José Dahan, Chef

beautiful appetizers for your party

Originally from Toulouse in the south of France, San Luis Obispo-based Chef José has been cooking his whole life. Part of a culinarily-gifted family, he became personally involved with cooking in a moment of accidental destiny at the age of six. His father, the chef of the restaurant upstairs, stood on the lowest step into the basement as the last egg flew through the air to splat against the wall. Young José and his brother were caught in the midst of an egg fight in the basement of their father’s restaurant when they heard him say, “Let’s see if you can do something else with those eggs,” as he shooed the boys into the kitchen. Chef José remembers vividly how that night he made an omelet so well that his father sold it to a customer.

José preps the squash

When the Dahan family comes together, “everyone cooks all the time the most amazing food,” says José. Many of his family members run restaurants and produce food professionally. Perhaps Chef José enjoys working with food because to do so is not only a creative enterprise but a giving act, a delicious undertaking, and often a serious challenge.

Like the time it was his turn to bring treats for all the students in the school. “I will make crêpes!” declared young José, remembering his success with the omelet. “How many do I need to bring?” After school that day, he announced to his mother, “I have to make 200 crêpes for school tomorrow.” “What?!” she exclaimed. No fear, no doubts. With his mother’s help, they made crêpes all evening. “If she had said 2000,” he twinkles, “I would have made them all.”

A few choice appetizers from Chef José:


This article first appeared on

photos: Jeff Van Kleeck

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