Calavera, which opened just over six months ago in Uptown Oakland, has had a shakeup in the kitchen. As of yesterday, local chef Sophina Uong has taken over the kitchen of the restaurant, that specializes in the food of Oaxaca, Mexico.
The chef, who was most recently at Berkeley's Revival Bar and Kitchen, has worked in the Bay Area for 25 years at restaurants like Waterbar and Picán. She's also competed in competitions like the Lamb Jam and Cochon 555, which will translate well to the whole-roasted animal situation that Calavera has going on (partner Chris Pastena had a stove custom built for that purpose), though this is the chef's first time cooking Mexican food professionally. She's also involved with San Francisco's Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture (CUESA)
Opening chef Christian Irabien has moved on from the kitchen, reportedly to Cala. He made the leap from the East Coast specifically to open Calavera with former fellow alums of Jose Andres' Oyamel Cocina Mexicana, Calavera partners Michael Iglesias and Jessica Sackler. Before making the move, he was the executive sous chef at Washington, DC's Le Diplomate.