Chef in San Francisco, CA
Reina Montenegro was born and raised in Dumaguete City on the Philippine island of Negros and moved to the Bay Area in 1997. Montenegro prides herself as being self-taught in the kitchen, and started her restaurant career as a personal chef and caterer in 2012 when she decided, after ten years at a corporate job, to follow her passion for food and cooking.
In her years of cooking, Montenegro has created dishes for Mayors Jean Quan of Oakland, Tom Bates of Berkeley, and the late Ed Lee of San Francisco. She also catered events for Apple, NASA, UBER, Twitter, Goldman Sachs, BlackRock Investments, and more.
In 2016, her catering business eventually led to opening a restaurant, ‘Nick’s Kitchen’ in Daly City. A year later, she and her partner realized it was not going to survive, so Montenegro changed the concept to be aligned with her plant-based diet and cruelty-free lifestyle; as the first Filipino Vegan restaurant in the Peninsula.
Today, Montenegro owns two popular Filipino vegan restaurants in the Bay Area; ‘Nick’s On Grand’ (opened 2018 in South San Francisco), and ‘Nick’s On Mission’ (opened 2019 in San Francisco). When she is not in the kitchen creating new dishes, she is spending time with her children or learning another passion, dance.