Oscar Limon, also known as Catering & Private Chef Oscar, is originally from Guadalajara, Jalisco, which is the second largest city in Mexico. In the summer of 2003, he moved to Sayulita, and by early 2004, he was offering his full chef services throughout the area.
How did your passion for cooking develop?
I started cooking at my family's home in Guadalajara after watching my mother and grandmother in the kitchen. We have a large family and our house was always the place where our aunts, uncles, and cousins would come to eat. No matter what time of day, there was always food cooking. My mom let me start helping out by preparing the ingredients for them, and over time I learned all of the basics of traditional Mexican cooking. Not only was it a chance to learn, but it also gave me time to be with my mom and grandmother and keep me from getting into too much trouble around town.
How did you get your start as a chef?
I received my college degree in public accounting and relocated to Denver, Colorado in the USA to further my career. I took on a part time job working for a Marriot hotel as a kitchen assistant while I was working on my accounting business. Over time, I found myself being drawn more to cooking than sitting behind a desk, and before I knew it, I was the head chef at the hotel. I was creating my own dishes and running a large kitchen, so one day I woke up and decided to close the accounting books and focus all of my efforts on being a chef.
What made you want to cook professionally in Sayulita?
I relocated back to Mexico in early 2003 and moved to Sayulita that summer to enjoy the beach. Once I was settled, I started cooking socially for friends and then for some of the locals. Over time, people started calling me to cook privately for them and the business just grew from there.
How would you describe your culinary style?
I focus on traditional Mexican dishes based on family recipes with a modern twist of spices and fresh ingredients.
For what type of groups and events do you cater / private chef?
Catering & Private Chef Oscar has provided chef service from a private dinner for two all the way up to weddings and parties for over three hundred.
What are your favorite, fresh from Sayulita ingredients to use?
Seafood is an obvious choice with the ocean here in Sayulita, and we have a local fresh market, which we go to every week for our other meats and organic ingredients. I also have a home garden, and grow fresh rosemary, mint, basil, chiles, and thyme for our dishes.
Do you have a signature dish? If so, what is it and how would you describe it?
We make a shrimp stuffed pineapple, which is a carved out half pineapple with grilled jumbo shrimp, onions, green peppers, and spices in a pineapple sauce topped with a layer of cheese and torched to seal in the flavors. The dish has become so popular for us that we have customers who visit every year and make sure it is still on the menu.
You also offer bar service (cocktails). Will you tell us more about this?
Catering & Private Chef Oscar can offer basic bartending service for people who already have beverages at their residence or we can move up to full professional bartending service with a full bar, including traditional favorites, like margaritas and sangria.
Will you share your most entertaining “kitchen disaster” story?
I once was cooking a very involved meal for a larger group in a restaurant and had my hat catch fire as I was putting a dish into the stove and leaned in a bit too close to the stove burners. Fortunately, I only lost my hat.
If you had to choose a last meal, what would it be?
My mom's food. Everything she makes has the most amazing flavor, and no matter how much I cook for others, I always know I can go home to learn more from my mom.