Jose Becerra has always been a fan of innovation, especially when it comes to food. As Director of Food Operations for Abercrombie and Fitch’s corporate office, his main priority is to keep the selections fresh, healthy and unlike any other corporate cafe around.
“I try to stay ahead of the latest trends in foods, snacks and beverages and our main repertoire is based on California Cuisine,” says Becerra. “It’s a mix of ethnic foods that marry well together. If it is happening in Las Vegas, Los Angeles or New York City, you'll see it here, too.”
Born in San Francisco, California, Becerra’s love of eclectic and ethnic foods evolved at an early age, thanks mostly to his family. His mother, a native of Peru, loved steamed rice and Asian foods, while his father favored Spanish, Italian and Mediterranean. Every Friday night his family would try a new restaurant or dish. “So, I always had this affection for all types of foods,” reflects Becerra. “Even to this day, I eat out a lot and love to try new things.”
After a stint as a successful Latin Club owner in California, Becerra attended the California Culinary Academy and then worked with Dan Gordon and Dean Biersch at the original Gordon Biersch in Palo Alto and Jacky Robert at Amelio's, a 5-star French restaurant, prior to joining the Abercrombie and Fitch team.
“We had Vitamin Waters on our shelves five years ago, before they became mainstream,” muses Becerra. “We are about to introduce a line of juices that are hip and cool in LA, as well as toying with an Oxygen Bar and introducing a line of organic foods and vegan products.”
In addition, Becerra has started yet another trend that easily transforms Abercrombie’s café into a culinary cornucopia. “We look to restaurants that have a special appeal that fits our culture, and invite them here to sell lunches and market themselves”, he says. “Some of the restaurants are North Market favorites like Lac Viet and Firdous and Benevolence Café, an all-vegan restaurant, and we are currently talking with Latitude 41.”