Cooking is a second career for Gino Garcia, and one that perfectly connects him to the different worlds he inhabits. Originally from rural California, with family ties to Latin America and the Mediterranean, Gino pursued a culinary education after a nearly decade-long career in public health, working with historically underserved communities. The push he needed to pursue cooking professionally happened several years ago when he won a cooking contest hosted by the Guadalajara Tourism Board.

It’s impossible to detach Gino’s philosophy of cooking and eating from his cultural heritage and health background. He approaches cooking like a culinary anthropologist — he’s fascinated by how culinary traditions tell the stories of places and people, especially the ways traditions adapt based on the places we end up.

But more than anything, he just loves showing others how simple it is to put together a colorful, exciting, and delicious plate of food. When he’s not trying to keep up with the produce from his husband’s “backyard farm,” he’s enjoying a vermouth on ice, learning traditional dances from around the world, and knowing too much about K-pop.