Though we are a new food truck, the foundation was laid for Pico House many years ago in the backyard at Chris’ house. This is where Phil, Chris and Qudoe began cooking together. Terrible at the start, these barbecues began to improve and a love for cooking was discovered. College then sent us on separate paths but the desire to live and work together never subsided. In New York, Chris met Gemma and Mavis J and convinced them to come back with him. The next year, they moved from New York and we all came to live in what we now call Pico House. As housemates, we often found ourselves seeking food that we couldn’t find. From this void, our grain bowls were born.
photo above by Genaro Molina for LA Times
Ditching a lucrative career in finance, Chris damned himself to a life as a cook, realizing it might be the only thing he enjoys. Lucky for us, he’s good at it, too. Chris began cooking for his friends during his teenage years, and it was easy to see he had a knack for it. Without any previous professional experience, Chris scored a job at Blue Hill where he would learn to cook like a man. When he isn’t cooking, you can find him doing man things like chopping wood or internalizing his emotions.
Spirit Animal: Polar Bear
Inches away from graduating college, Phil pondered the usefulness of his education. As all parents dream, he ultimately decided he would never use his degree and dropped out. He wanted to cook and that is exactly what he did. Phil took a job at Ray’s and Stark Bar, where he learned the fundamentals of cooking. Later, he took a job at Bestia where he would build on that foundation for over two years. If he weren’t cooking, Phil would be breaking competitive eating records worldwide.
Spirit Animal: Hippo
Cake enthusiast and lover of cats. As a New Jersey native raised in an Italian and Japanese household, Gemma knew from a young age that food was her passion. At sixteen, she relocated to Italy for her culinary education where she prepared herself for a successful career in the New York City restaurant scene. During her time at Sullivan Street Bakery, Locanda Verde and later as a sous chef at Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Gemma learned to transform sugar into the best pastries we’ve ever eaten. She is the sweetest member of Pico House, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Spirit Animal: Beyonce
Creative genius and avid Taylor Swift fan. His first painting could rival the likes of a Van Gogh or Pollack. By nine, he could have outplayed John Bonham. Much to our delight, Qudoe chose the computer as his favorite medium. Having graduated from the Art Center College of Design, Qudoe brings a much needed artistic presence to Pico House. He has enjoyed fruitful stints at companies such as The Hundreds and Nike learning what looks good and what doesn’t. He couldn’t boil an egg and can’t change a flat tire, but damn our truck looks good.
Spirit Animal: Hawk
Born into a large southern family, Mavis J. began mastering southern cooking before she could even see over the counter. Legend has it, she perfected cornbread before her abc’s. Looking to cultivate this natural talent, Mavis J. attended the Culinary Institute of America after receiving a BS in hotel and restaurant management from Georgia Southern. Later, she would impress with her ability and natural leadership at Blue Hill Stone Barnes and the Untitled in New York. Exhausted with fine dining, she joined Pico House to create incredible food accessible to everyone.
Spirit Animal: Me