I’ll try and recount the legend of Sergio to the best of my memory (other FTCers who remember, please chime in if I didn’t remember right! ;))…
Chef Sergio Penuelas and his wife Maria Penuelas founded a little, delicious hole-in-the-wall eatery focusing on Sinaloan cuisine, called Mariscos Chente. It was noteworthy not only for the great food, but that it was on the Westside. Legit, delicious, authentic Sinaloan food that was convenient for many on the Westside.
He ended up having marital issues and got divorced, and I think before things were totally split up, he was cooking less and less at Chente, then not at all. His replacement wasn’t as good, so people would chime in (there was an open kitchen so you could see in), if “Sergio was cooking” that day or not.
If he wasn’t, that was the reason the food wasn’t as good.
He moved on to his father-in-law’s(?) restaurant in Inglewood IIRC, so that was good news… except we found out he wasn’t there full-time. So people showing up also had to see “if Sergio was cooking that day.” If he wasn’t, it seemed like the food wasn’t as good.
He moved on to another restaurant (I think his father-in-law owned 2 or 3 restaurants), and also wasn’t there full-time.
So it just turned from serious inquiry “is Sergio cooking that day?” to a running joke of if we go to a restaurant that people are reporting was good, but we had a bad experience, then “maybe Sergio wasn’t cooking that day?” (even though clearly Sergio Penuelas isn’t at all of those other restaurants we’re going to), LOL.
I think that’s generally it, but the veterans might remember more about this than I do.