Executive Chef Efren Cardenas discovered his passion for food while working at his father’s restaurant Mama Lupe’s Cocina in San Leandro, CA. Determined to explore the culinary world, he enrolled at the California Culinary Academy in San Franciso. After graduation, Efren moved to Las Vegas and spent time honing his craft at Nobu, the Hard Rock Hotel, and Bouchon. After his time in Vegas, he returned to the California Culinary Academy as an Associate Chef Instructor and then went on to work at Wente Winery and Michael Mina.
In May of 2010, Chef Cardenas became a member of the opening team for Red O in Los Angeles where Chef Rick Bayless promoted him to Executive Chef. After four years in Los Angeles he has returned home to the Bay Area as the Executive Head Chef for The Grill on the Alley in San Jose.
About The Grill on the Alley
On January 31, 1984, The Grill on the Alley, located steps from Rodeo Drive in the heart of Beverly Hills, opened its doors and became an instant hit. Its continued success has earned The Grill an international reputation for quality and consistency. The three founders developed a concept that still draws fans worldwide. The Grill today continues its legendary traditions in major United States cities by offering an extensive selection of superior quality classic American food served by dedicated professionals in a sophisticated, yet warm and unpretentious atmosphere.
The Grill (as it is sometimes known) was modeled after the great grills of New York and San Francisco; the founders seeking to maintain the tradition of those fine, old establishments by offering first-rate fare, attentive service, and a familiar, dignified atmosphere. The response was tremendous, as The Grill evolved into one of the Los Angeles area’s best known, “must-do” places.
The Grill’s second location was opened in May, 1998, at The Fairmont Hotel in San Jose, California, in the heart of the Silicon Valley. The Grill has also opened locations in Chicago, Hollywood and Dallas.