Born and raised in Irvine, Calif., Chef Katy Smith uncovered her love for the food industry while working in restaurants during college. Deciding to forge her passion into a career, Smith earned her advanced culinary arts degree from Baltimore International College while working as a cook at Michael Mina’s Wit & Wisdom at the Baltimore Four Seasons Hotel. A jack of all kitchen trades, Smith has had a wide range of jobs within the culinary industry including, time in a 5- star hotel kitchen and owning and operating a personal chef business. Most recently, Smith served as the test kitchen director and culinary assistant to culinary legend Rick Bayless in Chicago.
While in Chicago, Smith received national recognition as the culinary director for the James Beard winning podcast The Feed and served as kitchen director for Bayless’ Emmy-nominated, Season 10 of PBS Mexico’s One Plate at a Time. Smith also oversaw recipe testing and developing for Bayless’ most recent cookbook, More Mexican Everyday. Smith brought her talents back to Southern California in Summer 2016 as Puesto’s executive creative chef. At Puesto, Smith is constantly experimenting with new ingredients and testing out recipes to give a fresh and innovative spin to authentic Mexican cuisine.
What do you love most about Your City?
Laguna Beach: The views! There is something so calming about being near the ocean. No matter how long or hard your day was, driving past the water on the way home has this calming effect.
The trout from 370 Common. My wife and I love to go on date nights there, belly up to the bar for a Barrel Aged Manhattan and their perfectly cooked trout with mushrooms and frisee.
What are you doing at:
6:00 AM – Heading to the gym. I go to this awesome small gym a few blocks away from my house. I find that my body and brain function so much better if I start my day with a workout. I generally catch up on our reports from the past evening while I’m on the treadmill.
10:00 AM - Los Olivos, working in the prep kitchen. Los Olivos is the store closest to my house, so I spend a lot of time working in their kitchen. I like to get into the kitchen by 7:30 at the lastest. That way I can get any testing for upcoming menus or events done before the restaurant starts to get crazy.
12:00 PM - At my laptop. I will have just tasted the line at whichever store I am at that day. And now I’ll be doing anything from catching up on emails, writing responses to media requests, menu planning, sourcing or costing new menu items, or reading our company’s Slack channels.
7:00 PM - If we don’t have an event that night then hopefully I am just getting home and making dinner for my wife and I. I love cooking at home, even if it is really simple quick weeknight meals
11:00 PM - Fast asleep!
Rye Manhattan on the rocks
Where do you enjoy getting lost?
In a good book! I’m a big reader and love reading outside with my wife on a Sunday while we grill.