Friday - January 11, 2012 Share Del.icio.us | Podcast | WineAndDineHawaii.com
Occupation: Chef-owner, Luibueno Mexican Seafood and Fish Market.
Where were you born and raised? I was born in San Diego, but raised going to Tijuana to visit family all the time. My parents were great cooks. After church on Sunday they’d make food for everyone and cook all the traditional kinds of Mexican food they’d grown up with. I learned a lot from watching and helping.
When did you start cooking? I was brought into the food culture really young. Going down to Tijuana exposed me to the foods there and my mom taught me how to make everything!
Did you come to Hawaii to cook? Originally I came out after college to join some friends living on the North Shore. That was in 1991. I remember driving up to the North Shore at night in the back of a truck like it was yesterday.
Did you immediately look for Mexican food? Yes! I looked for all the little taco stands, and I couldn’t find any. So I started cooking for my friends, then catering, then it all took off. My wife Taryn and I got a business plan together in 2007 and made plans to open in Haleiwa.
Where do you both like to eat when not working? We work so much that we rarely get away, so when we do, we try to support the North Shore restaurants like Haleiwa Joe’s and Banzai as much as we can. We try to support other small businesses like us. If we have time to drive to Honolulu, we like Gordon Biersch and Hula Grill.
What’s always in your fridge? Pepperoncini, papaya, yogurt, salsa, tortillas ...
You have the longest description for your style of cooking ... (Laughs) We call it North Baja/Southern California Cuisine with a hint of European flavors. It’s really a Mexican seafood restaurant.
With whom would you most like to have dinner at the restaurant? Our parents, for sure, and my older brother, who passed away a few years ago. He died suddenly right when we were in the process of opening the restaurant.
What’s a good dish to try for first-timers? Puerto Vallarta-style sashimi is really popular.
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