Val M. Cantu is the chef and owner of, Californios restaurant in San Francisco’s Mission district. At the age of five, his father moved the family to a small town in central Texas and opened a Mexican restaurant and tortilleria. Val graduated with a degree in English and Business from the University of Texas at Austin before returning to cooking. In Austin, he worked at Uchi, before moving to the Bay Area.
Once in San Francisco, he spent a year as sous chef at Sons and Daughters in Nob Hill, and then quickly began working on Californios. Having fallen in love with the bounty of the Bay Area, Californios first appeared as a pop-up while he searched for a physical space. Staying true to the NorCal way, Cantu keeps dishes simple, trying not to use more than 5 items per plate and focusing on the best products available.
Val was named a Rising Star Chef by StarChefs and the San Francisco Chronicle in 2016, and one of America’s Best New Chefs by Food and Wine Magazine in 2017.
“I love working with Pac Gourmet to source the highest quality specialty items. Their team is efficient, easy to work with and provides excellent support. They provide all the essential ingredients that we need and are, often, finding new ingredients that we want to use!” – Val Cantu