Rising Star Chef Carlos Salgado of Taco María - Biography

Costa Mesa, CA

April 2017

Carlos Salgado has been immersed in the restaurant world since for as long as he can remember. Born and raised in Orange County, he worked in the kitchens of his family’s restaurants. After a brief career detour into the video game industry, Salgado attended culinary school and decamped to San Francisco for his formal training. He spent a decade in the Bay Area, making pastry and a name for himself at Vernon Morales’ Winterland, Daniel Patterson’s Coi, and James Syhabout’s Commis. 

Then it was time for Salgado to return home. He opened simply named Taco María in 2013 and switched from the world of sweets to helming a kitchen with a mission. In a county better known for shopping plazas, sunny outlooks, and mega mansions, Salgado’s cooking puts Mexican flavors and culture on a pedastal, and he’s teaching his homegrown cooks and staff to respect and nurture their own traditions. Using the best ingredients available, including Macienda corn for freshly made masa and tortillas, Salgado works to create a new “Alta California” cuisine.

For his work, Salgado was among Food & Wine “Best New Chefs” in 2015, and earned “Chef of the Year” by the Orange County Register. In 2016, he was named a James Beard Award semifinalist for “Best Chef, West.” In early 2017, Salgado expanded his reach as a culinary partner for the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs.