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170 Wine & Spirit Purveyors • 70 of San Diego's Top Chefs
Celebrity Chefs • Cooking & Wine Tasting Classes
Big Bottle Auction • Continuous Food and Wine Tastings
Over 800 Wines • $50,000 Chef of The Fest Competition

Martin Gonzalez

Executive Chef, Acqua Al 2, TOAST Enoteca & Cucina

san diego wine and food festival chef Martin Gonzalez image

Culinary visionary Martin Gonzalez is a true example of the San Diego entrepreneurial spirit. As the owner and executive chef of both Acqua Al 2 (ah-qwa-all-doo-eh) and TOAST Enoteca & Cucina, Gonzalez’s commitment to great service, food and environment is at the highest level. In 2009, he was honored by San Diego Metropolitan Magazine as one of its 40 Under 40 annual award winners. He is also currently a member of the Board of Directors for the California Restaurant Association, San Diego Chapter and the Gaslamp Quarter Association.

Known for his successful business leadership and passionate attention to excellence, Gonzalez’s background includes extensive training and education into traditional Italian cooking techniques. After learning from Acqua Al 2’s Florentine Executive Chef Stefano Innocenti, he opened Acqua Al 2 in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter in September 2000, the restaurant’s international sister location. After almost ten years, Gonzalez has established Acqua Al 2 as the favorite Italian cuisine destination for locals and visitors alike.

Acqua Al 2 Awards

  • Gaslamp Quarter Association’s Lamplighter Award
    • Favorite Italian Restaurant, 2003 – 2007, 2009
    • Best New Restaurant, 2001
  • 944’s Platinum Award
    • Best Italian Dining, 2007
    • Best Downtown Restaurant, 2006
    • Best Italian Food, 2006

Gonzalez successfully expanded his business with the January 2010 opening of TOAST Enoteca & Cucina, a new modern Italian restaurant and wine bar. This chic, one-of-a-kind Italian experience brings the world’s premier wines to the charming East Village neighborhood of San Diego’s famous downtown. More than two years in the making, TOAST is the newest place in San Diego to celebrate fine wine, authentic Italian cuisine and great company.

A truly unique concept, TOAST features up to 400 exceptional wines for tasting or purchase, many of which are traditionally difficult to come by in San Diego. Guests are able to taste a variety of these exquisite wines in small servings from state-of-the-art wine dispensing Enomatic machines, which are created and manufactured in Italy. The mouth-watering TOAST menu features an array of delicious Italian cuisine that can’t be found anywhere else in town.

When he’s not working at Acqua Al 2 or TOAST Enoteca & Cucina, Gonzalez can be found catering for the San Diego Padres baseball team. The Padres are huge fans of his cooking and he prepares their post-game meals at each home stay.

Gonzalez currently lives in San Diego with his wife and two children. Gonzalez is involved with a numerous local foundations, and always participates in their events. He contributes as much as he can, including catering the events, or auctioning off dinners. Gonzalez has participated in Promises2Kids major fundraisers for the past two years, along with foundations that support people living with autism, among others.

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San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival
World of Wine Event, LLC
7556 Trade St.
San Diego, CA  92121

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