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#064: Sam The Cooking Guy Opens Up About Fatherhood and His New Restaurant – Not Not Tacos

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Sam the Cooking Guy – TV Personality & Chef – Not Not Tacos – San Diego, CA

Podcast recorded above the butcher shop at Valley Farm Market in Spring Valley, California.

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  • Sam “The Cooking Guy” Zien makes his second appearance on the podcast to talk about opening Not Not Tacos at the Little Italy Food Hall.
  • Not Not Tacos serves up genre-bending fare that pushes the envelope of culinary creativity to breakdown preconceived notions of “tacos” and provide fiercely-innovative and unexpected items.
  • Sam’s desire to create tacos that aren’t bound by a traditional expectation gave him freedom to add ingredients like pastrami, meat loaf and Korean short-rib to his tacos.
  • Preparing each dish to order: All the tacos are made on-site with fresh ingredients (including the flour tortillas) to create an exceptional culinary experience.
  • Being “all-in,” Sam discusses getting emotional ten minutes before the opening of the restaurant as the realization of, not only his efforts, but all his collaborators and supporters.
  • The prevalence of suicide in America and how an open dialogue about “things people don’t talk about” can lead people to the support they need.

Links Mentioned in this Episode:

Not Not Tacos






Sam The Cooking Guy








Not Not Tacos Opening Video

Sam’s First Time on the Show

Sam’s Comments on Anthony Bourdain’s Suicide

How Can A Father Not Want To Know His Son? – Shawn P. Walchef – Medium

Grit and Grain Collective

Howard Solomon

Del Mar Racing

Hot Sauces N More

Big Green Egg

US Foods

Weekly Social Shout Out:

not not tacos shoutout

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Shareable Quotes:

  • “40 minutes to go before you close and you running out of something; I’m fine with that. Two in the afternoon and you’re getting caught with your pants down, that’s not a good thing.”  {11:30} – Sam The Cooking Guy
  • “Call me what you will, but I’ll be damned if I go out there and shit isn’t right… Do not put a product out you wouldn’t eat.” {15:39} – Derek Marso
  • “It can look good but if it’s all jacked up underneath, that’s a bummer. Take an extra minute, make it look perfect.” {16:45} – Sam “The Cooking Guy
  • “The heart of what I do is teach. Whether it’s TV, whether you’re laughing or not… You may not realize that I’m teaching, but I’m teaching.” {18:28} – Sam The Cooking Guy
  • “Make it about them [customers]. Think about what they need and you’ll be okay.” {36:25} – Sam The Cooking Guy
  • “Literally we are just the tip of the iceberg. You see someone on the street smiling and assume they’re all good… You can’t see so deeply in someone that you would ever have an idea. {58:11} – Sam The Cooking Guy

Get in Touch:

Email the Show:

Shawn P. Walchef – @shawnpwalchef  on Twitter

Derek Marso – @marsoderek on Twitter

Cory Wagner – @iamcorywagner on Twitter

Bryan Abou Chacra – @kinglordbryan on Twitter

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Behind The Smoke Media

Valley Farm Market – 9040 Campo Road, Spring Valley, CA 91977

Cali Comfort BBQ – 8910 Troy Street, Spring Valley, CA 91977

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About the author, Bryan Abou Chacra

Passionate about all aspects of media production with over 15 years experience.

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