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Chef Showcase: Chefs Sarmiento and Trujillo of CUCINA enoteca

Chef Cesar Sarmiento of CUCINA enoteca Newport Beach

Chef Cesar Sarmiento of CUCINA enoteca Newport Beach

Chef de Cuisine Cesar Sarmiento CUCINA enoteca Newport Beach

Originally hailing from Bogota, Colombia, Chef Cesar Sarmiento started his illustrious career as a line cook at Gordon Ramsey’s Cielo in Boca Raton, Florida. Falling in love with the “lexicon of the kitchen,” Sarmiento soon enrolled at Le Cordon Bleu Culinary School in Miami. After graduation, he spent several years cooking for celebrated masters like Ramsey and Jean-Georges Vongerichten. In 2013, he and his wife made their way to California where Sarmiento joined the Urban Kitchen team. In 2016, he was made chef de cuisine of CUCINA enoteca Newport Beach, where he weaves together expert technique, a passion for guests, and a love of simple, refined cooking.

What is the heart of your culinary passion?
I love discovering new methods and techniques. I also enjoy playing with spices and marinades from different regions and using them in unexpected ways. Lastly, I love presenting simple dishes that offer complex flavors that the diner does not expect.

What are you most proud of in your culinary career?
That I have worked at great establishments with amazing chefs. I am fortunate to have learned from the best throughout the years, and now I have an opportunity to pass on my knowledge and experience to motivated young chefs.

What advice would you offer to wide-eyed young chefs eager to build a successful culinary career?
Slow down and enjoy being a cook! Learn each station. Don’t rush—you need a good foundation to be a great chef. Also, don’t forget why you do what you do: Putting satisfied smiles on the faces of the guests sitting in your dining room.

Chef Tony Trujillo of CUCINA enoteca Irvine

Chef Tony Trujillo of CUCINA enoteca Irvine

Chef de Cuisine Tony Trujillo CUCINA enoteca Irvine

An Orange County native, Chef Trujillo started his training in the culinary arts at California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. Since then, he has worked at Studio (Montage Hotels & Resorts), Michael Mina Stonehill Tavern, Church & State, Cobras & Matadors, Hollywood’s BOHO Gastropub, Salt Creek Grille, and other landmark California restaurants. Now the chef de cuisine at CUCINA enoteca Irvine, Chef Trujillo is keen on crafting seasonal dishes that pair perfectly with the restaurant’s robust wine list.

What is the heart of your culinary passion?
Getting to work with the bounty of the current season. It is forever changing and the earth is always giving. I also love teaching and mentoring interns, cooks, and sous chefs. The best way to continue to learn is by teaching others.

What are you most proud of in your culinary career?
Where I am today. It is an honor to be chef de cuisine of CUCINA enoteca, Irvine. Being a part of an ever-changing and evolving restaurant group puts me in my happy place. I am proud to be a member of such a talented and forward-thinking team of culinarians.

What advice would you offer to wide-eyed young chefs eager to build a successful culinary career?
Set short and longterm goals, stay focused, and with hard work and passion things will fall into place. Do not be afraid to take chances. Never question the value of learning from others. Read, travel, and constantly try new things.

For more information on Chefs Sarmiento and Trujillo, and CUCINA enoteca, visit urbankitchengroup.com.