Anthony Hsia, executive chef at the Fairmont San Jose, stumbled into his culinary gift more than 20 years ago. On a whim, he offered to lend a hand at friend’s restaurant. He hasn’t looked back since. Hsia spoke with about his passion for cooking and bringing people together through food.

How long have you lived and worked in San Jose?

 I’ve lived in San Jose for about five years.

At what point did you decide to stay in Silicon Valley and pursue your career?

When I first visited San Jose in 2008, I fell in love with the area. I also saw the huge potential for growth in food and beverage.

What inspired you to become a chef?

My career as a chef began a bit by accident. One day I went to dinner at a friend’s restaurant in Germany and one of his chefs walked out of the kitchen. My friend told me what happened, and I offered to help as best I could. I left my plate of food on the table and dove into the kitchen, having never set foot in a professional kitchen before, and I found my home. I’ve spent more than 20 years since living out my passion.

What do you like most about San Jose/Silicon Valley?

I like the diversity in culture and the bounty of California.

What do you enjoy about working at a major downtown San Jose hotel?

I get to see a number of people come through the restaurant. There is an incredible variety of guests ranging from local San Jose citizens to well-traveled international guests that have a wide range of tastes.
What San Jose/Silicon Valley event do you most look forward to every year?
I love participating in the annual March of Dimes Signature Chef’s Auction held at Fairmont San Jose.

How do you like to hang out when you’re not working?

I particularly enjoy gardening with my wife and car racing is a passion of mine.

Who is the most interesting person you know in San Jose/Silicon Valley?

Sam Ramirez, owner of Bar Continental, is a San Jose native who has seen and experienced all the changes of San Jose and is a leader in the community.

What are some of your favorite dishes to make?

 I love making comfort food such as soup noodles or a simple chuck roast with peas and carrots.
 What are some of the dishes that diners most enjoy?

Guests have been raving about one of our appetizers, a crispy warm mozzarella fritter with heirloom tomato and basil pesto.