Immigrant rises from dishwasher to head chef at high-end Irvine restaurant – Orange County Register

To brave haute cuisine means entering a domain typically reserved for chefs schooled in the great cities of the world.

But Javier Montoya is an outlier.

He never trained in Paris, Rome or New York. Instead, Montoya learned the art of great cuisine in Orange County.

Moreover, he’s a Norman Rockwell-style success story. This self-made chef started his kitchen career not as a student at an elite school but as a dishwasher.

Since crossing the border between Mexico and the U.S. when he was just 16 years old, the Corona resident managed to rise through the ranks of Orange County’s best restaurants.

Just a few weeks ago, Montoya, 53, was lured back as head chef at Irvine’s Bistango, a restaurant…

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