Chef Brian Gruber is the executive chef and owner of Notorious Burgers Handcrafted Burgers and Beer in Carlsbad, California, which recently won the 2016 Spectrum Award through City Beat News for excellence in customer satisfaction.
FriendsEAT: Describe the cuisine served at Notorious Burgers.
Chef Brian Gruber: Gourmet All-American comfort food. With everything from handcrafted “over-the-top” gourmet burgers, to fresh salads, sharables, sandwiches and more.
FE: What makes the restaurant special?
Chef Brian: Family, great locally-produced food and craft beer are our pillars. I own Notorious Burgers with my wonderful wife, Julie Gruber and together we come up with some of the most unique well-favored menu items and are huge supporters of local craft breweries in San Diego. So we proudly distribute local craft beer along with our one-of-a-kind gourmet burgers and more. The restaurant has a fun mobster prohibition-themed environment that allows us to play up the names of our entrees like the “Notorious B.I.G.” burger and the “Pacino’s Pork” burger.
FE: Where did you get your training?
Chef Brian: Growing up, I surrounded myself with people who were amazing chefs that cultivated the skillset that I have today. I actually starting working at a Burger King as one of my first culinary jobs and later on became a private chef for high-profile clients such as New Orleans Saints’ quarterback Drew Brees, San Diego Chargers’ linebacker Junior Seau, and former Los Angeles Lakers owner, Dr. Jerry Buss. Eventually, I received the opportunity to purchase my own restaurant and here I am today.
FE: Did you grow up cooking or did cooking come to you later in life?
Chef Brian: I have been experimenting and observing in the kitchen since I was just a kid. I was (and still am) a huge fan of Food Network and received a lot of inspiration from watching famous chefs on television and also being around a variety of cultures. My family is Dutch-Indonesian and the grandmother of one of my good friends growing up was Filipino—so I really learned a lot from her.
FE: Who in your life influenced your cooking the most?
Chef Brian: My grandfather had a ton of influence on me. I remember growing up and enjoying watching the way he chewed food. His love for food and simple ingredients had a big impact on me.
FE: What made you decide to become a chef?
Chef Brian: I realized I enjoyed watching people taste and love my food—it brought me a certain happiness. I was never really good at any other kind of art, but I wanted to do something creative for a living so I stuck with cooking! And I’m certainly glad that I did.
FE: What misconceptions do people have when they first enter the culinary field?
Chef Brian: When I entered the field, I knew I was going to work a ton of hours and be hot all the time. I was right, it is and was all that I expected but if you truly love something, it’s entirely worth the hard work and effort.
FE: What is the best cooking tip you can share for a novice?
Chef Brian: Keep it simple.
FE: What are your three favorite cooking tools?
Chef Brian: My knife, my cutting board and my apron.
FE: What is the craziest thing that has happened in your kitchen?
Chef Brian: Probably someone COMPLETELY faking a fall and I got it all on video.
FE: What is your favorite ingredient to cook with and why?
Chef Brian: Beef for sure. It is very versatile and I can eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
FE: When you’re home, what is your guilty food pleasure?
Chef Brian: I always find myself eating salami at home. I am always excited when my wife buys a big ol’ pack.
FE: What is your Favorite cookbook?
Chef Brian: “Cooking Javanese”
Notorious Burgers Handcrafted Burgers and Beer is located at 6955 El Camino Real, Carlsbad, CA 92011, USA
Nearby Landmarks: US Post Office, Plaza Paseo Real, Cinepolis Luxury Cinemas, West Buff Plaza Shopping Center, and Vons.
Phone Number: (760) 431-2929
Hours of Operation:
- Sun – Thu 11:00AM – 09:00PM
- Fri – Sat 11:00AM – 10:00PM
Also check out Chef Brian Gruber’s Curry Up Ya Chicken Recipe.
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