An Interview with Chef Oz of Cueva Bar

October 12th, 2015

Chef Oz of Cueva BarChef Oz Blackaller has put Meatless Monday on the menu at Cueva Bar for a simple reason: members of the community were asking for it, and he loved designing dishes for it. “A woman from the San Diego Ladies Vegan Cooking Club loved [the vegetarian dishes], so she asked if I would collaborate with the group.” Cueva Bar’s first Meatless Monday event this spring was a huge success, with all bookings for the restaurant sold out within 2 days of posting about the upcoming event. “Everyone who made a reservation came – we even had to turn away a few people during the night.”

Since then Chef Oz has been hosting a special evening of Meatless Monday dishes once a month that continues to sell out and leave customers begging for more delicious meatless meals. Last month for Meatless Monday feature a number of produce-focused dishes, half from the regular menu, and half invented for the special event.

Cooking Chef Oz began cooking early on for a simple reason: he was hungry! “I got tired of cereal or bananas. ‘Mom I’m tired of having cereal and fruit till you wake up!’ She taught me how to poach eggs, cooking in water so I wouldn’t burn myself with oil.” Making eggs soon branched out into a variety of foods for breakfast – French toast, pancakes, and so on. In high school he began cooking for friends and fellow boy scouts, making simple dishes and experimenting with food preparation.

Chef Oz might be best known for his appearance on Cutthroat Kitchen. “The whole process was awesome, it was my first time on national TV,” Chef Oz told Meatless Monday, “I was mesmerized by the production.” While on the show, he shocked the other contestants and judges by betting all of his allocated $10,000 at once. “Everyone’s jaw dropped and they asked ‘Are you sure you want to bet $10,000?’ Everything after that was a series of unexpected events. I ended up cooking on a baby chair made for an adult sitting 7 feet above the ground. Very interesting!” All in all, though, the experience was more of an exciting adventure than anything else. “Yes, we’re competing, and it’s awesome to win, but we’re there to have people enjoy the show and have a good time.”

Cueva Bar is a local hotspot, and now that conscious eaters are coming in and ordering plate after plate of delicious meatless fare, Meatless Monday is sure to be a part of their menu for many Mondays to come. If you’re in the San Diego area, be sure to make a reservation and say hello to Chef Oz when you visit!