Chef Interview ~ Annel & Drew’s Kitchen

I can not say enough about these guys. I think it comes across in the answers.  Very talented and dedicated Chefs.

Chef Knife copyAnnel and drew logo copy

Describe the style of food  you prepare at Annel and Drew’s.

New American.  Annel is from Mexico city and Drew is from upstate NY.  We both have worked all over and with different types of food.  We meet each other in the middle.

What led to your decision to start a catering / Farmer’s Market Stand in North County.

Loved to cook and always wanted to own our own business.  We love working outdoors and directly with the community.  We have a passion for food and have lots of amazing ingredients at our disposal here in San Diego.  Being in a kitchen can be  a little confining at times, so we like to break out and change up the scenery a bit.

What have been some of the challenges and rewards of operating in North County.

Challenges:  Not too many.  People are sometimes skeptical about finding this quality of food on the street level.  Some locations that we’ve gone don’t always work out well for the business.

Rewards:  Seeing the same people coming back every week over and over saying how good the food is, bringing friends and family.  People are becoming more aware of what they are eating and putting into their bodies and where it comes from.

What are your plans moving forward over the next couple of years.

We want to keep serving the community, build relationships with farmers, teach people about holistic health through nutrition and lifestyle.  Reach out to kids with garden programs and teach them how to cook what they are growing.

Are there other Chefs or trends in North County that inspire you.

Drew worked for Carl Schroeder at Market Restaurant in Del Mar briefly, which was a huge inspiration as far as learning about great food, drive and constantly challenging ourselves.  We love going to solace and flying pig and are happy to see so many new eateries/breweries/pubs opening up in north county with the focus on farm to table as well as locality.

Biggest learning experience as a Chef / Owner. 

Nothing in life is easy and just when you think things are easy, reality slaps you in the face.  Definitely love what you do and it will never feel like work and always plan ahead in every aspect of your business but be prepared for those plans to have to change at the drop of a dime.

Best and worst thing about running a Food Business/ Kitchen.

Best is definitely building relationships within the community and seeing people come back every week for several years, watching their kids grow up.  It’s a great feeling.  Worst is the long hours and rough physical labor but we live for the positive aspects.  Late nights and early mornings and changing schedules.  It’s also challenging to find hard working people with a passion for food to help us.

Favorite dish or ingredient to make / use? Least favorite?

Annel loves cooking with chilies.  Drew loves cooking with garlic and fresh herbs.  We don’t necessarily have favorite dishes to make, but we love to make new dishes keep people excited about coming back.  In the end, our favorite ingredient is love and positive energy.  Least favorite ingredients would be anything fresh that comes from really far away especially pesticide laden foods.

Biggest Misconception about being a Food Business owner. Biggest truth.

Misconception:  People think you make lots of money just because you are busy.  This business is not about making money or becoming rich…It’s about having passion.

 

 

Looking back on the year, what were some of your biggest challenges and what were the biggest changes for the business.

Biggest challenges of past year:  looking for consistency from our vendors in the products that we buy and finding the right people to work for us that share the same goals and passions.  Using non-GMO ingredients is a challenge since most of what you find out there contains some sort of GMO’s and it is a lot more expensive to use non-GMO anything.  We’ve managed to cut that stuff out and our costs have risen considerably, but we haven’t raised prices.

 

 

How do you balance being a Chef / Owner and having a life outside the business.

We have to be strict with ourselves and that is a huge challenge.  When you own a business, it requires all of your attention and you never really clock out since there are always things to do.  We have to be strict and say “ok, we are not doing anything work related from this time to this time”  and schedule time for ourselves or fun activities.  Also, we are a couple and are partners in every aspect of our lives.  We work well together and most of time know what the other is thinking or going to do, but have to separate work from personal lives. 

Parting  words, thoughts, insights….

This is a hard business but very rewarding.  We are all about the food.  You can find food on every corner, but finding something good can be hard.  That’s another reason why we do what we do.  Creativity, love and attention to detail, consistency and passion must always come through for this business and any business.  Relationships are important between your suppliers, customers and anyone you come in contact with.

More parting words:

We really go out of our way handpicking and searching out the best ingredients we can find…We spend long hours in the kitchen to deliver the best product we can and we pride ourselves on this.  We make everything from scratch and don’t open up bottles or cans to make our dishes.

Also, we are now at Stone in Oceanside every Friday evening.

Just as a post note..This was the best shrimp I have eaten….I don’t care if you believe me it is just the truth.

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