San Diego’s award-winning chef Phillip Esteban has made a name for himself in California for his myriad businesses, services and nonprofit work via OpenGym, Craft Meals, White Rice, WildFlour Bread, WellFed and Wordsmith Bookstore, slated to open in 2020. Learn about Phillip Esteban…
Hometown: National City, San Diego.
First job: Prep-cook at The Dana Hotel Mission Bay, San Diego.
Favorite ways to spend your free time in California: Camping and hiking in the national parks, Disneyland corn dogs, cycling and sports.
Your biggest accomplishment and why: Becoming a father and raising two amazing young men.
The biggest obstacle you have overcome: Depression and cultural acceptance.
Someone who inspires you and why: My grandmother. At 6-years-old, I would always help her bake chocolate and carrot cake from scratch. Because of her, I found my love and passion for food.
Advice to someone pursuing a career path in what you do: Work hard. Keep your head down. Say, yes Chef (“Oui, Chef”). Show up early. Hours early. Be dependable. Be passionate. Trust in your own ability.
Favorite quote: “I survived because the fire inside me burned brighter than the fire around me.”
Something someone would be surprised to learn about you: I do Civil War re-enactments at Balboa Park.
What makes someone fabulous in your own words: Doing small acts of kindness and having a big heart.