Winning over locals, one concept at a time.
Winning over locals, one concept at a time.
Photo courtesy of Community Driven Hospitality

On the Line: John Cuevas of Waterman's Harbor, Part Two

Our Imperial Beach transplant discusses food, manual labor and normal dad stuff as we wrap up this week's installment.

Read the first part of our time with Chef Cuevas over here. When you're ready, you can finish up below. . . .

Let's talk about growing up in the kitchen of your mother's bistro. It was a family-run business, and I looked at it as an expectation and not an option. I saw my mom work all day, every day, and it just didn't seem right to not be there to support her. I loved it and hated it at the same time. This was a great life lesson for me, and where my strong work ethic came from.

Did you always know you wanted to be a chef? I had no idea what it was to be a chef, and studied many different things in school. For some reason, being in a kitchen seemed to come natural to me.

What would you be doing if you weren't in this business? Never thought about it. I have the greatest job-- I get to play with food all day. Hopefully get great reactions because of it.

Last thing you looked up: Vitrified Studio. Super bad-ass pottery from Oregon.

Hardest lesson you've learned: Every day, I learn something. Whether it's a cooking technique, or better coaching an employee, or how to lead more effectively. I am always evaluating, growing and stretching myself to improve.

Last song playing on your radio: Pearl Jam. Jeremy.

When you're not in the kitchen, what are you doing in your free time? Hanging with my kids and fiancee. Going from practice to practice-- normal Dad stuff. Also, love the outdoors: surf, golf and backpacking.

Last movie watched; how was it? Chef. I loved it.

Tell us about attending Scottsdale Culinary Institute. Did you learn something there that you might not have learned as quickly if you hadn't attended? The science part of food. The composition and the process of decomposition of food.

Do you have any skills that are not food-related? Photography and anything with my hands. I would love to learn how to work with wood and make furniture.

Is there anything you'd like readers to know that we haven't asked? Thanks for reading. I'm looking forward to seeing you at Waterman's.

Waterman's Harbor is located at 34661 Golden Lantern, Dana Point, (949) 764-3474;

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