Josef Centeno - Hawaii Food & Wine Festival

TENTH ANNUAL - SAVE THE DATE – OCTOBER 2-25, 2020

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Josef Centeno

Baco Mercat - Los Angeles, CA

Josef Centeno is chef-owner of five Los Angeles restaurants – P.Y.T., Baco Mercat, Bar Ama, Orsa & Winston and BacoShop. He has been called “a prime mover behind what we’ve come to think of as Los Angeles cuisine” and “the culinary mayor” of Downtown L.A.

Centeno opened his first restaurant, Mediterranean-influenced Baco Mercat in 2011, one of the first restaurants to shift critical attention to the center of downtown. Baco Mercat was named one of the 10 best restaurants in the country by Bon Appetit magazine. He has since opened Bar Ama, an homage to the Tejano cooking he grew up with; Orsa & Winston, featuring tasting menus influenced by Italian and Japanese cuisines; and vegetable-focused P.Y.T.

Centeno’s career started in New York at Daniel, Vong, Les Celebrites, and La Cote Basque. In San Francisco he worked at fine dining institution Charles Nob Hill and was the opening chef de cuisine at Manresa in Los Gatos, which has been awarded three Michelin stars. Centeno also recently opened BacoShop in Culver City and is the author of “Baco: Vivid Recipes from the Heart of Los Angeles,” which won U.S. Chef Book of the Year at the International Gourmand Awards.

Centeno lives in Los Feliz, and when he’s not working at the restaurants likes to surf and hang out with his two dogs.



 

WHY DID YOU BECOME A CHEF?
I got a job in a restaurant as a teenager and loved the work, the intensity and ultimately creating an experience for guests.

HOW DO YOU DESCRIBE YOUR COOKING IN THREE WORDS?
Bold, unexpected, boundary-crossing.

WHAT’S THE BEST HONOR YOU’VE RECEIVED AS A CHEF?
A Michelin Star for Orsa & Winston.

WHAT IS YOUR GO-TO MEAL AFTER A BUSY DAY?
Chicken taco.

HOW DO YOU SPEND YOUR TIME WHEN YOU’RE NOT IN THE KITCHEN?
I like working with my hands in a different way to create something. I make my own clothes and am a natural-dyer.

WHAT THE ONE LOCAL INGREDIENT YOU’RE EXCITED TO COOK WITH DURING HFWF19?
Any seafood.

HAVE YOU BEEN TO HAWAII BEFORE? WHAT ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO DURING YOUR VISIT?
Besides cooking, to maybe get a surf in and enjoy the beauty of Hawai’i.

IF YOU WERE NOT A CHEF, WHAT WOULD YOU BE AND WHY?
If I weren’t a chef, I’d be doing something else with my hands — building or making clothes.