Current Residency: San Diego, CA
Occupation: Executive Chef, El Jardín (Opening in 2018)
Claudette Zepeda-Wilkins is the Executive Chef of El Jardín, a modern Mexican restaurant opening in San Diego, California in 2018. Inspired by the regional cuisine in Mexico, where her passion for food was first cultivated, El Jardín is an expression of her culinary journey as a chef. Born in the U.S. and raised between Tijuana and San Diego, she credits the confluence of flavors and ingredients she was exposed to while spending time with family in Tijuana and Guadalajara. She also spent time with her aunt Lorenza who owned her own restaurant, and credits this as paving the way for her eventual career. Prior to her role with El Jardín and her partnership with Rise & Shine Restaurant Group, she served as Chef de Cuisine at Javier Plascencia's celebrated Bracero in San Diego's Little Italy. Prior, she worked in pastry, including time spent alongside Chef Gavin Kaysen at his former San Diego restaurant, El Bizcocho. Chef Claudette previously competed on season two of Top Chef Mexico. She currently resides in her hometown of San Diego with her husband, teenage son and daughter.