Breaking Bread w/Chefs Andrew Marco + Ralph Hsiao of RCTNGL

Andrew Marco + Ralph Hsiao of rctngl

Q. How do you know each other?

R: We met in college at UCI.

M: :we’ve been roommates, co-workers, business partners, and cooking buddies since our college days.

Q. What made you take “the leap” in pursuing your passions full time?

R: To be able to work for ourselves and enjoy what we do. Our passion will never reach its full potential if we don’t put our all into it

M: you can’t fight that feeling of wanting to do something you really love for very long. 

Q. Why the name RCTNGL?

rctngl came about while we were sitting around our table brainstorming ideas for a name. we thought about how we started with hosting pot lucks at our house to stay in touch with our friends. we threw around ideas until we looked down at the table, a simple rctngl.

far more than a flat surface upon which to dine, the table can be the heartbeat of a family. it’s a place to gather, to talk and to reconnect. the dining table has always been a symbol of many things: the place where we nourish ourselves, where we come together, celebrate important milestones, share experiences, and create new understandings. it is a place often associated with the word conviviality; a word that means festivity, joviality, cordiality and friendliness.

regardless of other differences, all cultures across the world (and through time) view the dining table with the same significance. 

Q. What is your most memorable meal (one you made or one you’ve had)?

M: oddly enough, it was a meal in Italy. long story short, before we had any direction of how or what we wanted to cook, we cooked anything and everything.

we traveled to Italy for a friend’s wedding and had amazing food; pastas, charcuterie, wine, everything was amazing. however, if someone were to ask us what the nuances of a dish was or what differentiates this from the other, we wouldn’t be able to truly say anything because it’s not something we had a deep connection to, it’s not what we grew up eating.

it was at that moment that we both realized we need to pull from the things that are authentic to us and who we are, and thus turned into the food we make for rctngl. 

Q. What is the most exotic thing you’ve ever made?

M: i wouldn’t say it’s exotic, but I would say that it’s adventurous, we ferment a lot of ingredients that we showcase in our dishes.

the funkiest ferment that we’ve made but yielded the most amazing flavor was a ferment of a mushroom called Lion’s Mane. Raw, it tastes briny and almost seafood like, when it ferments it picks up the scent and flavor of a nicely aged cheese.

Q. What is your most prized ingredient? 

R: Love…haha…

M: vinegars, that stuff runs through my blood

Q. What is your idea of perfect happiness?

R: Taking care of my family and loved ones. doing all that i can to make sure they are well and healthy.

M: sharing meals with strangers who then become friends.

Q. What is your greatest extravagance?

R: My toy and sneaker collections. 

M: anything related to food, my budget is like 20% rent, 80% things that go into my mouth.

Q. What do you find yourself saying when people ask what it’s like to be a chef?

R: I’m not a chef. just an avid home cook.

M: be prepared to wash a lot of dishes.

Q. What is your current state of mind?

R: rctngl

M: same as Ralph’s state of mind

Q. If you could change one thing about how people enjoy food, what would it be?

R: I wouldn’t. that’s the beauty in all of us. We are all individuals with our own experiences and tastes. That’s the challenge. To create and share food that all people can experience.

M: i would say to be able to try to understand food contextually and out of your own opinions of it. food is an expression of the person cooking it. it may be a reflection of an experience of growing up, or having a meal in a different country, each dish has a semblance of history with it. know that with each bite, you’re stepping into their world and why they want to share it with you.

Q. What chef inspires you?

M: at this moment, I would say Rene Redzepi. he released a book last year in October and it’s changed the way I think and prepare food when it comes to fermentation. he really teaches you not only how to preserve foods, but to take a single ingredient, apply time to it, and make it taste so much more complex. 

Q. What words or phrases to you over use? 

R: I don’t know because I probably over use those same words and phrases haha.

M: “Fair enough.” a go-to phrase that makes sense in all conversations.

Q. What do you most value about food culture?

R: Food is most often times the first barrier of entry into another person’s world. another person’s culture. you literally get a taste of what that culture is. If we are open to eating new and different foods, we can be open with each other. Food can cultivate connection, which can lead to evolving culture. The diverse Los Angeles food scene is a perfect example of that.

M: i agree with Ralph. we’re living in a very special time, people are more adventurous to traveling to different parts of town just to eat food. not only are you possibly indulging in another culture’s cuisine, you’re going to new parts of town that you haven’t seen before. we’re getting out of our bubbles, whether it be by location or by taste.

Q. What do you hope to accomplish in life?

R: Leave our mark in the city we love, Los Angeles.

M: being able to make LA as proud of us as we are of it.

Q. What is your motto?

break bread with us.


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Come on a lark with us!

Join us for a welcome cocktail + mingling leading up to an amazing chef crafted Kamayan dining experience all while enjoying the {rediscovered} art of conversation.

1686 Tustin Avenue
Costa Mesa, California 92627
(cross streets: 17th & Tustin)

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Friday, January 25, 2019, 6:30pm-9:30pm
$95. per person, all-inclusive Kamayan style dinner + house beer 

Purchase Tickets*: Let’s Go On A Lark!
*Non-refundable/absolutely transferableP

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