As a young boy, Angelo Sosa grew up working in the garden and
cooking Sunday feast with his Dominican father for their family
of nine, and learning culinary secrets and passion from his
aunt Carmen. A standout at the Culinary Institute of America,
he went on to train with French masters like Jean-Georges
Vongerichten, Alain Ducasse, and Lutece’s Christian Bertrand.
After two seasons on Top Chef, Sosa had the good fortune to
launch Añejo in Hell’s Kitchen, Manhattan, a modern Mexican
tapas restaurant recommended by the Michelin Guide. Now
San Diego is in luck, as he’s the creative force behind Death by
Tequila in Encinitas.
What has been your greatest culinary experience? Working
with Jean-Georges, who taught me simplicity is elegance and less
is more. These are mantras I live by.
What was it like to be on Top Chef? I loved being put into a
pressure cooker and creating from that place—it was a powerful
experience. Being critiqued by Anthony Bourdain and Eric Ripert
truly elevated my cooking skills. Their feedback was like
Describe the cuisine of Death by Tequila (Dx T): It showcases
the beautiful region of San Diego, highlighting farm-fresh
ingredients through the flavors of Baja.
What is your culinary philosophy? We want to be the conduit
and storyteller of the farmers and fishermen of the California-Baja
region. We’re not just serving food and drink, we’re sharing stories.
There’s an energy behind it: love, passion, thought and care.
Your favorite dish? The ahi crudo. It reinforces our philosophy.
It’s sashimi-grade ahi tuna in a turmeric coconut broth with
jicama, hibiscus, dill and cilantro.
Any specific sources for Dx T? Aschbrenner Acres in Encinitas.
San Diego’s products and ingredients are impeccable. I mean, the
jalapeños grown here versus the East Coast, they’ll bite you like
a rattlesnake. The farm dynamic is so inspiring for any chef from
around the world.
Why should people check out Dx T? Besides carrying rare
tequilas and mezcals, our goal is to transport you from downtown
Encinitas to the Baja coastline with our flavors.
Favorite things to do in San Diego? Of course, I love the farmers’
markets—pick any day of the week and you’ll find one. And hiking
in the Elfin Forest—it reminds me of my hometown in Connecticut.
Where do you dine when not cooking? Muzita. An Abyssinian
restaurant in University Heights. The flavors are bursting with love.
It’s like comfort food to me.
Thoughts on the San Diego food scene? This is the best place
to be right now. A culinary movement is happening in San Diego,
and I’m just blessed to be a part of it. I think it’s a chef’s dream
to live here.
Like a local