Craig Jimenez Loves San Diego

You made my childhood exotic and unforgettable.
02/13/2013 07:15 am ET Updated Apr 15, 2013

Coming of age on the Southern California coastline, San Diego native Craig Jimenez was introduced to the bounty of the sea, the value of fresh produce and an appreciation for food and its history, and will be exploring all of this in a new collaboration with childhood friend and restaurateur, Michael Alves' Roseville Cozinha. Inspired by Point Loma's rich fishing history, Roseville unites the flavors of Portuguese and Italian cuisine and offers Jimenez the opportunity to rediscover San Diego's roots through the city's local farmers and longtime fishermen. Armed with a Culinary Arts Degree from the Art Institute of California, San Diego, and instruction under culinary masters Chef John Miller and Chef Tina Luu, Jimenez was formerly the Executive Chef at Craft & Commerce.

Dear San Diego,

Where do I begin professing my love....

You first caught my attention back in the 1980's when I was exploring your beaches, mountains and canyons. The smell of sun-baked earth, eucalyptus and the ocean breeze swirled in the air. That became the sense of home I've come back for over the years.

As a curious young kid, you provided so many warm summers filling my belly with your local bounty of Loquats, Avocados, Macadamia Nuts, buckets of Mackerel and Halibut alongside long sunsets and warm nights. The tireless bike rides through Paradise Hills and every neighborhood north, catching frogs and crayfish, exploring canyons and eating sap from flowers, countless BBQ's, drinking on the beach and joyriding through the streets.

You made my childhood exotic and unforgettable.

You knew from the beginning how to treat me, nurture me with small neighborhoods to explore and every adventure we shared had me developing my senses, shaping me to become the man I am today. I gotta say, you have spoiled me with your beauty and charm.

I come to you now to return the same level of care and sensitivity you have showed me. I am you, San Diego. I will always be part of you and want to share our love with others. It's our time to show everyone that we have grown up and are ready for the future of "us".

I want for us to keep growing our community -- our culture, our culinary prowess -- making it better for all of us and becoming the city we are meant to be, America's Finest.

I also want to say "thank you for staying humble and classy." Thank you for keeping our neighborhoods small and true to our roots.

When you rain, I admit, I do get cold feet about us. Nothing more than a few days of the year, so keep spoiling me with your warmth.

Here's looking forward to a shared meal,
Craig Jimenez