Chef Jose Miguel Smith
Cocinero Jose Miguel’s Autobigraphy:
I fell in love with the kitchen at a very young age. Most memorable images of my childhood are shucking corn to dry that I had picked that same day and cultivating what we served at the dinner table was a daily routine for me. As the first born child, it has been the mission of my life to keep the passion in my food and bring my culture to every plate.
Toluca, Mexico is my birth place. I have been blessed to have had a childhood full of memories of different cuisines and flavors, mostly due to all the places I’ve lived and to all the people that impacted me. Morelos, Guerrero, Puebla, Michoacán, Jalisco, Nayarit, and Sinaloa did something to me, they introduced calibrated flavors and no rules to the kitchen.
As a teenager, after a huge battle with my parents, I migrated to the hot flat land of Yolo county, north of Sacramento, CA. My summer jobs working in the fields, which I hated, taught me to respect and appreciate seasonal ingredients and understand the sustainable resources of crops. First official kitchen job was at the age of 14 at a diner in down town Woodland. After graduating high school, I decided there was only one true thing I was passionate about and that was cooking and food. Following my desire and dreams, I moved to San Francisco where I attended Le Cordon Bleu, California Culinary Academy.
The amazing talent that this city has, shaped the vision that I have today and clarified that I’ve been following the right passion all along. Working under great mentors such as Chef Mike Yakura, who I credit to opening the door to creativity and originality; to Chef Jan Birnbaum who rounded it all with integrity and professionalism.
It is my passion not only to cook but re-create and explore my heritage with every dish I plate. Bringing my culture with a modern original twist with everyone on a daily basis is my mission and goal in life.