Based in Southern California, Derek is an IT professional by day and dedicated home cook by night. His recipes are influenced by where he lives and his cultural roots—he blends flavors from Mexico, Italy, and Guam into his cooking and loves to grill.
Since I was young, I’ve always enjoyed cooking. It’s watching something come together from individual ingredients to something totally different and wonderful that really excites me. When I was in high school, I almost attended culinary school, but decided to enter a career in IT. However, my passion for cooking and creating my own dishes never went away and I’ve been a home cook ever since.
Describe your culinary style.
My style is very much a reflection of where I live and my family upbringing. I love Mexican cuisine—Southern California has the best Mexican food in the U.S.! But I also love Italian food and grew up eating Chamorro/Guamanian food. Alongside anything grilled, I enjoy coming up with ways to incorporate all these different flavors into what I cook to bring something to the table that the family will enjoy.
What do you love most about cooking?
I love that first sizzle of raw ingredients hitting a piping hot pan. Nothing is more satisfying than that sound.