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Former Taco Maria Sous Chef at Playa Mesa Mexican Kitchen


The hot new Playa Mesa in Costa Mesa just celebrated its grand opening last week with executive chef Roland Rubalcava overseeing the kitchen. Rubalcava graduated from the Art Institute of Orange County Culinary program in 2005 after spending many years at his family’s taquerias and Mexican markets.

Following his culinary training at the Art Institute, Rubalcava worked his way up the ranks at various leading restaurants throughout the county and most recently as sous chef at the highly acclaimed and Best Mexican Restaurant recipient, Taco Maria.

Rubalcava’s acknowledgments include making OC Weekly’s Top 100 Dishes with his “Sonoran Dog” which he created while working at his family’s Rubalcava’s Taqueria & Market in 2012. Rubalcava was also ranked number 2 on OC Weekly’s “Gustavo’s Top 5 Restaurants of 2012,” and featured on an OC Weekly series called “Make It Mexican” in 2013.

A sibling of large, close-knit family, Rubalcava was raised with the firm belief that there’s no better family time than quality time spent in the kitchen and around the family table. “I equate our family time to memorable meals coupled with love and togetherness,” said Rubalcava, who hopes to share this same family-centric philosophy at Playa Mesa, while incorporating flavor-packed and straightforward Mexican dishes made from the freshest, high-quality ingredients, including seasonal sourcing items from local farms whenever possible.

To say that Rubalcava grew up in a kitchen isn’t far from the truth. Aside from his childhood time spent in the family kitchen, in 1999, Rubalcava began working at his family-owned La Reina Market in Orange and later at Rubalcava’s in Placentia.

To find out more about Chef Roland Rubalcava, check out his Q&A here.

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