2014 Los Angeles Rising Star Pastry Chef David Rodriguez of Providence

2014 Los Angeles Rising Star Pastry Chef David Rodriguez of Providence
May 2014

Growing up in Southern California, David Rodriguez was no stranger to the kitchen. He was a home cook, making meals (usually with a Mexican bent) for friends and family. He’d never thought of cooking as a line of work, but those who had a seat at Rodriguez’s table thought differently. His family encouraged him to keep cooking, and with their support, his latent talent, and a new career-minded approach, Rodriguez enrolled at the California School of Culinary Arts in Pasadena. It was in school that he discovered his passion for pastry.

But it wasn’t until Rodriguez came on board at StarChefs.com Rising Star Chef Michael Cimarusti’s Providence in Los Angeles that his pastry calling was crystallized under Pastry Chef Adrian Vasquez. After honing his skills and developing his voice at Providence, he moved on to work with StarChefs.com Rising Star Pastry Chef Jordan Kahn at XIV by Michael Mina. Rodriguez followed Kahn to Red Medicine, where he was part of the opening team as both pastry and sous chef, collaborating closely with Kahn. Today, as the executive pastry chef of Providence, Rodriguez’s career has come full circle. There, he showcases a style and artistry born of a life lived in the kitchen.

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Interview with Los Angeles Rising Star Pastry Chef David Rodriguez of Providence

Antoinette Bruno: How much play do you have with Michael [Cimarusti]?
David Rodriguez: I have a lot of control, he throws ideas at me. 

AB: How did you get your start?
DR: I was cooking at home, my family suggested it and I had never really thought of it as a career. I went to culinary school in Pasadena. 

AB: Who's your mentor?
DR: I started with Adrien Vasquez here at Providence and then went to open XIV with Jordan [Kahn] and I worked for him for three years. Two were at XIV and the other was at Red Medicine. After Jordan left, I took over and worked with Lincoln Carson—the corporate chef for the Mina Group. From Adrien Vasquez—as my first pastry job—I learned a lot of the fundamentals: how to make ice creams and cakes, etc. With Jordan, I was always very creative and working with him helped me explore my creativity and put it on a plate. Lincoln was a balance between being hyper-creative and being very straight forward. The three of them have molded me into the pastry chef I am today.

AB: What’s the hardest thing you’ve had to do in your career?
DR: Leaving Jordan to come here. There’s security working under a very talented pastry chef, but I had to go out on my own.

AB: What are you most proud of?
DR: I’m proud of my team, of how much we've grown together. 

AB: What's your five-year plan?
DR: I want to have my own place, my own take on a patisserie: traditional tarts and pastries, but composed. Almost as if each tart was it's own plated dessert.