Born and raised in San Diego, Hanis Cavin is known locally for his culinary talents. Early on, Hanis’ home economics teacher told him that he had a talent that should not be wasted. Inspired by his teacher’s advice, Hanis attended the New England Culinary Institute in Montpelier, Vermont. After college, Hanis began to polish his skills at the American Seasons Restaurant in Nantucket. But his love for San Diego — and warm weather — brought him back to the West Coast, where he began working as Executive Chef at Triangles, located in University Towne Centre.
In 1996, Hanis became the Chef de Cuisine at Mixx in the Hillcrest neighborhood of San Diego. His love for Pacific Cuisine began to flourish in 1998, when he went to Pacifica Del Mar restaurant. In 1999, Hanis began working for Kensington Grill and played a major part in the opening its sister restaurant Chive in the Gaslamp Quarter of downtown San Diego. In 2000, Hanis moved on to become the Executive Chef at Dakota Grill, also in the Gaslamp District. Missing his passion to cook Pacific Cuisine, he landed at Pacific Coast Grill. Hanis later rejoined the Urban Kitchen Group’s Kensington Grill in 2007 and subsequently earned the honorable award of Chef of the Year, 2009 from the California Restaurant Association. Recently, Sunset Magazine named Cavin a “chef to watch” in an article on San Diego’s culinary movers and shakers.
About Carnitas’ Snack Shack
In 2011, he formed ChinoisSD a restaurant consulting business, and opened Carnitas’ Snack Shack with partner Sara Stroud. Since it’s opening in December 2011, their new venture has become a popular destination for locals and foodies alike, garnering awards from the California Restaurant Association, San Diego Magazine and San Diego Home/Garden Magazine, to name a few. “The Shack,” as it’s affectionately called, serves slow food-inspired, pork-centric American cuisine, snacks and locally sourced craft beers. It was named after their pet mini pot-bellied pig, Carnitas.
For the Community
Over the years Hanis and Sara (and Carnitas!) have earned the respect of their colleagues through hard work, creativity, and dedication to their community. Each year, they participate in many charity and outreach programs, educational field trips to local farms like Olivewood Gardens, school programs and food events such as Chef Celebration, the Emilio Nares Foundation, San Diego Center for Children, Mama’s Kitchen, San Diego Food Bank and California Restaurant Association Mentoring Program.
Chef Hanis’ Awards & Accolades
2012 San Diego Home/Garden 2012 Chefs Hall of Fame, Inductee
2012 San Diego Home/Garden Silver Fork Awards, Best New Restaurants, Carnitas’ Snack Shack
2012 CRA Gold Medallion Awards, Best New Restaurant, Carnitas’ Snack Shack
2012 San Diego Magazine Best Restaurants 2012, Best Cheap Eats, Carnitas’ Snack Shack
2011 CRA Gold Medallion Awards, Best Neighborhood Restaurant, Kensington Grill
2011 San Diego Magazine Best Restaurant Awards, Best Neighborhood Restaurant, Kensington Grill
2009 CRA Gold Medallion Awards, Chef of the Year