Gerardo Gonzalez

The chef and co-owner of New York City's Lalito on revolution through food, chasing trends, and the politics of cooking with cannabis.


I’m from San Diego, California, originally, but I got the hell out when I was 17. San Diego's very beautiful, and my entire family still lives there, but it just felt very much like a monoculture to me, especially as a teenager.

I've lived in New York for six years now, but first I moved to Paris. I just used some school as an excuse to get out of San Diego. Then I lived in Berlin, in Prague. I developed negatives for a photography program based out of New Orleans. And then I moved to the Bay Area for a long time.

I lived in San Francisco for about eight years, just being a bum for all my 20s. But I got burnt out on the city. It was very rapidly changing. Flash mobs were kind of big at that time, and I remember thinking, "This is the nerdiest thing." Because it was tech-company flash mobs. It was Google flash mobs, doing the Thriller dance at the 16th Street BART Station, surrounded by homeless people, and I was just like, “This is the most fucked up shit I’ve ever seen.”

But then a friend from San Francisco was driving cross-country with an old high school friend of theirs who happened to be a chef on Nantucket. I met this guy for 20 minutes, and two months later he called me and asked if I wanted a job in Nantucket, so I said yeah. I remember hanging up and going online to see where Nantucket was. And I thought, while I'm out there, I might as well move to New York.


I tend to think about the whole trajectory of my time in New York as really just “before El Rey” and “after El Rey.”



Putting CBD in lattes seems counterproductive to me, because it's like uppers and downers.