Born in Bogota, Colombia, Chef Felipe Gonzalez Varon moved to the United States with his family when he was just 7 years old. The foodservice industry has been a big part of his life since he was 15. After some time working, one of the restaurant owners noticed Chef Gonzalez Varon’s passion and dedication to the industry and asked if he would like to move into the kitchen at a culinary level. From there, it wasn’t long before he had the desire for more and decided to enroll in culinary school. That, along with his hospitality background is what helped open a path to his success today.
By the age of 19, Chef Gonzalez Varon became the Kitchen Supervisor for Sands Point, a fine dining kitchen at the Longboat Key Club in Longboat Key, Florida. From there, he quickly became the Sous Chef and eventually an Executive Chef at other establishments.
Chef Gonzalez Varon later decided to move to San Diego where he worked at the highly acclaimed luxury resort, the Park Hyatt Aviara for several years. With over 14 years of experience, he is now the Executive Chef at one of the top luxury spas in the world, Cal-a-Vie Health Spa.
When it comes to purchasing seafood, Chef Gonzalez Varon notes freshness and quality are most important. “Guests that come to my restaurant travel around the world and know quality, so it is very important to me to get the best I can find. Local products as much as possible along with wild-caught are also very important. When you receive a great product, the flavors will be at their best.”
One of Chef Gonzalez Varon’s favorite fish to cook at home is Salmon (his daughters’ favorite). “I serve my guests King Salmon, cooked in various methods. Scallops are also great. I love how tasting scallops makes me feel like I’m out at sea,” says Chef Gonzalez Varon.
As for cooking advice, Chef Gonzalez Varon recommends getting the freshest seafood you can find, and don’t forget to season all sides. A great product will ensure a great dish when cooked properly. One secret he uses for cooking most seafood is making sure to have a hot pan before searing.
Cal-a-Vie Health Spa
29402 Spa Havens Way
Vista, CA 92084