Covo’s Augie Saucedo brings a fun, new flavor to town

BY Emily Booth  |  Photos By Noushin Nourizadeh

Born and raised just outside of Los Angeles, Chef Augie Saucedo has long been woven into the culinary fabric of Southern California. Having developed an interest in food at an early age, he wasted no time getting into culinary school and working his way up the ranks. Chef Augie now leads the way at La Jolla’s exciting new concept, Covo, where he’s mixing things up in one of San Diego’s most iconic neighborhoods.

Why a chef? Growing up poor, food was so important because it brought us all together. I was always peeking into the kitchen because I was interested in what was happening. I’m Mexican, and in my culture, food is romantic and expressive. I just connected to that at
a young age.

How did you get your start? After culinary school, I landed an internship at the Mission Inn Hotel, where I spent six years working under the exceptional chef, Joe. D. Cochran, Jr. He mentored me and taught me about discipline, organization and the importance of cleanliness. I really grew there.

What has been one of your most important roles so far? I worked as the Executive Sous Chef at the San Diego Convention Center, which was a strategic move for me. I knew if I could learn how to cater 10,000-person parties, I could set myself apart from everyone else. Looking back, that position really advanced my career.

How is Covo a different experience? It’s all come full circle now. Covo is a unique fusion of all my previous roles. I’m taking everything I’ve ever learned and applying it to the cafe and lounge menus, as well as the catering side of things. I also get to play in this incredible kitchen with tons of new toys. This place is a chef’s dream.

What would you tell an aspiring chef? You’ve got to put in the work. People think everything’s immediate, but it doesn’t work that way. As an intern, I spent two years only peeling potatoes and cutting vegetables. You have to be committed to making this a career.

Favorite meal to make at home? I always crave what I grew up on. I want tortillas and beans, but made authentically and from scratch. It’s comfort food for me.

Mentors or inspirations? Chef Joe Cochran was my first, and he opened so many doors for me here in San Diego. But I’m also very close to Chef Bernard Guillas, who took my career to the next level. He taught me all about true French cuisine, as well as how to be perceived by the media and how to market yourself. Between these guys and my family, I’ve honestly just been so blessed in this career.