Chef Keith Garabedian of Hot Diggity - Biography

Philadelphia, PA

January 2013

Chef Keith Garabedian always loved music, and wanted to become a teacher, but a chance encounter at a party led him down the path to becoming a professional chef instead. It took a while for him to fully accept the culinary lifestyle, though. At 15 years old, Garabedian made sushi for his then girlfriend’s graduation party, and the chef who helped catered it loved his seafood inventions. Garabedian was asked on the spot to get a job as garde manger at The Little Café, a tiny restaurant in suburban Philadelphia (on the Jersey side). Besides earning some cash to help put himself through school, the experience instilled a love of food in Garabedian. However, he would not pursue (at least, not exclusively) a career in food until years later. After attending nearby Temple University, pursuing a degree in Music Theory, he worked at sous chef and then executive chef at Tortilla Press. Garabedian then moved onto greater things, in both his music and culinary careers, going for a graduate degree in music while at the City University of New York and working under Tom Colicchio at Craftbar.

After years of schooling, Garabedian finally thought: “Maybe you have this backwards. Maybe cooking is what you should be doing fulltime.” He made his choice, and not content with being just another fish in a huge pond he decided to open his own place. Firmly ensconced in the world of cooking, he opened in 2011 Hot Diggity, a hot dog eatery that treats the ultimate fast food with a more fine-dining sensibility. It’s there that Garabedian has started making a name for himself in the growing Philadelphia dining scene for his locally sourced and seasonal ingredients, housemade sauces, and a line of artisan sodas.