingredient you struggled to master and how did you overcome it? 

Rice. Mastering it was in the liquid ratios.

Whats your favorite kitchen scar? 

It’s actually a scar I put on someone else when I was working at an Italian restaurant. I was changing out the pasta water and spilled the boiling water on another cook. He screamed and never forgave me. Left him with really bad burns on his foot.

Do you have a hidden talent? 

Yes. I know how to play the drums too.

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