On the Line: Konstantine Marougas Of El Amerikano, Part Two

He's thinking about the beach
He's thinking about the beach
Photo by LP Hastings

I get a dose of humor in today's installment with Chef Konstantine. Plus we learn what he really thinks of customer requests. There's still more to learn, so what are you waiting for?

I bet you haven't read part one yet, so check it out here. Chef's interview only gets better below. . . .

Tell us something most people don't know about you. I was a competitive Greek dancer for 12 years! I started when I was 12, and competed until I was 24. After I stopped, I still managed events. But after Kentro opened, there was no time for that.

Hardest lesson you've learned. Never take your eye off the knife. Trust me, it hurts.

What's your favorite childhood memory? Night fishing with my uncle in Greece. I was 13 or 14, and we were in a little boat in the gulf. He had a night spear gun; it was wild.

Last movie watched; how was it? Unbroken. It was the longest movie of my life. I felt broken by the end.

You have a whole day to yourself; what do you do? Those don't come often, so I take care of self-maintenance (get a haircut) and try to relax. . . .

But will he dance for us?
But will he dance for us?
Photo by LP Hastings

Where did you grow up, and where's home these days? I was born and raised in Huntington Park, and then moved to Downey when I was 9. I still live in Downey today.

Last thing you looked up: Yelp. I can't avoid looking at our reviews.

Are there ideas or lessons that you might not have learned as quickly if you didn't attend Art Institute? Just knowing culinary terminology and learning how to navigate through a kitchen.

What would you be doing if you weren't in this business? I can't think of anything else I'd rather be doing. Ever since I was 13, I knew this was the path.

What turns you on, creatively, spiritually or emotionally? Young cooks that share the same passion for the kitchen and food. It's not easy to find good help, and especially help that really cares. Once in a while, you get someone that gives a damn, and it's gratifying to watch them soak up whatever knowledge you have and apply it with a purpose.

Do you have any skills that are not food-related? Aside from the competitive Greek dancing, I play basketball with friends when I have the time. And I used to play the sax years ago, but it never got serious.

Is there anything you'd like readers to know that we haven't asked? I do not like it when someone comes in with off-the-wall modifications to my dishes. I understand allergies, but you don't go into a chef-driven restaurant and create your own meal.

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El Amerikano

100 S. Harbor Blvd.
Fullerton, CA 92832



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