In Conversation -- With Carlos Ponce
By William Deeks
If you have ever visited Juliet during the week, you have likely seen the backbone of the kitchen, Carlos Ponce holding down the dish station, and frying tortillas for our brunch favorite, chilaquiles. He is the second longest standing employee at Juliet. I try not to take it personally when he insists my eggs are too runny and cooks his own for family meal. I especially don't mind because he always has a pack of Bauducco Wafer cookies that he is willing to share.
Elvis Reyes was kind enough to sit in on our interview and translate when language became a barrier. I am always happy to find an excuse to catch up with either of these guys. We spoke over a breakfast family meal in the middle of heavy prep day.
Carlos, the first day I worked with you, I noticed you had a very natural energy about what you were doing and your workflow. How long have you worked in restaurants?
Three years. I started at a taqueria frying tortillas and washing dishes.Then I found work at Sarma, and Juliet.
How are you spending your days off right now? Enjoying the end of the warm weather before winter takes hold again?
Trying to take it easy. Listening to music. But I am finding time to still play soccer a couple days a week.
What kinds of music do you throw on?
These days mainly reggaeton and rancheras.
How was it growing up for you? Were you in a city like this?
No, I was outside of the city. I spent most of my time as a kid just playing with my friends, man. Soccer and fishing. It was good.
So you started as a fisherman, now you are a restaurant guy- what is next?
I want to continue in restaurants. It's working well right now.
I am definitely happy to hear that. What do you like about it?
I just enjoy that I am always learning. Learning how cook for a restaurant, but also picking up on how to make my own food, and just learning something different.
Learning is such a huge part of it. Speaking of learning, did you like school? Were you a good student?
(Laughter) Ehh, I was an ok student, but I didn't like school very much.
So what is the goal? Do you have your eyes on being a chef?
(Laughter) No, no. Right now, I think I am happy to just be working towards being a cook.
Thanks for talking with me today man. Before you jump back into work- what is your favorite food right now?
Spanish food. And always- Pupusa.