Featured Chef: Celebrity Chef Vernon Cardenas Of 1212 Santa Monica


Before gregarious Chef Vernon Cardenas starts his shift at 1212 Santa Monica, he gets his coffee at the adjacent Starbucks. The homeless residents of the 3rd Street Promenade take notice of his presence and joyfully greet him. Later in the day, Chef Vernon packs surplus food from 1212 into to-go containers and distributes it to the homeless people outside. 1212 Santa Monica has been involved with the community since it’s inception and has contributed to charitable organizations such as Meals On Wheels, American Cancer Association, Elton John
AIDS Foundation, Habitat For Humanity and Concern Foundation to name a few. Chef Vernon routinely interacts with his customers and staff, delivering quips and clever jokes. People are impressed by Chef Vernon – he is the unassuming man that has satisfied the appetites of celebrities. Julia Roberts, Jamie Foxx, Mathew McConaughey, Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston are among the A-listers that he has served up fine dishes for.

When requested, Chef Vernon also cooks up speciality menu items for celebrity canines. Matthew McConaughey’s pooch received a doggy platter when Chef Vernon was the executive chef at Katana. Paparazzi saturated restaurants Katana, BOA and Sushi Roku are listed on his resume. His brothers work together in the restaurant business, building a culinary empire. Together with his brothers Tom and Mike, they established Innovative Dining Group which runs the aforementioned BOA, Sushi Roku, Katana and Robata Bar over several cities (Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Newport Beach and Scottsdale).

The Cardenas family once lived in Japan long ago. Captivated by the tastes and food presentation, the family adopted Japan’s culinary culture. Venon Cardenas’ eagerness for cooking started at the early age of 13 where he worked at a Japanese restaurant in San Diego. His brothers were close, literally, as Tom was the assistant manager and Mike was a sushi apprentice. Later, in 1997, the brothers formed the popular Sushi Roku restaurant.

Well-admired in the entertainment industry, Chef Vernon and his team are frequently flown to places like Sundance, to do what he loves – cooking. He also reminisced about a fond memory of going to a house in Venice years ago to cook for a private bachelorette party. A giggling woman, the bride-to-be, approached him from behind and in whispered “Guess who?”. Turning around he found himself talking to Julia Roberts.

Chef Vernon’s humility and kindness makes him approachable. When he joined the 1212 Santa Monica team 6 months ago, the establishment’s popularity rose steeply. Its weekend DJs draw large crowds of tourists. Its presence at food fairs and charitable events draw large lines. Good food, good customer service and good company make it one of Santa Monica’s greatest food attractions.

To learn more visit http://www.1212santamonica.com.


1212 3rd Street Promenade
Santa Monica, CA 90401