Chef Jessie Lugo was born and raised in El Paso and Arlington, Texas in a family filled with restaurant veterans. She began her culinary career the way that many outstanding chefs do…at home. Her first recollection was at age 5 when she made quesadillas for her mom and some friends. The praise and joy that she received from making people happy by serving something she made with her own hands made a tremendous impact on her career path.
Chef Lugo’s first job at age 16, was washing dishes at her family’s restaurant, La Cuesta. Her father imparted some words of wisdom that have served her well. “He told me that I needed to experience the hardships of the kitchen and work my way from the bottom up, and he was right.”
Years later, Lugo met an influential mentor, Chef Dan Landsburg, former Executive Chef of Tillman’s Roadhouse in Dallas, Texas. He imparted many valuable lessons including the importance of keeping the big picture in mind when executing basic tasks. With his support and encouragement, Chef Lugo took a leap of faith and enrolled in culinary school in San Francisco.
Chef Lugo earned an Associates Degree in Culinary Arts & Management from Le Cordon Bleu, California Culinary Academy in San Francisco at age 20 and began to immerse herself in the Northern California food culture. Suzette Gresham, Chef/Owner of Michelin starred Acquerello in San Francisco made a significant impact on Chef Lugo’s burgeoning career. Gresham showed Lugo how to push herself and others, in order to strive for perfection in her craft. Here she also developed a deep appreciation and fondness for fine Italian cuisine
After her tenure as a sous chef at Acquerello, Lugo joined the team of Chef Marc Zimmerman at Alexander’s Steakhouse, San Francisco as a sous chef in 2014. Under Zimmerman, Lugo was pushed in a new direction with her cuisine, to create playful, yet luxurious, food with a refined Japanese influence.
Today Chef Jessie is the Executive Chef of Alexander’s Steakhouse in Pasadena, where she hopes to delight Southern California with her take on the modern steakhouse.