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Saturday, Jul 13, 2024

Executive Profile , Joey Nerenberg

“Cooking is art , with structure.”

This is Joey Nerenberg’s approach to teaching at Infusion Culinary in San Diego.

With a background in corporate development and finance, Nerenberg did not go to culinary school until 2001, when he was 41 years old.

He founded Infusion Culinary with the understanding that not all serious cooks desire to go pro.

“If you’re interested in cooking, you’ve always had two choices , quit your job and pay thousands for culinary school, or attend a workshop where you watch someone else demonstrate the techniques,” Nerenberg said.

The former dishwasher at the Chart House restaurant in Cardiff says creativity alone won’t cut it if you don’t know how to saut & #233;. Technique is the foundation of Infusion Culinary, where in four five-hour sessions a student can learn the skills required for any dish.

Nerenberg’s days of working as a chef in a restaurant are behind him.

He says the planning side of things is more his speed than the exhausting demands of day-to-day execution , the challenges are different.

Infusion also educates clients in the philosophy of healthy eating.

“If you go from cheeseburgers to tofu, you’ll be back to burgers pretty quickly,” Nerenberg said.

The most popular class he offers is four five-hour sessions, including recipes, for $1,495.


Name: Joey Nerenberg.

Company: Infusion Culinary Inc.

Titles: Executive chef, president.

Education: B.A., UC San Diego; M.B.A., University of Minnesota; Culinary Institute of the Pacific, Honolulu.

Birthplace: Riverside.

Age: 48.

Current residence: South Mission Hills.

Family: Wife, Amy; daughter, Izzy, 9; son, Aaron, 3.


Essential business philosophy: Focus on long-term benefits and value for clients and staff.

Best way to keep a competitive edge: Ongoing enhancements to respond to client needs that increase value and deepen the relationship.

Guiding principles: Be clear and honest with clients, staff and vendors. Make the offerings to the clients enjoyable as well as valuable.

Yardsticks of success: Clients, staff and vendors see the value we offer and love working with us so much they refer others.

Goals yet to be achieved: Broaden understanding of the value of our offerings. We provide the cooking enthusiast with skills to make great cooking second nature, and fun and family focused. Also, we can help corporate clients integrate effective leadership and management techniques into their daily practice.


Best business decision: While working with multiple regions of a national sales group, I was able to create and deliver customized training and development solutions, leading to increases in sales rep and client retention, as well as increased market penetration.

Worst business decision: Selling a beach house in San Diego County in 2001!

Toughest business decision: Growing our businesses through expanded offerings in response to client needs, or focusing on refining our current offerings. In addition, determining the best means of educating our prospects and clients on the short- and long-term value of our services.

Biggest missed opportunity: Not buying Microsoft stock in the beginning , did not think PCs would take off!

Mentor: The late Roger Revelle of UC San Diego taught me the importance of seeing things holistically, and understanding effects from less than obvious sources.

Word that describes you: Teacher.


What you like best about your job: Watching the light go on when a client learns something new. The serious cook discovers the love of fine cooking, or the manager integrates an effective leadership technique into their day-to-day management practices.

What you like least about your job: Bookkeeping, paperwork, well, you know!

Pet peeves: Absolutism , the “all or nothing” approach.

Most important lesson learned: Everyone has something of value to offer , they just need to seek it out sometimes.

Person most interested in meeting: Chef Alice Waters.

Three greatest passions: My family. Everything culinary. Hawaii.

First choice for a new career: Architect , I have a love for creativity combined with structure.


Most influential book: “Culinary Artistry,” by Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page. A book is as much about executing the creative process as it is about cooking.

Favorite status symbol: Vintage aloha shirts , rayon of course!


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