Master In The Language Of Food
Sustainable Culinary Solutions
Sharing his innermost thoughts, he tells us, “Food has a rich history of our ancestors that brings people and ideas together. It is like bringing back memories of people you love, such as grandparents, spouse, or friends. It is not about who is the best Chef, but the kind of experience we can bring to people near us. At the end of the day, that’s my goal and my mission.”
Ali has spent 35 years in the food industry across 32 states in the US to emerge as an industry expert. Based in California, he is a Corporate Restaurant & Food Service Strategist as well as the Founder of – Sustainable Culinary Solutions. An award-winning executive culinary leader, Ali stands out with his ability to create innovative, modernistic approaches and restaurant transformations. Nonetheless, his true passion has always been working in the kitchen as a Chef. “Over the years, I learned that the more you move up as a Chef, the less you work in the kitchen. Yet, I keep my integrity to create an enjoyable food service experience for every customer order, from me and my clients.”
Ali’s journey in the food industry began in 1990 when as an 18 year old, he decided to move from his hometown in Wilmington, CA to San Francisco to study at the Culinary Institute of America. Since then, he has been employed at hotels, restaurants, 3 major movie studios, Swedish bakeries, been a CEO of a culinary school, and a private Chef for many executives. He also helped a company with its Adopt-a-Ship program to train navy chefs.
Chef Ali A. Gonzalez claims he has discovered the secret of ‘food’. “After learning how foodWho’s Who Of The Industry, Gold Edition
is made, I came to realize that food is not just for survival or pleasure. It is also a culture. Being a chef, I have found that I can speak in a different language called food. Food is a way to bring people together.”
Speaking of the passion that wakes him every morning, he says, “I just want to give a unique experience to anyone that I come across. To experience such food and flavor that makes your eyes roll behind your head, to be treated as if you are the only one dining in the restaurant. I’m a detail oriented person and I do not believe my old fashioned habits will ever go away.” Following 3 decades in the industry, Ali launched – Sustainable Culinary Solutions in January 2021 after leading many sustainable yet profitable practices at corporate dining locations in Silicon Valley.
At SCS, he directs strategic planning, precise operational management, and spearheads organizations by aligning high-performance teams with the corporate vision to deliver world-class cuisine. His current strategy is to listen to Managers needing assistance with their business. He does a complete food service audit of their operation and sets up a 3-5 year plan. “Today, I believe it is not enough to have great products and services. A great Manager must also focus on Human Resources.
Some new challenges in the sector are the rise in labor, taxes, and product.” In his opinion, the food service industry has not been as healthy in recent years. “I feel training Managers on how to save money can help them in the long run. Some ways to eliminate cost is by creating cost-effective menus, portioning ingredients correctly (reducing waste), and updating POS systems to track product inventories. I have also seen some operations have terrible contracts with their vendors. It is best to hire someone to see you get a fair deal.”
Ali understands that working in the food service space is very difficult. The working hours are comparable to a doctor or lawyer. He thus balances his life by taking his family to some of the events he caters for, like mansions at Hollywood Hills, Newport Beach, and Pasadena. They get to meet celebrities and other successful people, see new places, and witness Ali at work.
His passion, innovation, commitment to quality, and operational acumen have seen Ali bestowed with
- His first major accomplishment was becoming an Executive Chef at the age of 22 and receiving a full-page article ‘Hail to the Chef’ in Santa Cruz Sentinel, CA.
- Along his journey, he received awards from the American Culinary Federation, an additional education certificate at the Napa Valley Culinary Institute Of America for international cuisine, and many newspaper write-ups that included 68-foot gingerbread displays every year for the holidays.
- Chef of the Year’ from a major food corporation
- Outstanding Leadership Award 2022
- The 10 Most Influential Leaders in the Food Industry, 2023 – The USA Leaders.
He’s already published his first book – The Sustainable Restaurant Plan, and is regularly invited as a public speaker. What is his mantra for success, we ask him. “My advice is to be adaptable!”
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