Getting to know the Chef | An Interview with Justin Cullimore

What inspired you to become a Chef?

"When I was getting close to
graduating from high school, I began
thinking about what I was going to
do for a living. I visited a culinary
school in San Diego and asked one
of the Culinary Chef Instructors why
he was in the industry. He replied
with, “Everyone has to eat to survive;
this world needs people like us.” That
comment really stuck with me in my
decision to become a Chef."


What is your Culinary Background?

"I started my Culinary Journey in Los
Angeles. In the summer of 2008, I
attended Le Cordon Bleu in
Hollywood, CA. I took the subway to
school at 5:45am, and then worked
a full time job at a French Bistro
downtown Los Angeles until 10pm.
After school I moved back down to
San Diego where I worked for a great
Chef, Simon Lynn. Working with
Simon, I built my fundamentals and
technique in modern Californian cuisine.
Schooling does not stop for me, as I am
now in the process of receiving certifications
from the American Culinary Foundation."


What accomplishments are you most proud of?

"I would have to say that my most recent accomplishment was being involved
in Chef Celebration. Five chefs were chosen to cook at an event to raise money
for young and upcoming chefs to take a trip to Napa Valley. It was an honor
to be one of the five chefs to cook at this event. It is a great feeling getting to
stand next to some of the best Chefs in San Diego and cook."


What defines an outstanding meal to you?

"The goal is to be completely satisfied. Working every taste bud and having a well
rounded experience.

Having an outstanding meal can range from eating mom's enchiladas on the
back patio, to a twelve course meal at a fine dining restaurant.  You can almost
taste the passion in the food in either situation. I never want to finish my meal
without a smile on my face, and that’s what I want my customers to experience."


What is your favorite dish on the Canyons Restaurant Menu?

"Carlsbad Mussels is one of my favorites. There is something special about looking at
the ocean and enjoying fresh shellfish that was harvested right down the street."