California native Victoria East began her culinary journey in high school, cooking for friends and family. “I learned to cook because I wanted to eat fine food and don’t come from money,” she explains. She became passionate about resourceful, creative cooking and making quality dishes for less. Before her professional cooking career began, she worked in sales, volunteered with nonprofit organizations, and taught cooking classes in lower-income communities; “I LOVE teaching others to eat well, especially people who may have limited resources” she shares.
A graduate of the San Diego Culinary Institute, Victoria has a deep understanding of food science and passion for sustainability. Her previous experience includes positions at Bertrand at Mister A’s, Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa, and Zensei Sushi, and managing catering operations at Cafe Sevilla and Socal Chef. She also taught at Great News Cooking School for three years, starred in a TV show called Haute Plate, and led live cooking demos on Channel 6.
Victoria started her career with Bon Appétit Management Company at Reed College in 2013, and later returned to California to launch Bon Appétit operations at Petco in 2015.
What foods are you into right now?
I love cooking with vegetables and using different techniques to create new textures and flavor profiles. I am into lentils right now, and pea shoots and microgreens because of the increased vitamin content during the germination cycle. I love seafood and will eat anything including eyeballs.
Who has been your most exciting guest?
I’ve been fortunate to cook for several celebrities and local industry leaders. A client known to me only as “The Mrs.” once flew my lasagna to Colorado on a private jet for her husband to taste. That was cool. It was good lasagna. One of the most memorable experiences was serving former NBA champion Bill Walton. He’s so big and tall that he uses special utensils that are larger than the standard restaurant flatware! It’s humbling and incredibly rewarding to see such esteemed public figures enjoy my food.