Each month, we ask one of San Diego's chefs:

What do you do and how do you eat when you're out of the kitchen?


Leyla Javadov

Chef/Owner,  Café 21,  http://www.cafe-21.com
Live: Pacific Beach
Work: Gaslamp + University Heights
How Long: 15 years

What kinds of meals do you eat at home?
Our family is from Azerbaijan and there is an old Russian Proverb that says, “Eat your breakfast alone, eat your lunch with your friend, give your dinner to your enemy.”  Meaning that breakfast should never be skipped and that it should be the main course throughout the day. For breakfast, our family likes eggs with tomato and eggs with greens, both of which are served at Café 21 and accompanied with assorted cheese, house-made sourdough bread, fresh greens, cucumbers, tomatoes and honey.

When you’re out of the kitchen, where do you like to dine out? Any favorites?
We like to go to places where the food is locally sourced, free of antibiotics and hormones. Some favorite restaurants include True Food Kitchen, Prep Kitchen and Tender Greens. This is something of importance to us, and  it is a huge reason why we pride ourselves in only serving this type of food ourselves at Cafe 21. 

Where do you go for a drink?
Work and home keeps us extremely busy so getting out for a drink or date night can be tough. When we do get the opportunity, we mostly enjoy entertaining at home and mixing up a cocktail for us, and friends and family. 

How do you like to spend your days off?
After a long week at work, I love spending my days off with my family. Reconnecting with them allows me to relax and reminds me why we work so hard. 

What made you decide to become a chef? 
Being passionate about where our food was being sourced and making sure that it was healthy gave me the desire to pursue a career in the culinary industry. Making sure that my family and guests had the opportunity to eat healthy, tasty and nutritious food. 

What is your favorite thing about the San Diego culinary scene?
The growth and different types of cuisines available in San Diego now. Lately there have been many new restaurant openings, which is great for San Diego as now we have a great variety to choose from. 

What kind of change do you hope to see?
I would encourage chefs and cooks to take the time to learn where their food is being sourced. If we purchase ingredients that are organic and properly raised, then our meals prepared will be healthier and better for those consuming it.