On the Line: Peter Serantoni of Cha Cha's Latin Kitchen, Part Two
Photo by Johannes Dewald
Heckling his team, chatting it up with passers-by and speaking his mind, the gregarious Peter Serantoni is not at a loss for words when we discuss life outside of work. We even manage to squeeze an additional recipe for tomorrow's segment. For something a little more comprehensive, there's always part one.
When you're not in the kitchen cooking, what are you doing?
Last song playing on your radio/smart phone/iPod:
"Alive" by Pearl Jam.
Where did you grow up?
Stockholm, Sweden. While traveling, I was faced with the decision to either return to the ice or stay in SoCal. What would you do?
Hardest lesson you've learned:
Don't believe what people say. Believe what they do. Kind of sad, but . . . .
What's your favorite childhood memory?
Taking the train from Stockholm to Milano, traveling through the Alps.
How did you and co-founder Don Myers meet?
Back in the early El Torito Grill days, Don was the director of operations, and I was the executive chef at the Fashion Island location.
What were you up to five years ago?
Created and developed a well-known American bistro concept. [Editor's Note: You'll find one in Irvine.]
Thanksgiving. Like Christmas without the stress.
How often do you travel?
Monthly or as often as I can. I like to go international.
Last book you read:
The Girl That Played With Fire. Still reading, but it's great so far.
Last thing you looked up online:
Where to find frog-print onesies for my niece.
What would you be doing if you weren't in this business?
I'd be very bored and wishing I were in the restaurant business. My dad was in the business for his entire life. I grew up in it. Food was what you talked about for breakfast, what you were going to have for lunch. For lunch, [we talked about] what you were going to have for dinner. And for dinner, discussion was what you were going to have for breakfast the next day.
It was an environment that fit my personality -- when you can't sit still too much, like fast activity and like to have fun with people.
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