Kitchen Culture Q&A: Reinaldo Cerceda
Getting to know the unsung heroes.
It’s no secret that a restaurant is the sum of its parts and that often, those in the ranks don’t receive enough recognition. In our Kitchen Culture Q&A series, we’re on a mission to find the industry’s true unsung heroes—help us by nominating one of yours at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reinaldo Cerceda was born in Zacatecas, a state in north-central Mexico, and when he immigrated to the U.S. in 2017, he arrived without work. As luck would have it, in the spring of 2018, Cerceda found his way to Frasca Food and Wine in Boulder and began washing dishes. “One day, a prep person called out and Reinaldo did an amazing job washing dishes and doing prep at the same time on a very busy Saturday,” culinary director Eduardo Valle Lobo says. “That was his last day as our dishwasher and his first as a prep cook.” Cerceda has since worked his way up to the line and now mans the antipasti station. During the spring shutdown (Frasca was closed for two and a half months), he was also instrumental in helping prep for the restaurant’s popular At Home meal series. —Amanda M. Faison
DiningOut: What do you like about the restaurant industry?
Reinaldo Cerceda: Truly the environment of a good team and the satisfaction of the customers, which, apart from my salary, makes me feel happy.
DO: What was the first thing you learned to cook?
RC: For me, the first thing here was learning how to make and prepare salads, and from there I moved on.
DO: Do you have a mentor?
RC: My best mentors have been [Frasca] chefs Eduardo Valle Lobo and Kelly Jeun, who have taught me thousands of things. I am and will always be very grateful.
DO: What don’t you like about the restaurant industry?
RC: Honestly, it’s the schedule. But with patience, I’ve been able to cope with my time, and here we are.
DO: Do you have a favorite motto, saying or phrase?
RC: I have many, but my favorite is, “You can do anything with care and calm.”
DO: Finish this sentence: “Working in a restaurant is like…”
RC: It’s like a story of a new adventure, where you discover new and different partners, and learn new things.
Tune into Best Served, a podcast from Jensen Cummings. The Denver chef spent his entire career cooking and owning restaurants, until he realized he could better serve those around him by being a conduit of community. Cummings has since made it his mission to find and champion the industry’s unsung heroes.
Talk to us! Email your experiences (and thoughts, opinions, and questions—anything, really) to email@example.com.