By January 3, 2018 Read More →

ChefView – New Beginnings and New Teamwork

By Chris Murphy
New Beginnings and New Teamwork

John Surla was our very first ChefView interview when I started ModestoView. It is only fitting that we start here again as we head into 2018 as there is a great new beginning. John has been a leader in the Modesto culinary community and he commitment to amazing food as well as supporting community events and donating his time is wonderful and appreciated. As he expanded into Hilmar and plans a new place, John was looking for the perfect executive chef to take the main Surla’s Restaurant to the next level. Chef Vincent Alvarado, one of John’s peers in culinary skill from his history at Dewz, and also part of Dan Costa’s Chef’s Menu entrée program became interested and a new amazing team was formed. There are exciting things happening in this kitchen.

Chef Vincent brings a new look at some of Surla’s traditional dishes. “I am very interested in being able to try new flavors and bring my tastes to an Asian style as well as fill out the menu with some of my favorites that people will love” explains Chef Vincent. As we watched him in the kitchen preparing a beautiful Lamb Shank, you can see that his perfection and introspection in the kitchen is a great match to Chef John’s outgoing personality and style. They are yin and yang personalities and the menu is going to match. Diners will be very pleased with the new menu in January, many of the new dishes debuted at the New Year’s Eve banquet.

They want dining to become an event, a destination experience and really want to make it so people want to go eat out more. It has to really be special and something you want to do again. Chef Vincent is excited to explore more of the fresh fish side of the menu and looks forward to the new teamwork. Chef John explains “we need to make sure that we are developing really good people at our restaurants and build on our knowledge of what Modesto wants and the amazing supply of local ingredients that make this a destination for dining. We want people to go out and eat local.

Both of these Chefs started getting serious about cooking early on, Chef Vincent watching Julia Child and getting serious about becoming a professional when he was 18 and training at the Columbia College culinary school. Chef John started cooking when he was in 1st grade for the family, watched Yan Can Cook and his culinary school skills have taken him to Disney’s California Adventure at the Mondavi Winery Restaurant as well as Skywalker Ranch.

These chefs are not all serious business. Chef John plays bass in his band the Jam Session and keeps the hang loose in this business. As Chef Vincent rallies the kitchen team, I asked them what their guilty late night food pleasure was and Chef Vincent said it was Mr. T’s donuts and Chef John likes a Del Taco Chicken Burrito.

As we taste the amazing treats at Surla’s, I ask our traditional question; Beatles or Stones. Chef John was all Beatles and Chef Vincent was Stones. You can see how this new teamwork is going to complement each part. We expect great things. We agree with the Chefs, we need to eat local, support our local issues and support those restaurants like Surla’s that give back to the community. This is how it works. Great food for a great community.

431 12th St
Modesto, Ca 95354
Tuesday – Friday: 11:00am – 3pm (Lunch)
Tuesday – Friday: 3:00pm – 6pm (Cocktails and Happy Hour)



About the Author:

Chris Murphy is the President and CEO of Sierra Pacific Warehouse Group and Publisher and Founder of ModestoView Inc. Chris worked globally in the cycling industry returning to Modesto in 1996. He is also the founder of the Modesto Historic Graffiti Cruise Route, Legends of the Cruise Walk of Fame, Modesto Rockin’ Holiday, the Modesto Music History Organization and co-founder of the Modesto Area Music Association. Chris is married to his artist wife Rebecca since 1985 and has two daughters Madison and Abigail, both graduating from Modesto High and UC Berkeley. He is lead singer and guitarist for his band, Third Party that donates their performances to non-profits.