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Chef Profiles

Meet the chefs behind San Diego's finest restaurants
Chef Profiles

Executive Chef Duvinh Ta of Jake’s Del Mar

Executive Chef Duvinh Ta

Jake’s Del Mar


What’s your culinary background?

I grew up in San Diego, and my family is still here. After graduating from the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco, I worked with chef Scott Giambastiani at Viognier. Then I joined T S Restaurants and trained under Peter Merriman at Hula Grill Kaanapali. But San Diego was calling, so I joined the Jake’s Del Mar team in 2005.

What can people expect from Jake’s cuisine?

New American with fresh, seasonal products. Our menu showcases clean, eclectic flavors and local, sustainable products with fresh fish, shellfish and premium meats.

What are your favorite dishes?

Roasted garlic-spiced ahi with squash and red pepper couscous, fresh basil, lemon zest and a sun-dried tomato yuzu purée that I can’t get enough of.

What’s new at Jake’s?

If you haven’t been in for a while, the transformation is pretty striking. We’ve brought in reclaimed-wood floors, wrought-iron fixtures and dramatic large-scale photographic prints. The rustic “beach barn chic” ambience is complemented by our jaw-dropping beach location.

What’s not to miss?

Our fried chicken special and premium wine flights on Mondays, or Waikiki Wednesdays for $6 fish tacos and $4 mai tais!

1660 Coast Boulevard, Del Mar, CA 92014



Chef Profiles

Chef Michael McDonald of Roppongi Restaurant & Sushi Bar

Chef Michael McDonald

Roppongi Restaurant & Sushi Bar


What’s the best deal on your menu?

Our best deal is our pan-seared diver scallops served with potato pancakes, Thai basil, sun-dried tomatoes and chive hollandaise. The quality is exceptional, and the flavors are robust in this dish.

What’s your most popular dish?

Our signature crab stack. It’s been on our menu since the restaurant opened, and people come to Roppongi just to order it. It’s fresh, delicious and has a beautiful presentation.

What one thing do you want customers to know about your restaurant?

We recently launched Sunday brunch from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. every Sunday and have added live music during that time, too. The food and ambience of the restaurant make for a perfect Sunday in La Jolla. We also offer an incredible Happy Hour from 3 to 6 p.m. daily.

Why did you get into the restaurant business?

I’ve always had a passion for food and the culinary arts. When my brother and sister moved out of the house, my mom stopped cooking, and that forced me to start experimenting in the kitchen. My first job in the restaurant industry was in high school, and I haven’t looked back since.

875 Prospect Street, La Jolla, CA 92037


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1230 Columbia Street, Suite 800,

San Diego, CA