We had the good fortune of connecting with Craig Strong and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Craig, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
I have always been interested in art and the creative process. Cooking professionally satisfies not only the creative beauty of plating, and flavor combination but with the added pressure of timing that needs to be orchestrated with teamwork. It is this dynamic environment that is challenging and rewarding simultaneously.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I had some great mentors as a young chef but they were very strict and it could be tough kitchens to work in. With that said I will be in debt to them for what they taught me with cooking. Nowadays management and leadership is done with more compassion, this is something that I had to learn on my own through some trial and error. I get great satisfaction growing others and seeing their success. My management style and communication is based on this thought, “be direct and be cool”. Meaning say what needs to be said but be cool about it.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Mountain bike trails in Laguna Beach BBQ in my backyard with lots of good wine
golf at Pelican Hill Resort
sunset picnic Brook Street Beach, Laguna BeachWho else deserves some credit and recognition?
My parents of course would be a good start. “Find something you love and give it everything you got!” simple parenting advise that I will now pass to my daughter Scarlet.

Books: Good to Great, 7 habits of highly effective people, The Tipping Point,

Image Credits
During Covid I bottled my own hot sauce called Salsa Fuerte. It is a chef driven sauce that enhances dishes with just the right amount of heat. The mountain bike is a ride that I did for supporting bikes for people in Rwanda

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