On The Line: Jonathan Solis of SHOR American Seafood Grill, Part Two
Photo by Amanda DeFrancis
Before we forget, we wanted to wish our OTL chef Jonathan Solis a happy belated birthday! We're sure you spent it surrounded by good food and great family/friends. As natural as it is for a chef to discuss culinary experiences, they aren't always as forthcoming about their personal life. We were fortunate with Chef Solis, as he expounded on our final interview questions.
Read our interview with Jonathan Solis of SHOR American Seafood Grill, Part One. And now, on to Part Two . . .
Last book you read or movie watched; how was it? Book: First, Break All the Rules: What the World's Greatest Managers Do Differently. It was a good read. You can come into a management position and figure out on your own how to manage situations, but that gives you a general perspective and makes you realize the mistakes that you make and shows you how to potentially fix them. It was crucial to my development to read something like that.
The last movie I watched was Fast and Furious 6. The film was typical Fast and Furious-- It started out really fast, then slowed down quite a bit, and then it went into all the action.
Do you have any skills that are non-food related? I play basketball pretty well.
How did you end up working for Hyatt? I finished culinary school and applied to many places. A few months later, I received a call from the Hyatt in Valencia. Started as an intern, and was offered a full-time position after four months. I was there for five years until I transferred to Newport Beach.
Last thing you looked up online: A restaurant (Pizzeria Ortica) my friend suggested I try.
What is your favorite childhood memory? Going to Catalina Island with my classmates for a school trip.
Hardest lesson you've learned? Don't take anything for granted.
Last song playing on your radio: Peter, Bjorn and John, Young Folks.
Where did you grow up? I grew up in Los Angeles. A passion for what I do brought me to Orange County. I knew working in such a competitive atmosphere would be a challenge, but I was ready for it.
When you're not cooking in the kitchen, what are you doing? Spending time with my family. Everyone meets at someone's home and we cook, joke around and have a good time.
What would you be doing if you weren't in this business? I'd probably be a lawyer. I enjoy the whole process of criminal law. We did mock trials in high school, and you start to believe you're part of the story. It was exciting, and I could see myself being in a courtroom full-time. It was my dream growing up, but my passion for food took over.
Is there anything you'd like readers to know that we haven't already asked? I really enjoy teaching. Somewhere down the line, I would like to teach at a culinary school part-time. I was in a culinary class in high school. When I graduated culinary school, my high school instructor contacted me. She had to go on medical leave, and asked if I could cover for a few days a week for a couple of months. That was fun, but I don't know if I would teach high school students again. Most of the students taking the class aren't inspired to be a chef. They're taking it because they have to.
If I did teach, I would still want to be able to run a kitchen. Maybe a few classes a week. I have a few friends in culinary school, and the biggest thing they struggle with is getting a real hands-on education-- to have those mirrors over the instructor as they give a demo. I would want to teach students how to run a line effectively.
SHOR American Seafood Grill is located at 1107 Jamboree Rd (Inside Hyatt Newporter), Newport Beach, www.newportbeach.hyatt.com; (949) 729-1234.
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