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Meet Marco Arreguin of Puesto in Orange County and San Diego

Today we’d like to introduce you to Marco Arreguin.

Marco, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I began working in kitchens as soon as I heard my girlfriend was pregnant. We had been together for a couple of years and I was working a mid-level job as an Accounting Clerk. I spent most of my workday finding recipes and restaurants on the internet for dinner. I was not very stimulated and had no ambition because of it. Once I realized I had a daughter on the way, my perspective on a career changed. I began thinking of all the great things my daughter could become, all the while, I am unhappy at a very unambitious job. Quickly realizing that I can’t push someone to follow their dreams if I haven’t. I left my office job to begin working with a friend’s catering company. I asked a chef friend of mine about culinary schools. As a young boy, I watched my mom wow all of our family and even my friends with her food. There was something about working in a kitchen that I have always wanted to do.

Instead of recommending a culinary school, my friend got me a “stage” at a local kitchen, Charlie Palmer in South Coast Plaza. After my first day, I knew that it was what I wanted to do. Watching the syncranizity of the line and the Chef at the pass orchastrading service left me with a desire to learn the skills I watch them posses. From there on, I devoted everything to working on that line. I left my other job and was an unpaid “stage” at Charlie Palmer for nearly two months. Not once asking to be hired on in case “I didn’t get the job”. With zero-knowledge, I pushed forward. Starting as a prep cook and then a line cook after about two years. I would leave the kitchen and read culinary books at home before returning to the kitchen to ask the Sous Chefs and Chef questions on technique and recipes.

I moved on to bounce around a couple of kitchens before landing at Taco Maria under Chef Carlos Salgado. Aspiring to elevate Mexican cuisine, Taco Maria was everything to me. That restaurant represented how progressive, yet marginalized Mexican culture could be. I worked at the best of my ability and developed greatly as a cook under Chef Carlos Salgado. I went from a line cook at Taco Maria to Executive Sous Chef at Chef Carlos Ace Hotel Project and Finished working back at Taco Maria as their CDC in 2018-2019. Moving on to become Puesto’s Executive Creative Chef.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
With a strong will to be great at my career, I have encountered many obstacles. The hardest road to navigate has and will always be balancing your personal life along with your career. Most people striving to be a Chef at the higher echelon don’t realize how much dedication and hard work it takes. I have given up everything for my career. I miss family parties, weddings, birthdays, emergencies… the list goes on.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I am currently working with Puesto as their Creative Executive Chef. I work on their menu development and training. Since being furloughed, I began working on private dinner events, catering, YouTube videos, and pop-ups dinners. I have been trying to find my footing in private dining. Working on progressive Mexican inspired menus for dinner parties or small weddings.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
My proudest moment has been working with Chef Carlos Salgado during 2018-2019. Chef Carlos, let me take the helm at Taco Maria. Allowing me to push the kitchen and ultimately helping Taco Maria receive their first Michelin Star.

Contact Info:

  • Phone: 714-860-2402
  • Email: MarcoArreguinTM@gmail.com
  • Instagram: @ChefMarcoArreguin


Image Credit:

@vitalymanzuk

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