Our restaurant partners make delicious, balanced food that we get to share with you every week. They use their dishes as a vehicle to build community within your office and each one of their recipes has a story they want to share with you.
Limón Rotisserie is the first of our restaurant partners to feature on our In The Kitchen With… series. We spoke with Lorenzo Castaneda, Limón’s Director of Operations, to get more insight into one of SF’s most popular family restaurants. Fun fact: in addition to making great food, Limón and Lorenzo love to contribute to the community at large. They are supporting SEO Scholars San Francisco’s upcoming Graduation Celebration and helping low-income San Francisco students get into and through four-year colleges.
Here’s what Lorenzo had to say about his background and what makes Limón so special:
What would your dating profile say?
I’m the Director of Operations for Limón. We currently have 3 locations, are opening 2 more in 2016, and plan on riding our new food truck around the city before the end of the year. I’m passionate about food, history and culture and before I joined Limón last year I was a chef at The Tipsy Pig, a fan favorite in the Marina.
We want to hear your story. How did you end up where you are?
I loved being a full time chef, but working 60+ hours a week was very draining and it was hard to maintain a regular schedule. I reached out to Limón Rotisserie and started working as their catering manager. Thanks to my culinary skills, restaurant experience and marketing background, I moved into the Director of Operations position and essentially became the owners’ right hand man.
Where does your passion for food come from?
My dad was a chef in WWII when he was 18. Growing up, he was retired, and would always cook for the family. One summer the electricity bill in Sacramento was outrageously high and dad bought an outdoor stove and taught me how to cook with it. By age 12, I was making dinner for the entire family. I learned how to season, how to balance flavors in a meal and what spices brought out the best flavors.
Cooking took a backseat when I went to college. But after graduating, I began working in the restaurant industry. I started off as a host and made my way up to line cook, chef, and front house manager. I applied myself and was able to learn all aspects of the restaurant business – both front and back of house. I had the chance to work at places like Kitchen Story, Pluto’s, The Tipsy Pig and now Limón Rotisserie.
Tell us about Limón Rotisserie. What’s special?
Two things come to mind when talking about Limón: family and heritage. Limón is a very family oriented restaurant and most of our menu items are served family style. That’s something we want to preserve. On top of that, surprisingly there aren’t a whole lot of Latin inspired restaurants in the city. The owners of Limón came from Peru to build this – they started off with nothing and had no formal experience in the restaurant industry but wanted to share Peru’s culinary greatness.
What has been your proudest accomplishment?
I created my own startup: a personal chef service called Chef Kwong. It took up a lot of time and dedication, but I’m extremely proud of it.
What’s your favorite ingredient to cook with? Why?
Thyme, because it’s so universal. It goes with almost everything!
What’s your favorite meal from Limón?
Lomito saltado made with filet mignon and French fries, an upgrade on a traditional Peruvian meal. If you went to someone’s house while traveling in Peru this is the dish they would cook for you.