We first went to Habaneros Restaurant about 3 or 4 years ago and got hooked! It’s a quaint place, right off the downtown square. The food is really good, and the service is great! We often go in to see owner, Adriana and catch up. It’s definitely one of our favorite restaurants to go for great Mexican food with a beer. The chips and salsa are really good…if you like it spicy, ask for the special Habanero salsa! We wanted to learn a little more about behind the scenes, so we hit up Gabriel and Adriana and got the scoop:
Matt: When did you get into food and cooking?
Gabriel: I started cooking at the age of fifteen at a Korean restaurant in Pasadena.
Matt: How did you learn? Did you have any “mentors”, did you go to school, or?
Gabriel: I just learned on the job watching other people in the restaurants I worked at and it wasn’t until about three years ago that I went to culinary school.
Matt: Are you a cookbook fan or food show fan (or both)? If so, what are some of your favorites?
Gabriel: I am a fan of both cook books and food shows. I enjoy watching the Food Network and the Professional Chef book.
Matt: At what point did you want to take your love of food and turn it into a business?
Gabriel: In 2011, my wife and I had already spent time with myself as head cook in the back for many years and with her waitressing in the front and had decided that we had the ability to open up a restaurant of our own.
Matt: Do you go by recipes created by others or do you come up with your own?
Gabriel: All recipes were created by myself.
Matt: How would you describe the style of food at Habaneros?
Matt: What are a few of your favorite dishes?
Gabriel: Some of my favorite dishes are the fish tacos, the camarones a la diabla, the carnitas, the chimichurri, and the chile relleno.
Matt: How long have you been on the Central Coast, and what brought you here?
Matt: When did you get into the restaurant business?
Gabriel: I’ve been working in restaurants since I was fifteen but I’ve been a restaurant owner since 2011.
Matt: When did you open Habaneros and what were you doing prior??
Gabriel: We opened Habaneros back in 2011, after having worked at another restaurant for thirteen years.
Matt: What should we have in our glasses (wine, beer, cider, cocktails) to pair with your food?
Matt: What are your long-term goals with Habaneros?
Gabriel: Our long-term goal with Habaneros, would be to expand.
Matt: What are some of your favorite places to eat on the Central Coast?
Gabriel: We enjoy the food at The Catch and Firestone Grill.