Chef Alberto Vazquez has cooked for celebrities, rock stars, and professional athletes. He honed his craft in 5 Star World-class resorts and high-end restaurants all over the country. He believes in using the best ingredients possible with an eye toward organic, farm-fresh produce; humanely raised cattle and fowl; and sustainably harvested fish from local waters.
From the ages of 10-15 Alberto spent his summer breaks working at the famous “Harry’s Plaza Café” in Santa Barbara, California, where his father was the chef. He bussed tables, peeled onions, chopped veggies, washed dishes, and scrubbed pots. His dad never wanted Alberto to become a cook and tried to steer him away from the idea. He could not conceive that his son would not only follow in his footsteps, but in fact, take it quite a bit further and become a seasoned and well respected Chef working in the best of the best hotels and restaurants across the country. As kids do not put much merit in to parents advice, it was actually Alberto’s best friend Afshin, who was well traveled, at the age of 16 who believed in Alberto’s cooking abilities and enlightened him about this career path and the great opportunities it could offer.
Alberto’s career took off when he at the age of 17 was scouted by a Gerhard Oesterlien, the Corporate Chef for Hotel Management Corp., and Peter Ambrose, Director of Food Operations, who gave him the chance to travel the country opening hotel restaurants with the corporate team. He worked in Phoenix, Arizona; Bloomington, Minnesota, Chicago, Illinois; and St. Petersburg, Florida at The Don Cesar Resort (where he had the privilege to cook for Steven Tyler, David Lee Roth, Iron Maiden, ACDC and many many more).
After an 8 year touring stint Alberto missed California and wanted to establish himself in the City of Angels. He delved into high-end hotels and restaurants such as Tuscany il Ristorante in Westlake Village and at Ca’ Del Sole Ristorante a favorite of the film execs at Universal Studios in Universal City in the early 90′s.
Alberto’s work at the world renowned Shutters on the Beach Resort in Santa Monica taught him how to source produce from farmers, use sustainable seafood, and where to find locally raised beef and poultry. It was here where one of his dreams came true—cooking a 4 course gourmet dinner for Julia Child. Besides cooking for other well knowns, he found it most rewarding working and crafting alongside with his good friends, now famous in their own chef careers; Chef Jeff Jackson of “The Lodge at Torrey Pines”, Chef Jeff Littlefield at “The Waterfront Resort in Huntington Beach” and Chef Matt Lyman of “Tender Greens” who inspired him to cook at his best and finding himself as a solid Chef. Shutters on the Beach was also where he began garnering press attention from Gourmet magazine, the Food Network and local TV Networks.
After that Chef Alberto ran the kitchens at the private Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks where he cooked for Tiger Woods, Will Smith, Michael Jordan, and Justin Timberlake. Next he moved on to the beautiful Westlake Village Inn in Westlake Village where he was hired to change the face of their signature restaurant into a thriving, local foodie destination. Within a 2 year stint and in the middle of a recession—he would pack guests in night after night. Mission accomplished!
“I don’t think I’ve peaked with my career yet,” says Alberto. I have so much more to explore and learn in my travels as a Chef. “I’m so excited about owning my own business too. The freedom is incredible. I find now that I work smarter, I develop the recipes I want, and now I can balance career and family and business as a whole. Plus I don’t have to work those long crazy hours anymore—yeah right! I can’t wait to get up each morning not knowing what exactly the day will bring me. It’s a great feeling to be having fun with my business partner who is also my wife Paula and my three amazing children, Olivia,William and Joey Blu.” I have it all. I am so blessed.