Part two of our weekly interview examines Chef Doctulero's life beyond the kitchen. He recounts growing pains, his musical side and what led him to his current profession.
Read our interview with Mike of Scott's Restaurant & Bar, part one.
And now, on to part two . . .
We learned you're originally from San Francisco, so after living in three West Coast cities, can you tell us any differences or similarities?
Three different cultures in three different times. Growing up in the city (San Francisco) was family, sports, acquiring street sense and learning how to be a young buck. Seattle— adjusting to not knowing a soul, working three jobs to fuel cooking and adjusting to the weather.
Orange County— having ocean culture and being in a non-metropolitan area. All great places, just different rhythms, but tied together by restaurant culture.
Tell us more about living in Seattle (culture, food, people).
Awesome! Seattle in the late '70s, early '80s was way ahead of its time. The best seafood sourcing and availability (caught same day), farm-to-table harvests and working with people I still honor and love today.
Hardest lesson you've learned:
Being faced with racial prejudice, and learning to accept it for what it is. My grandfather used to tell me, "If you're not related to it or married to it, don't worry about it."
Last song playing on the radio:
Gorilla by Bruno Mars.
I've seen you pick up an instrument. What was it?
Soprano ukulele. Been playing since summer; took lessons with my wife. Now I just improvise and pick techniques off of YouTube.
When you're not in the restaurant, what are you doing in your free time?
Catching up on family time, being in the ocean, playing ukulele, golfing and martial arts.
Last thing you looked up online:
Ukulele chord charts for Stevie Wonder, Hawaiian songs and Bruno Mars.
What other professions did you have? We heard you styled hair?
Yes, did that for three years when I was 17-20 years old. Same tenets as cooking: clean hands, creativity and making folks happy.
What did you study in school?
After doing hair for three years, I had interest in criminology, then joining the fire department in San Francisco because I had three cousins that were already firefighters. The path led to what is in my blood from my grandfather. Cooking.
Last book you read; how was it?
Reread Rolling Thunder, about a Native American medicine man.
What's your favorite childhood memory?
Reaching into my grandfather's pocket, fishing for nickels and dimes so I could go to the corner store to buy candy.