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Chef Patricia Diaz

Chef at The Chopping Block since: 2013

Favorite class to teach: I'm a fan of all of them.

Training/education: California Culinary Academy in San Francisco, California

Cooking since: Professionally since 2003.

Favorite childhood food experience: My grandmother used to make a big pot of Menudo soup and my family would help cut lemons, pick cilantro leaves, cut cabbage and make flour tortillas. It was an assembly line feast, and there were at least 50 people on any given day!

What made you want to become a chef? I'm naturally a very artistic person who loves people. It was the perfect career for me.

What is your signature dish? I'm a sweet genius.

What are the 5 ingredients you can't live without? Garlic, honey, lemons, chilis and salt.

What do you love about cooking? Strategy and efficiency: you get the best of both worlds.

When you're creating a new recipe, what influences and inspires you? A flavor, ingredient, texture or color.

What advice would you give a new cook? Pay less attention to the recipe timeline and more to your food. A great cook tastes everything and adjusts and watches a raw ingredient transform into a well-cooked one.

What are you doing when you're not cooking? I look to be inspired so I do something new.

Describe your perfect evening. Getting ready with good wine and music, meeting up with great friends and going to multiple restaurants for drinks and appetizers. I love to restaurant hop!

If you had friends in from out of town, where would you take them to eat? Bowtruss Coffee, Au Cheval for a burger and whisky, Piccolo Songo for out of this world Italian food, El Banco for authentic Mexican, Slurping Turtle for great tonkotsu raman and Hot Chocolate for dessert.

Where are you from? Ontario, California / Los Angeles

What was your favorite vacation? Australia

What are your hobbies? Music, painting, reading, eating and drinking!

What is your favorite band? Fleurs, a local LA band.

What is your favorite sports team? San Francisco Giants, baby!

If you could have dinner with one person, who would it be? Jesus, he seems like a cool guy.

What are your guilty pleasures? Cigars

Who is your favorite celebrity chef? Michael Mina

What 5 tools should every new cook have in the kitchen?

  • Good knife
  • Cutting board
  • Quality pan: stainless steel or non-stick
  • Tongs
  • Hand blender

What resources would you suggest for Chopping Block clients? Chez Panisse cookbooks... I love Alice Waters! Flavor Bible and Jacques Pepin technique books are also great reference books as well.

List three of your favorite tips or techniques you use in the kitchen.

  • Caramelizing: its not just about time... it's about your food's look, smell and sound.
  • Braising: Le Creuset enameled cast iron is heaven to make a one dish meal in.
  • Tasting: People forget to taste in the process of turning their raw ingredient into a cooked one. You become a better cook by tasting!
Patricia's Favorite Product

GlobalChefKnifeMy favorite product we carry at The Chopping Block is the 8-inch Global Chef's Knife. People underestimate how important it is to have a quality Chef's knife. Life is so much easier!