Chef Karl Pfleider

    Chef Karl Pfleider
Chef Karl Pf

Chef Karl Pfleider at 27, The Blind Pig’s Executive Chef Karl Pfleider is a rising star in the SoCal culinary galaxy, having worked in some of Orange County’s most lauded restaurants, including The Crosby in Downtown Santa Ana. After opening The Blind Pig as Sous Chef in 2013, Pfleider now is at the helm of the popular restaurant’s kitchen. He also manages the restaurant’s sister outpost – The Trough Sandwich Kitchen – where he creates high-quality, gourmet breakfast and lunch options.

How did you learn to cook?

I learned everything I know about cooking in various kitchens around Orange County. To me, this hands-on education is priceless, and more valuable than classical training. I learned from my mistakes and saw how important it is to be the best version of myself, which may have taken me much longer if I had attended culinary school.

Tell us about your culinary journey so far.

I started my culinary career by cold-calling one of my favorite restaurants, The Crosby in Downtown Santa Ana, and offering to stage for free. Aron Habiger, who is now the chef at The North Left, agreed to have me shadow him, and I picked parsley for him for what seemed like months. But Aron became my mentor and taught me all the fundamentals, and even though I left The Crosby a few times for brief stints with other OC restaurants like The Playground, Broadway in Laguna Beach, and 370 Common, I always returned to work with Aron. He is a very patient teacher, which is one of the most important tools a young chef needs. While at The Crosby, I also worked with Linh Nguyen, who really taught me everything I know about cooking and working in a kitchen. I honestly could not have done it without him. I think I learned the most when I was working as Josh Han’s Sous Chef as we opened The Blind Pig. In less than a year, I was able to learn operations in front of house and back of house, how to manage a talented team – from line cooks to servers to dishwashers – and how to run a successful restaurant. He really helped me challenge myself and push my creative limits when developing new dishes for our menus. I’m very fortunate to now be the Executive Chef, as well as for The Trough – it’s challenging, but incredibly rewarding.

What is your favorite food trend right now?

I love restaurants that have their own herb gardens. I think it’s amazing that so many chefs are able to find time to run their kitchen, and still be able to grow and harvest their own herbs. I’d love to be able to do that one day.

How do you want the dining experience The Blind Pig to feel for guests? What “feeling” are you trying to evoke?

I want the dining experience to be unique at The Blind Pig. In South County, most people are nervous to take risks when dining out, but I really appreciate anyone who comes in to the restaurant with an open mind. My goal is to earn our guests’ trust with the more classic dishes on our menu, then surprise them with some of the items that are more ‘out-there.’ My goal is to establish a food-loving community in South County as we continue to up the ante in the culinary space.

If you weren’t a chef, what would you be doing?

I started cooking at 18, and I don’t think I would be happy doing anything else.

What was your favorite dish to eat growing up?  Who made it?  What did you love about it?

It was, and still is, my mom’s Sinigang (a classic Filipino soup). I spent most of my life with my Filipino side of the family, and I’ve literally had everyone – and their mother’s – version of the dish, here and in the Philippines. My mom is from Mexico, and I have yet to try a Sinigang better than hers. She makes it with pork neck bones and rib meat, along with daikon, broccoli, eggplant, mibuna and green beans. She always serves it with a whole fried tilapia and this spicy, fishy condiment that she refuses to give me the recipe for. I think it’s her way of getting me to come home.

Do you cook at home? If so, what types of things do you prepare?

I don’t spend much time at home, unfortunately, but I just got a grill and am practicing my grilling skills. It’s such a social way of cooking – I can invite my friends and family over and it becomes a fun get-together.

Do you watch any food-related television shows?  If so, which?

Not really, but I love food documentaries and I try to watch as many as I can. I also love cookbooks – my favorite right now is Bar Tartine Techniques & Recipes. I learn something new every time I read it.

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Click for brunch

Only available Saturdays & Sundays 11am -3pm

Sunday Brunch favorites include the Chicken & Waffles with white gravy, pickled gold raisins and petite watercress, as well as Carne con Papas, which is a grilled hanger steak, roasted fingerling potatoes, salsa borracha and a poached egg.

The Bling Pig Kitchen + Bar has added a new hearty & savory dish to their weekend brunch menu! On Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. guests can indulge in a 16 oz of Grilled Ham Steak with spicy pineapple glaze, served with 2 fried eggs, and smothered in gravy for $20. On Sundays, you can pair this dish with $6 Bloody Marys or $12 bottomless mimosas with the purchase of an entree.

For the full brunch menu visit their website

Blind Pig Grilled Ham Steak

Click for Happy Hour

All week 3pm - 6pm

Enjoy $6 wine by the glass, rotating craft beers on draft, and well spirit + mixer, as well as $9 specialty cocktails. Happy hour snacks include Edamame, Bibb Lettuce Salad, Hand Cut Fries, Beef Tartare, and Pork Rillette with blackberry jam, mustard seed chili oil, and sourdough bread

For the full menu visit The Blind Pig here.

Blind Pig Drink

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