Executive Chef Mario Garcia's culinary passion was ignited in his Grandmother's kitchen when he was just a boy. Inspired by her respect for quality ingredients and love of traditional methods, Chef Garcia ambitiously pursued his culinary dream. Throughout his 14 years of culinary experience, Chef Garcia honed his craft, worked to develop close relationships with local sources to utilize the finest and freshest ingredients, and led culinary operations to provide unbeatable customer service. Now at Esteban Restaurant, Chef Garcia pays homage to Spanish cuisine and stays true to the lessons learned at his Grandmother's side.
A California native of Mexican descent, Garcia grew up in Watsonville, surrounded by bountiful farms and ranches. He began in the restaurant business as a dishwasher, where he kept a keen eye on the chefs. His curiosity paid off, he landed a job as a line cook, and his career took off.
"My first job taught me that it's good to start at the bottom and work your way up, so you understand the entire operation," says Chef Garcia. "I have great respect for everyone in the kitchen."
Chef Garcia lives in Carmel Valley with his girlfriend and their dog Kona, a Husky-German Shepard mix. Even in his spare time, Chef Garcia is thinking and learning about food. He loves visiting local farmer markets and collaborating with local producers of all things culinary.