#SoCaltech: Oswaldo Penaloza


“The most important thing about being here at Caltech is that I have so many opportunities. I recently went back to school because I wanted a better future for my daughter. I’m a single parent, and I wanted to give her more. I got my associate’s degree in culinary arts, and then I earned a certification from the American Culinary Federation. I got promoted to sous chef, and now I’m one of the people in charge of the menu at Chandler. Now, I’m going on to get another certification. Even though I’m a chef, there’s a lot of food that I don’t know. And you never stop learning. That keeps me excited—I want to know more! For example, I made squid ink ravioli for the first time recently, and it came out perfect! It’s better to be prepared and not have an opportunity than to have an opportunity and not be prepared.”

Oswaldo Penaloza, sous chef for Caltech Dining Services, lives in Baldwin Park.

#SoCaltech is an occasional series celebrating the diverse individuals who give Caltech its spirit of excellence, ambition, and ingenuity. Know someone we should profile? Send nominations to magazine@caltech.edu.