Chef Gabbi Patrick – entrepreneurial success

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Chef Gabbi Patrick is owner and executive chef of Gabbi’s Mexican Kitchen in Old Town Orange.

The daughter of two Mexican entrepreneurial parents from Merida, Yucatan; Gabbi has spent her entire adult life working in the restaurant industry. By the age of seventeen, she was managing two of her parents’ Los Angeles based restaurants.Being a young, female manager in a male dominated industry, Gabbi had to learn the intricacies of the entire restaurant, especially the kitchen. Having little experience in the kitchen, Gabbi quickly learned the trade and became enamored with the creativity and pace involved. Her new found love led her to pursue a culinary degree, enrolling in the culinary program at the University of California, Los Angeles. While earning her degree, Gabbi continued to manage two restaurants and apprenticed as a sous chef. After receiving her culinary degree, Gabbi continued her education at the prestigious Greystone Culinary Academy in Napa Valley, California.

In 2002, Gabbi decided to leave the security of her parents’ restaurants in order to pursue her own endeavors. Gabbi became an entrepreneur herself with the opening of her own catering company based out of Costa Mesa, California. Although the catering company was a success, her growing family and the need for a challenge led her to think expansion. When the opportunity presented itself, Gabbi found the perfect restaurant space located in “Old Towne” Orange, California. The charming structure was built in the early 1900’s and was the perfect fit for Gabbi’s “Colonial” Mexican restaurant concept. With a location set, Gabbi and her husband Ed opened Gabbi’s Mexican Kitchen in July of 2006.

What about restaurants do you feel is most misunderstood?

Not a glamor job. Unfortunately, being a chef is perceived as a glamorous occupation, when in actuality it is quite the opposite. There are lots of long, tedious days that are necessary in order to maintain a successful restaurant.