el Segundo, Executive Sous Chef
Genesis Padilla was a ProStart student at Wilbur Cross High School in New Haven, CT. As part of the culinary team, Genesis represented Connecticut at the National ProStart Invitational at Disneyland in 2015 and again in 2017 in Charleston, SC. Genesis is now the Executive Sous Chef at el Segundo in New Haven.
Q: What made you pursue a career in culinary?
I decided to pursue culinary as my career for many reasons, one being that you will always have control over your craft. The consistency and determination to create and make something beautiful and delicious. I’m extremely passionate about culinary because it has opened many doors in my life. I’ve learned so much through it. It’s an industry that is always evolving, you learn something new everyday. From recipes, flavors, failures, success, chefs, coworkers. When I cook I forget about everything. In life we can’t really control anything but when you’re in the kitchen behind a sauté pan you control everything, the consistency, the amount, everything.
Q: Can you tell us a little about your background?
I was introduced to this industry through my dad who had a small restaurant when I was in middle school. His drive and strength inspired me to be fall in love with this craft. I was born in Honduras and came here when I was 7. Life wasn’t always easy and when I started working in restaurants, doors opened up. I wanted and want to make my family proud even though we’re foreign, I want to set my bar high that nothing is impossible when you believe and are passionate about something. I got my first Sous Chef position when I was 19. I decided to keep learning and pushing, as well as adventuring in different cuisines. From Italian, French, American, to now international
Q: How did you get started with ProStart?
I started Prostart when I was in my sophomore year. My culinary teacher Mr. Nate Bradshaw introduced me to the program and I was ecstatic to be part of the program.
My favorite ProStart memory was my first year going to Disneyland and having the adrenaline of competing among other states. Seeing a lot of kids my age at that time be so passionate about culinary made me fall in love even more, it moved me.
Q: ProStart help you prepare for your career?
ProStart did help me prepare for my career because the pressure of competing is the same pressure you have when you’re in the weeds in the line. It helped me by opening my eyes to the Industry. It’s an experience I will never ever forget. I will always hold it close to my heart because it was the introduction to my career. As I grow, I will always be fond of those years.
Q: If you could offer advice to students interested in a career in the restaurant industry, what would you say?
This industry will teach you so many things. From meeting new people to have doors open. It’s an industry where you can grow and it’s never the same thing. There’s always something to look forward. My advice is to never give up and always believe in what you’re capable of doing.