Chef Rosa Heidler.
Chef Rosa Heidler.
Photo by LP Hastings

On the Line: Rosa Heidler Of Fusion Bites, Part Two

Our conversation with Rosa began yesterday, but you can catch up by looking here. And now, let's wrap up our interview with part two below . . .

Did you always know you wanted to be a chef? Did you study anything else in school? I didn't know that I wanted to be a chef, but I knew that I wanted to own a restaurant as early as the age of 13. I wish I started out younger as a chef, but unfortunately, I started put later than most. Before culinary school, I was a floral designer; I owned a retail flower store for six years. Floral design and cooking goes hand in hand, a lot of creativity goes into both.

Last thing you looked up online. Recipes on how to bake a cake. I baked a birthday cake for one of my staff. It didn't turn out quite the way I was hoping it would. I can cook and make some desserts, but baking is not my strongest skill. It's such a science and takes a lot of patience. I don't have patience and I hate waiting.

What's your favorite childhood memory? My Dad loved fishing. He didn't care that I was a girl, he would take my brothers and I fishing almost every weekend growing up. Our usual spots were at the Balboa peninsula or Redondo Beach. It didn't matter now much fish was caught each time, but what I remember most was the big pot of Chao Ca (fish porridge) that he would make at the end of the night. I remember it warming our hearts and stomachs; just talking about it really brings back those memories.

Hardest lesson you've learned? You have to work hard for the things that you want in life. Nothing comes easy, and nothing is for free.

Last book read or movie watched; how was it? Book: I'm a bit embarrassed, but I'm sure all the women across America are all in the same boat I am. The last book I read was Fifty Shades of Grey. How was it, you ask? Well, you know. . . I don't need to get into the details on how it was (laughs out loud). Movie: I have not been to a movie in over two years until recently. My family and I went to watch Transformers at the IMAX. It was a long movie, but we enjoyed it.

Where did you grow up? If you're not from Orange County, what brought you here? I was born in Oceanside, California at Camp Pendleton. My parents came here in 1975 during the Vietnam War, and we've lived in Orange County ever since.

When you're not in the restaurant, what are you doing in your free time? Spending it with my family. I barely see them as it is, so any chance I get I try to spend it with my family.

Last song playing on your radio. Coldplay -The Scientist.

Do you have any skills that are not food-related? As I mentioned earlier, I was a floral designer. I still love making floral arrangements. I also enjoy being an event planner. I was told by my friends and family that I've thrown the best parties. I think all these skills revolve around each other.

What would you be doing if you weren't in this business? I would probably be doing something creative or something that was hands-on. I've always tried to work in jobs that I enjoyed, rather than the other way around.

Is there anything that you'd like readers to know? I am fully Vietnamese, and Rosa is my birth name. Until this day, I don't know how I got the name. My Mom says she wanted to name me Rose, but misspelled it on my birth certificate. My Dad says it's a saint's name, and that was why they gave me the name. Regardless, I always get the question of how I got my name. I just wanted to clarify that.

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