Claudette Wilkins


Executive Chef, El Jardín

Past: Bracero, Jsix, Sea 180, Rancho Bernardo Inn, Jack’s La Jolla

What is the first recipe you ever baked?
Chocolate chip cookies. I swapped the measurement for sugar with baking soda. It was a giant blob that tasted awful.

What’s your go-to dessert?
Arroz con leche, but my mom has to make it. In restaurants, anything with lemon.

What are some of your favorite flavor combinations for desserts/baked goods?
Lemon/strawberry, roasted pepper/berries, chocolate/orange


What inspired you to become a chef?
My kids. My dream was to become a chef and once I had them I couldn’t tell them to pursue their dreams if I didn’t do the same.

What advice would you offer to anyone looking to start a culinary career?
Don’t go to school, find mentors that will give you real world experience. I have been fortunate to navigate from sweets, through butchery and savory thanks largely to badass mentors.