Five years after completing East Valley Institute of Technology’s Culinary Arts program in 2011, Gabriel Garfio, 22, is part owner and executive chef of Mesa’s Sunnyside Breakfast Lounge, a restaurant that offers a healthy breakfast and lunch menu while specializing in a variety of healthy juices, Bloody Marys and Mimosas.
Gabe also serves as a judge on Food Ball, a culinary arts game show filmed in the EVIT Culinary Arts kitchen and airing on a local Phoenix television station.
Q: What did you do after completing the EVIT culinary program and graduating from high school?
A: I went to Johnson & Wales University in Denver, CO. Graduated with associate in science of culinary arts. I also obtained a job at the prestigious Cherry Hills Country Club in Cherry Hills, CO.
Q: What are you doing now?
A: After I graduated, I partnered up with my parents to bring a fresh and new concept of healthy breakfast and lunch in northeast Mesa, Sunnyside Breakfast Lounge at Power & McDowell. Locals and winter visitors alike have taken a great liking to the restaurant. I am part owner as well as Executive Chef.
Q: What are your future goals?
A: My future goals involve expanding this concept, and synchronizing with another passion of mine, which is gardening, evolving my restaurant possibly to a different location, making it “farm to table” with the possibility to offering gardening plots to others who share my passion for freshly and organically grown foods.
Q: Do you still use the skills you learned at EVIT?
A: The skills I learned at EVIT are priceless in the sense that I wouldn’t be the person I am and the cook I am if not for my peers I met at EVIT, as well as the amazing instructors who took the time to expand my knowledge in a passion that I knew very little about. Chef Mike, Chef Diana, Ms. G, and Chef Brooks all had a certain personality in them with a mastery in their profession that only ignited my passion further.
Q: How beneficial was EVIT to getting you to where you are today?
A: EVIT was a huge stepping stone in my path to success, and without the two years I spent there, I might have not gotten into the university that I aimed to get into. Having the skills and knowledge I learned at EVIT made it easy for my transition into another culinary school. Now that I had all the basics under my belt, I was able to prove to my other chef instructors not only that I was capable to do the tasks they asked, but I was asking the more serious questions and striving to another level where most had not yet begun because the university was their first step.