Californios SF

Reserve   Cuisine   Gallery About Team

Val M. Cantu is the chef and owner of, Californios restaurant in San Francisco's Mission district. At the age of five, his father moved the family to a small town in central Texas and opened a Mexican restaurant and tortilleria. Val graduated with a degree in English and Business from the University of Texas at Austin before returning to cooking. In Austin, he worked at Uchi, before moving to the Bay Area.

Once in San Francisco he spent a year as sous chef at Sons and Daughters in Nob Hill, and then quickly began working on Californios. Having fallen in love with the bounty of the Bay Area, Californios first appeared as a pop-up while he searched for a physical space. Val was named a Rising Star Chef by StarChefs and the San Francisco Chronicle in 2016, and one of America's Best New Chefs by Food and Wine Magazine in 2017.

Charlotte Randolph, Sommelier and Owner, began her hospitality career at the age of 16, in the small town where she grew up. She studied Spanish at the University of Colorado at Boulder before moving to Mexico to travel and explore.

Charlotte returned to the states and worked with Val to execute the pop up dinners. During the formative time, she matriculated to the French Laundry for her higher education and to hone her skills.

At Californios, she has curated a wine list that perfectly pairs with the cuisine, but is also a personal expression of her style and interests. Charlotte was named by Zagat as a 'Star Redefining the Industry.'


Carolyn Cantu, Maitre D' and Owner, brings a wide range of skills to Californios. She studied Art and Art History at St. Edward's University, in Austin, Texas. She has travelled the world and studied many different visual disciplines, including floral and interior design.

Before Californios, Carolyn spent time at Ken Fulk Designs in San Francisco, where she established a foundation for classic and modern design. She designed Californios, from the ground up, as an extension of Val and her style. With dark walls, moody lighting, and splashes of intense color, the restaurant was meant to envelope the guests and take them to a mysterious place that would not have existed otherwise.

Andrew Garcia, Pastry Chef, arrived in San Francisco, from Santa Maria, California, to study art and cooking. He graduated, at the top of his class, from the California Culinary Academy with a degree in the culinary arts. Along the way he worked at Lazy Bear, when it was still an underground restaurant.

Andrew joined the Californios team before the restaurant opened to assist in finalizing the kitchen and finishing construction. He worked his way through the savory stations before being promoted to sous chef. When the opportunity to take over pastry came, he chose to continue learning and was the first person named as the restaurant's Pastry Chef.

David Yoshimura, Chef de Cuisine, brings over a decade of experience and knowledge with him, having cooked at some of the world's best restaurants. He began his training at Mark's, in Houston, Texas, before graduating from the CIA, Hyde Park in New York.

David joined the team after spending time at Asador Etxebarri in Spain, Ryugin in Japan and WD-50 in New York. Outside of cooking, David studies Wing Chun, a Chinese martial art specializing in close range combat.

Wendy Shoemaker, Sommelier, was working at the Disneyland Resort and pursuing degrees in chemistry and biochemistry when, on a trip to Italy, she discovered her passion for wine. She earned her Advanced Sommelier certification at the same time as her master’s in mechanical engineering, with an emphasis on solar energy.

Pivoting her full attention to wine, she joined the Marriott Marquis in San Diego as their wine director. In San Francisco, she has worked for the St. Francis Yacht Club and AQ, prior to joining the Californios team. She is currently studying for the Master Sommelier exam, and is passionate in leading beverage education programs and mentoring others.


Our Team: Nicolas Razatos, Chef de Partida; William Clarke, Chef de Partida; Emily Van Dyke, Chef de Partida

Jabal James, Chef de Partida; Jck Sng Tan, Chef de Partida; Gary Yuen, Chef de Partida, Chris Porter, "Bayless"

Wendy Shoemaker, Sommelier; Casey Kusaka, General Manager; Joon Ho Baak, Assistant General Manager

Hugo Boss, Captain; Caline Sachs, Captain; Ian Cobb, Captain

Carlos Chan, Back Server; Francisco Pacho, Porter;

Helen Howard, Ninny

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