A native of Anaheim, CA., Rubalcava graduated from the Art Institute of Orange County Culinary program in 2005 after spending many years at his family’s taquerias and Mexican markets. Following his culinary training at the Art Institute, Rubalcava worked his way up the ranks at various leading restaurants throughout the county and most recently as sous chef at the highly acclaimed and Best Mexican Restaurant recipient, Taco Maria.
Rubalcava’s personal acknowledgements include making OC Weekly’s Top 100 Dishes with his “Sonoran Dog” which he created while working at his family’s Rubalcava’s Taqueria & Market in 2012. Rubalcava was also ranked number 2 on OC Weekly’s “Gustavo’s Top 5 Restaurants of 2012,” and featured on an OC Weekly series called “Make It Mexican” in 2013.
A sibling of large close nit family, Rubalcava was raised with the firm belief that there’s no better family time than quality time spent in the kitchen and around the family table. “I equate our family time to memorable meals coupled with love and togetherness,” said Rubalcava, who hopes to share this same family-centric philosophy at Playa Mesa, while incorporating simple and flavor-packed Mexican dishes made from the freshest, high quality ingredients, including sourcing seasonal items from local farms whenever possible.
To say that Rubalcava grew up in a kitchen isn’t far from the truth. Aside from his childhood time spent in the family kitchen, in 1999, Rubalcava began working at his family owned La Reina Market in Orange, CA., and later at Rubalcava’s in Placentia, CA.
Playa Mesa in Costa Mesa announced the appointment of Rolando Rubalcava to the position of Executive Chef. Rubalcava brings over a decade of restaurant experience as well as an extensive background in the food industry.
What is your first food memory?
Eating bowls of rice chicken feet soup at one of my Dad’s restaurants. Something you don’t forget. It was delicious.
Did you grow up in a cooking family?
Yes, I was surrounded on both sides of my family. My Aunts are all great cooks but especially my mother.
Who has influenced your cooking the most?
My Mother and Father are my biggest influences.
Why did you become a chef?
Cooking brings me great pleasure. Being able to change a person’s mood with one bite is very special.