I was born in Stockton, California, and I’ve been in the kitchen industry for around eleven years on and off. The biggest thing I’ve learned, especially from being the dishwasher at @Animae.sandiego, is to always strive for improvement. If I have an off day, I will be better the next day because there’s always room for growth. In the kitchen, there’s not much time to be negative. The chefs here maintain a positive attitude, even on tough days. I carry this mentality outside of work. It might sound cheesy, but you should leave the kitchen if you can’t handle the pressure. Everyone has a role here, and when we work together, there’s no hierarchy. We’re all equal. It’s beautiful to see everyone working in unison.

Even though some might see dishwashing as the lowest role, I’m proud to say that I’m the dishwasher at Animae—a huge thank you to Chef Tara for running such a wonderful kitchen. I feel blessed to be part of this family. I hope one thing that changes or improves in this industry is higher pay and more recognition for industry workers. I recently asked, “What about the dishwashers? Why don’t we get some acknowledgment? I do not think we get enough respect for what we do. We are a crucial part of your wine and dine experience; at the end of the night, we have to clean up after you guys. Many of us have other talents and side jobs, such as music, photography, and performing, or are students, musicians, and DJs. There is a lot of behind-the-scenes work that people don’t see when they dine at a restaurant, especially one like Animae. Opening and closing the kitchen require hours of preparation and love for the industry.

What is your favorite street food?


Which restaurant or food stand do you recommend? (Different from yours) (Add its Instagram handle if possible)

Las Cuatro Milpas in Barrio Logan, San Diego. My advice is go early, don’t skip on the beans with chorizo and tortillas!!! Grab some of that chili oil too.

What is your guilty pleasure?

Eating desserts when I can.

What ingredient do you find overrated?

Seafood. Personally, I’m just not a fan. I haven’t had a seafood dish that has “wowed” me.

What ingredient do you think is underrated?

Cheese. I need it on everything, except everything. Does that make sense? I love cheese. Who doesn’t?

What is your favorite kitchen tool?

My dishwasher.

What is your worst kitchen nightmare?

Double party events in one shift. Keeping up with that many dishes means doubles dishes, plus double kitchen dishes. We gotta move fast. Communication is key in the dish pit. If not, we sink fast!

@mwatsonnyc reporting 📸🎤 from San Diego, CA