Foodie Chap: Vino Vino, San Jose
Jordan Horiuchi is a 30 year old half Japanese San Jose native with a passion for food and the way it can bring people together.
After graduating from Bellarmine, he went on to study Computer Science at UCSD on a Regents scholarship, but soon had a taste for something different beyond the cubicle. His first job in the culinary world was as a host in a fine dining restaurant with a wine cellar. His experience has introduced him to a variety of cuisines: Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, French, Latin, Italian, etc.
After his first new restaurant opening, Macaroni Grill Eastridge, Jordan was hooked. Vino Vino in San Jose is his 6th new restaurant where have been a part of the opening team.
“Cooking to me is about
bringing people together and making memories.”
- Chef Jordan Horiuchi
For many years he worked as server and restaurant manager at Azucar, Billy Berk’s and White Shallot and was able to get more experience in the back of the house cooking. Finally, he got his big break into the kitchen staff as a prep and line cook at a small French/Vietnamese restaurant called White Shallot.
Most recently, he spent a year working for Compass Group/Bon Appetit in the corporate dining rooms at Cisco Systems. While there, he picked up prep and line cooking skills eventually working his way into the executive kitchen, where, under Chef Richard Ramos, he learned most about the art of plating.
The next opportunity a chance to help run the kitchen full time at Vino Vino and Jordan has not looked back. “Though we only have a panini grill and a machine to sear tuna, we serve 150-200 people on busy nights. We strive to make our menu as creative and diverse as we can and are always looking to make our ingredients more local and fresh. We are even considering adding a weekend brunch (I love crab cake benedict). I can honestly say I love what I do and enjoy coming to work every day, what could be better.”
Vino Vino is located in San Pablo Market on San Pedro Street in San Jose. That’s where I connected with Jordan to talk about his journey in food and to taste his much celebrated “Caprese Prosciutto Panini.” We also discussed Dine Downtwon San Jose where local restaurants offer up special menus for 12 days only.
“Five Tasty Questions with Chef Jordan Horiuchi”
1. Cooking to you is about…?
Bringing people together and making memories I remember the first time I had my moms chocolate chip cookies and who I was with. That’s what food is to me You always remember your favorite dishes and they always bring back memories.
2. It’s midnight and I go to your fridge; what do I discover?
Sadly, probably some leftover pizza, some sriracha and a bottle of water.
3. What is on the soundtrack to your life? Pick one artist or one song.
Probably Johnny Cash “I’ve Been Everywhere.”
4. In a second life, you come back as something other than a Chef, what would you be?
Well always on my list of a few things to do was eventually retire to the Mediterranean area or the Middle East doing some archaeology. Ancient society has always fascinated me.
5. At your last supper you can have a couple of guests at the table, who will they be and what will you eat?
Hopefully it would be a relaxed family style BBQ, pot luck kind of thing, all homemade foods and my mom and closest friends would probably be there.
Caprese Prosciutto Panini
6” ciabatta roll (we use Acme Ciabatta Roll Her flavored with rosemary from Berkeley/SF)
1.2 oz thinly-sliced prosciutto
2 oz fresh mozzarella medium sliced (we use Belfiore Fior di Latte from Berkeley)
1 tspn pesto (optionally mix pesto and aioli/mayonnaise)
2 oz tomato sliced ¼” thick (we use roma)
2 oz fresh basil leaves, chopped
1. Slice ciabatta roll in half horizontally
2. Spread bottom half evenly with pesto aioli, and pesto lightly on top
3. Make a layer of mozzarella, drizzle with olive oil and pepper to taste
4. Layer on top prosciutto, basil, tomatoes, then top half of ciabatta
5. Brush both sides of the Panini with olive oil, and cook on Panini grill until cheese is just melted and the top is crispy (~3 mins)
2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
½ c freshly grated parmesan-reggiano/romano
1/3 c pine nuts
3 medium garlic cloves, minced
Salt & pepper to taste
1. Combine the basil in with the pine nuts, pulse a few times in a food processor.
2. Add the garlic, pulse a few times more.
3. Slowly add the olive oil in a constant stream while the food processor is on. Stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula. Add the grated cheese and pulse again until blended. salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
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