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

Hi Eugene, other than deciding to work for yourself, what else do you think played a pivotal role in your story?
I believe one of the most important decisions I made was defining what “success” means to me. By doing so, it helped shape my journey of what it actually takes to work for myself. It definitely contributed to helping me remain humble and happy throughout the process.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I’ve cooked professionally for the past 16 years between Los Angeles and Las Vegas. The greatest lessons I’ve learned in the kitchen came from Chef Michael Fiorelli and Chef Kerry Simon. Chef Mike taught me the importance of the quality of ingredients, attention to detail, and hard work. I’ve learned through Chef Kerry the importance of the guest experience and interpersonal skills within whomever you meet and find inspiring. Cooking in a professional kitchen is never easy, but so many lessons can be learned and hard work will always pay off. What I found most challenging is how I can apply what I’ve learned and write/tell my story my own way. Even pre-pandemic, the end goal was never to have my own restaurant, but I’ve always wanted to share my culture, upbringing, and experiences within a community. With Baryo, I’d like people to experience my vision through pop ups, collaboration, art, and farming.

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?
A bike tour is a must – Coffee at Lord Windsor and pastries from Gusto Bread, bike the beach path along Long Beach. Grabbing a pizza from Little Coyote and beer from 10 mile brewery and watch the sunset at the light house. Cambodia Town is a gem here in Long Beach so noodles from Phnom Penh and authentic dishes from Crystal Thai. Hiking in Malibu and lounging at the beach is a good day well spent. Pick up some croissants and a houjicha latte at Konbi on the way up. Can end the day at Griffith Park with a bottle of wine from Silverlake Wine and Falafel from Dune. At some point dinner at Bavel will have to take place. The rest of the week will probably be hiking anywhere in the San Bernardino mountains and camping and getting lost in Joshua Tree. The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Michael Pollan – Author Sasha Kanno – Owner of Farm Lot 59 Michael Wood – Owner of Huarache Farms David Tewasart – Owner of Sticky Rice Johnny Lee – Owner of Pearl River Deli Christine Suh – Educator Robby Powers – Beat Swapmeet Anthony Bourdain

Instagram: Personal @doyouhaveranch, Baryo @eatbaryo

Image Credits
Joel Solidum Arby Pabon

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.