Our Team

 
Photo: I Heart Costa Mesa

Photo: I Heart Costa Mesa

Justin Miller, Executive Chef

What is your favorite ingredient to work with? Why? 
My favorite ingredient to work with is dough. It is the most challenging thing to deal with. It’s all about watching it, feeling it, and working with it everyday to really understand it. There are many uncontrollable elements that effect the outcome of the pizza dough.

What makes it exciting to come to work at Pizzeria Ortica? 
Working with my hands. We do not take short cuts. Making just about everything from scratch is very rewarding.

What’s the most inspiring part of your job? 
The people that I work with are very inspiring ( talk about characters). They are very passionate about what they do and each one of them puts a smile on my face daily.

What is one of your earliest food memories? 
I don’t really have anything specific, but I do remember my mother putting together dinner on a nightly basis. One night my mother made me eat two bites of coleslaw. I cried for two hours because I refused to eat the mayonnaise filled stuff. Lets just say that from then on I do not touch mayonnaise.

What’s the most important thing you would tell someone who wants to work at Pizzeria Ortica?
I look for people who have passion and drive in their eyes. I love people who come into the kitchen and never ask me what to do next. If you challenge yourself on a daily basis, then I would say that you will be very successful at P.O.

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Jason Scarborough, General Manager

What makes it exciting to come to work at Pizzeria Ortica? 
Working at Ortica is a unique challenge. We feature a fast-paced business lunch, and for the majority of the year an equally busy theater rush at brunch and dinner. That we can maintain our standards with the sword of Damocles hanging over our heads is a real testament to the people in the restaurant. It certainly makes for an exciting workplace and some amazing stories.

What’s the most inspiring part of your job? 
Over the years we have developed some incredible relationships with our guests. We have couples that come in on the same day and at the same time every week. One gentleman makes reservations weeks out so he can come in four or five nights in a row whenever he is in town. The record I believe is four successive meals. Dinner, lunch and dinner, and then lunch on the third day. That sort of loyalty to the restaurant is really inspiring. It makes me thankful for what I do and appreciative of the talent around me.

What is one of your earliest food memories? 
They say in the wine industry that you always remember the bottle that changed how you view wine forever. For me, it was a 1982 Vega Sicilia Unico. I think the same is true of food. My earliest memories are of my grandmothers cooking for 15-20 people during the holidays. Somehow all the best meals I have had are able to capture that same sense of wonder you have as a child.

What’s the most important thing you would tell someone who wants to work at Pizzeria Ortica?
Ortica is an amazing place. In spite of all the challenges of the restaurant industry, we find ourselves laughing often. That is true even of myself. We are a little better each day for the opportunity to be there. The people who thrive at Ortica are the ones who work hard to improve themselves and still embody the sense of hospitality that should be at the center of what we all do in this industry.

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Joel Caruso, Bar Manager

Stop by and taste his new cocktails!