Chef Ferdinand / Chef Chuy / Chef Herndon
Chef Chuy began his career in 1993, as dishwasher, in Universal City, CA. After a few years as a line cook, he became Assistant Kitchen Manager at the age of 19 at Gladstone’s. Three years later, Chuy had his first Chef position at Wolf Creek Restaurant and Brewery. There he became passionate about wine and craft beer and pairing them with food. He has recently joined Cafe Merlot as the Executive Chef/General Manager. He is now working with Toni to bring healthy and innovative specials to the farm-to-table menu. Chuy is excited to share what he has learned in his 20 years of experience with the Rancho Bernardo community.
Chef Shariff Herndon
Shariff was born in East Orange New Jersey and has spent time living in New Jersey, Milton, PA, and Albany, New York, before joining the US Navy in 1999 and becoming a Culinary Specialist. Traveling abroad on two different War Ships, the USS Milius DDG 69 and the USS Nimitz CVN 68, Shariff very quickly gained recognition for his outstanding work as a cook. In less than four years, CSSN Herndon became Petty Officer Second Class. He earned letters of commendation and the Naval Achievement award for his culinary skills and naval commitment to excellence. After 8 years of service, Shariff was honorably discharged and started a new career right here in sunny San Diego.
While attending culinary arts school at the Art Institute of California – San Diego, Shariff worked in various kitchens around town honing his skills in the civilian sector. He worked for top Fortune 500 companies like Scripps Hospital and Whole Foods Market, along with stints at Paradise Point Resort and Spa, Hard Rock Hotel and Giuseppe Catering and Fine Dining. But it didn’t stop there. Shariff found his niche creating food and entertainment while showcasing his talent on television shows such as Baggage and Epic Chef Meal Time. Shariff is also an author of his first cook book “30 Meals to Love”. After graduating culinary school Shariff became an American Culinary Certified Chef.
Shariff has found a home at Cafe Merlot where he creates amazing food for all his guests. Food is his passion in life. Desire to achieve greatness in his craft is what drives him. He’s nicknamed the Chef of Love because his food is his passion. It’s something that you can’t help but to love!