Cooking Up A Successful Brand Chef James Montejano, TBJApodcast 50
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Chef James Montejano on The Brand Journalism Advantage PodcastChef James Montejano shares recipes for creating amazing dishes and a successful brand. How video and social media are building his culinary career.

San Diego native, Chef James Montejano has had his heart set on working at La Valencia since he first visited it. After graduating from the California Culinary Academy, Chef James worked at Aqua and was soon promoted to sous chef within just two years. He then worked with Jeffrey Strauss at Pampelmousse in Solana Beach, CA. His first Executive Chef position was in La Jolla at Japengo, where he spent three years and became known for his delicate and colorful Asian fusion cuisine. After winning two consecutive annual awards for Best Sushi from the California Restaurant Association, Chef James decided to widen his horizons. Over the next four years his experience included: heading a casino steakhouse in Valley View, launching Jade Restaurant in downtown San Diego, and introducing a sustainable, organic, farm-to-table menu at La Papagayo in Leucadia. He then grabbed an opportunity he couldn’t resist– working with Michael Mina as part of the reopening team of his Michelin Star Restaurant in San Francisco.

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Think Like A Journalist Quote

Cooking is like painting or writing a song. Just as there are only so many notes or colors, there are only so many flavors–it’s how you combine them that sets you apart. ~Wolfgang Puck…

Success Quote

“The art of successful cooking relies on the know-how. It comes from the heart. It makes great demands on the palate and it needs enthusiasm and deep love for food to bring it to life.”

“Treasure the farmer. Nurture the soil. Plant wherever you are. Learn from nature. Cultivate your palate. Make your own. Eat whole foods. Share the harvest. And, teach the children the art of simple food.” ~Alice Waters.

Career Highlight

Opening a Michelin star restaurant in San Francisco with Michael Mina.

When It Didn’t Work

James had to leave a restaurant after being with it for several years. It was a tough decision but he knew he had to move on…find out why.

Brand Journalism & Marketing Advice
Multimedia Resource

Videographer / iPhone

Book, Documentary, Podcast, Internet Channel

YouTube chef videos

Resource Links

How To Peel A Pomegranate

How To Peel A Banana

Not in the podcast but another great video. How To Shuck Corn.

Culinary Films


The Hundred Foot Journey

The Plant-Based Diet


La Valencia Hotel

Cafe La Rue Restaurant (at La Valencia)

Instagram @JamesMontejano

Facebook James Montejano

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TBJA Chef James Montejano on The Brand Journalism Advantage Podcast
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Phoebe Chongchua
Phoebe Chongchua

Phoebe Chongchua is a multimedia Brand Journalist, Brand Consultant & Marketing Strategist who is revolutionizing brand communication with consumers. She makes companies remarkable using brand journalism storytelling to grow their online presence, build a community, and gain greater market share. Phoebe is a former TV News journalist who helps brands gain a competitive advantage by learning to "Be the Media". Phoebe is the host of "The Brand Journalism Advantage" podcast and a "Top 50 Podcaster To Follow". Listen in iTunes or at

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