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

Hi Joseph, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
Deep down inside it was always something I wanted; to be my own boss, to create for myself. Wasn’t until Covid hit, that I got the nudge I needed. Made me think a lot about taking care of my wife and kids, my family, and what impression my creativity would have on them. Cooking being something I’d done my whole life, this nudge helped turn just wishes into actions towards my own business, my dreams. I enjoy the benefits of being my own boss, finalizing my own projects, and the flexibility to put family first, because above all, that is what is important to me.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
What sets me apart is that I think outside my surroundings, or outside the box as they say. Taking inspiration from all the influences I’ve had, people I’ve worked with, types of cuisines I’ve worked with, and travels I’ve had. My food isn’t just one type of cuisine or following the latest trend, it’s made with history, stories, and visions I have. I respect the food I work with, honor the animal and keep the integrity of it as if it is family. Nothing good easy, you can’t even plan for a day in the kitchen to go as planned. I’ve always been ready for the unexpected. Keeps you on your toes and constantly keeps me thinking 10 steps ahead. That’s what is part of being a great leader in the kitchen, being the calmness in the storm. Taking these lesson into starting my own business and staying true to who I am and what I want to create, has helped get me through these new set of challenges.

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?
Any friend of mine is family, so right away, the best time ever is home here in Los Angeles, outside, grill on, beer in hand, music loud, laughing and telling stories. One day at the waters edge fishing in Castaic, stopping on the way back at San Fernando Brewery, grabbing some house made pork chorizo from Ziggy’s in San Fernando, finishing off the day grilling up what we brought home. Its a must to get in a Dodger Game. Nothing better than some beers, good game, some Dodger dogs and garlic fries, always snacking on peanuts. Another day heading to downtown just after stopping off in Silverlake at Gemini Bakehouse to grab some pastries, lunch at Phelippes to get a French Dip Sandwich and walking Olivera Square, finishing off at Angel City Brewery for some great beer and throwing darts.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My shoutout is to someone who made a huge impact on the start of my culinary passion. Rudy Garcia, Executive Chef Professor at Los Angeles Mission College. The first time I met Mr. Garcia I was a junior in high school and had started the culinary program at the college during the week. He was tough, organized, clean, and right away that left an impression on me. After a year in the program, my senior year he helped a dream start in me when he shared where this career could take me. It lite a fire in me and I think of him often when I’m cooking or creating.

Website: www.poppajoeskitchen.com

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