Chris Carriker didn’t plan to become a chef of a top California eatery someday. In fact, the North County resident said he had hoped to become a history teacher while working as a dishwasher at a small restaurant.
Carriker’s dreams of becoming an educator became history after he discovered his love for the kitchen, he said.
“I was a kid who needed a job so I became a dishwasher,” Carriker said. “It was here when I discovered I felt most at-home in the kitchen.”
Down the road, a chef with whom Carriker worked with encouraged him to dive deeper into the culinary scene.
“So I did,” Carriker said. “(The chef) took me under his wing and that’s when I found I had the talent and drive to become a great cook.”
Carriker, who attended the Western Culinary Institute in Portland, Oregon, has recently been named executive chef at California Native, a new eatery in Del Mar Highlands where he delivers French-inspired Northwest dishes to the table.
Carriker arrived at California Native after more than 20 years of high-level culinary experience, including at L’Aberge Del Mar and Avant Restaurant in Rancho Bernardo Inn. He’s also appeared on the Food Network.
But Carriker is excited to bring his experience to California Native, a restaurant that stands apart from the growing selection of eateries in San Diego.
“California Native has a wok station, a wood fired grill and a rotisserie,” Carriker said. “Having access to these tools allows our team to be creative with the menu offerings. We use local ingredients to create a variety of interesting dishes you typically wouldn’t find in a restaurant with a casual atmosphere.”
Carriker also said he’s able to bring his life experiences to the kitchen, which make his dishes personal and unique.
“My dishes are always changing, whether it be for the season or location of ingredients,” Carriker said. “I always try to put a little whimsy in food because it reminds me to not take everything so seriously.”
“My personal experiences in life translate into to my food,” he said.
For more information about Chris Carriker or California Native, go to ca-native.com.
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