Rocio Fleckenstein

Chef Rocio Fleckenstein

Executive Chef, Kairoa Brewing Company

Past: Ballast Point, Brooklyn Girl, The Joint, True Food
Studied at: Culinary Institute of America

What’s the first recipe you ever baked?
Either pumpkin pie or cherry pie (or both!) around 3 or 4 years old. Growing up I loved Thanksgiving and would always help my mom cook. But to be real, I just wanted to lick the bowls! That’s how good it was.

Chocolate chip cookies by chef Rocio Fleckenstein

What’s your go-to dessert?
Not going to lie…chocolate chip cookies. Must be the right combination of chew, crunch and softness to get my eyes to roll in the back of my head.

What are some of your favorite flavor combinations for desserts/baked goods? 
Chocolate +chili+whipped cream; butterscotch anything; my mom’s carrot cake (it has its own flavor profile).

kiwi burger from Kairoa Brewing Company in San Diego

What inspired you to become a chef?
I grew up sitting around a table with good people surrounded by amazing food and good wine in Spain. The combinations of smells, taste, good conversation and a lot of love put into it all was very overwhelming and addicting. Being in the kitchen at a young age turned out to be somewhat therapeutic; enabling me to work on a craft at my own pace and leisure and being able to provide my own creations to commune over and have a great gathering. It feeds my soul.

What advice would you offer to anyone looking to start a culinary career? 
Learn your craft and learn to love it because it is not easy! Travel and experience food from wherever you can no matter the level of cuisine or distance. A true chef needs to stay humble, grounded and present. Show up!