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A combination of hard work, commitment to excellence and passion for one's craft makes up the core foundation of Arterra'sExecutive Chef Brian Pekarcik's straightforward philosophy. “It takes a complete dining experience to make a great restaurant,” says Pekarcik. It is with this belief in mind that he hopes to contribute to maintaining Arterra’s established reputation as an outstanding fine dining destination.
Pekarcik worked his way from the bottom up acquiring hands-on experience and learning all that he could in the culinary arena. The opportunity to work alongside some of the best in the industry, such as Gary Danko, influenced Pekarcik’s approach and style in the kitchen as well as on the business end. Pekarcik was raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and attended college in Cleveland, Ohio. It was during his first job in college at a local restaurant that Pekarcik discovered he had an aspiration to cook, a role that fulfilled him in much the same way as his passion for the game of baseball. After an injury took him out of the game Pekarcik pursued his growing interest in the culinary arts. “I found the intensity, passion and teamwork of working in a kitchen was very similar to baseball,” said Pekarcik. “I loved how the chef orchestrated the line and was thoroughly involved in striving for a common goal¾perfection!”
Graduating with a degree in Psychology and a minor in Business Management from John Carroll University in 1997, Pekarcik gained hands-on experience immediately learning the importance of good management and motivating employees at one of his first restaurant positions. Striving to realize his avid interest in the culinary arts, Pekarcik moved to Sacramento, California working his way up at various fine-dining establishments discovering he loved the restaurant business side as much as cooking. He then moved to San Diego, California to work at Mille Fleurs in 1999. It was here that Pekarcik learned the value of seasonal cooking and the importance of quality and freshness. After two years at Mille Fleurs as Chef de Partie, Perkarcik moved to work at another San Diego, California establishment, Bertrand at Mister A’s in 2000-2001.
In 2001, Pekarcik received the honor of working with legendary chef Danko at his namesake restaurant in San Francisco, California, an experience that left a lasting impression on Pekarcik’s career. “Gary taught me the importance of never lowering your standards and having pride and passion for your work,” says Pekarcik. “The level of professionalism each employee had was amazing and the primary reason for maintaining a five-star, award-winning reputation.” Pekarcik continued to learn during these two years spent working under Danko, becoming even more knowledgeable about how to run a successful kitchen and restaurant.
Pekarcik moved back to Cleveland, Ohio for his true test, the opening of Pizzazz on Miles restaurant where Pekarcik was hired as Executive Chef. With complete managerial and creative control, Pekarcik put into action all that he had learned during his years spent in previous positions.
After establishing what is today a very successful Cleveland area restaurant, San Diego came calling once again. In his position as Executive Chef of Arterra, Pekarcik is proud to carry on in the tradition of Bradley Ogden, sourcing the highest quality purveyors and using the absolute freshest local ingredients allowing the true flavors to shine through with every dish.