Story by Arturo Vargas
As a native of Acapulco, Mexico, I grew up learning to cook from my mother in the cocina. I was formally trained in the culinary arts in Oaxaca and have since worked in some of San Francisco’s finest restaurants while also teaching healthy cooking classes throughout Northern California.
For over 30 years now I’ve been a chef. Fifteen years ago I started my own catering business, Taste for the Senses, which has allowed me to combine my love of culture, health and food.
My clients are diverse and include everyone from large corporations to health organizations, from educational institutions to non-profits. One memorable event we catered was an employee appreciation lunch for 600 construction workers, who we fed in only two hours!
Another favorite was a four-course dinner for Folsom, California’s “Elegant Evening Feast”. This unique event allowed Folsom locals to dine directly and celebrate the construction of the town’s new 80-foot bridge over Hinkle Creek. The organizers built an outdoor kitchen and we served some of my favorite dishes like Lime-Marinated Jalapeño Tri-Tip and Berry Brulee.
Along with cooking and catering, I enjoy teaching cooking classes to both children and adults alike. I’ve also led creative classes for at-risk youth in schools and juvenile halls.
I think I’ve been successful as a chef because I genuinely love people and sharing my cuisine with them. I’m knowledgeable about food preparation and artistic design while also being flexible with menu design and travel for all my clients. But my ultimate goal is this: give each and every customer an experience they’ll always remember – a taste for their senses!
I’ve received a ton of support from my wife, who’s coordinated over a thousand events. Working as a team has made it so much easier to connect with our clients, gain trust, share our cuisine and show our clients just how dedicated we are to making their weddings, parties and corporate events truly special.
Tips for Running a Business
My suggestion to all new professionals, Thumbtack or otherwise, is to build a team that’s excited to promote your business and share in your success. I also love to network and stay open to all opportunities, big or small. Keeping an open mind has led to interesting promotions, which then lead lead to bigger opportunities. At the end of the day though, give back to the community that you serve. It will give back to you tenfold. (A good website doesn’t hurt either.)
Prior to Thumbtack, my business grew via word of mouth. I had over 300 clients and was featured on several television shows, radio programs and my food was covered by one of the top food bloggers in the country.
Since Thumbtack, the events I cater have diversified. Each experience has been unique – from catering a 350 person quinceañera to a nonprofit fundraiser, Thumbtack has opened doors for my business throughout California.
Arturo Vargas of Taste for the Senses is based in Sacramento, CA. He’s a long-time Thumbtack professional (since 2011!) and has been hired 26 times by Thumbtack customers.