On the Line: Gio Bolivar Of Dory Deli, Part One

Give the man a Malbec
Give the man a Malbec
Photo by LP Hastings

It's no surprise that Gio Bolivar is connected to (at least) three former On the Line subjects. The guy has "been there, done that" in terms of work and life experience as an Orange County native. His current gig in Newport Beach is a study in exceeding expectations. Dory Deli may sound quaint, but their concept attracts locals of all ages.

Please explain the concept and cuisine of Dory Deli. While it's a deli at heart, we take a lot of pride in everything we put out. Here, all the effort and preparation that would go into a traditional plated dish goes into a sandwich.

Most frequently asked question by guests. "Is this vegan?" Often times, no. We have a few vegan dishes that we're really proud of, but people often assume that anything we make IS vegan or could be.

Favorite meal growing up: My favorite foods growing up were and still are Colombian empanadas with aji salsa and arepas with fresh farmers cheese.

What's the one thing people didn't tell you about working in a restaurant? How taxing it really is. I know everyone says how hard it is, but you're never really ready for it until you're actually in it and see what it takes to work in a high-demand kitchen.

Best culinary tip for the home cook: Never take a recipe too seriously; if you know you have a certain preference, adopt it into the recipe. Recipes are always subject to interpretation.

I hear you're a wine drinker. What are you sipping these days? I like a bold, earthy Malbec with lots of tannins and jammy notes.

Where was your most recent meal? I recently ate at a very good Colombian restaurant called El Porton in Huntington Beach. I had their morcilla (blood sausage), and it was amazing.

Where did you attend culinary school? And did you learn anything that you might not have been taught if you didn't attend? I attended Cypress College; they have an amazing culinary program headed by Chef Jeremy Peters and Lisa Clark. I feel that culinary school really got me ready for a life in the kitchen and put me on the right path for the future.

Let's discuss your Disney background. I started working at Disney in 2002; it was my second job (my first job was at McDonalds). I was there for a total of 11 years in Outdoor Vending. I started selling ice cream and making cotton candy in the park, then moved into keeping track of the inventory. I was first introduced to kitchens there while working with the special events department and catering big parties.

You've worked alongside some of our previous chef subjects (Oge/Chapter One, Cody/HopScotch and Chris Rubenstein. Did any of them teach lessons that you apply today? Chef Oge gave me my start in this industry, and on most days I'm very grateful to him (laughs). He will forever hold a dear spot in my heart. After Chapter One, I moved along to HopScotch with the previous Chapter One Sous Chef, Jeff Moore-- where I also met Chris Rubinstein and Cody. I've collectively learned a lot between them and apply all of it today.

You're making breakfast. What are you having? I don't like breakfast. 1) It's too early and interferes with my sleep and 2) I'm lactose intolerant, and for whatever reason eggs don't like me, at all (frowns).

What would be your last meal on earth? Anything made by Jose Andres.

Is there a dish you'd like to learn how to make? I really want to learn to cure my own meats and make salamis; really, I want to learn all about cured and forced meats.

One stereotype about your industry, and whether it's true. That we are only in this industry for the fame. For me, that has to be the furthest thing from the truth I've ever heard. The passion for food is what keeps me doing it. Watching people eat our food. When people ask us more about (our food) and are actually interested in what we do-- it's amazing.

Dory Deli is located at 2108 3/4 W Oceanfront, Newport Beach, (949) 220-7886; www.dorydeli.com.

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