With Duende, chef Paul Canales breaks free
By Tracey Taylor
Paul Canales, who has just opened Duende in Uptown Oakland after working for 15 years at Oliveto. Photo: Tracey Taylor
Paul Canales, who opened his new restaurant and bodega Duende in Uptown Oakland last week, admits to having been more than ready to embark on his new venture. Canales was at the venerable Oliveto in Rockridge for 15 years — he joined as an intern and left as Executive Chef — and he loved it there. But, even before he handed in his notice in 2010, he had been fantasizing for months about a different cuisine, a different aesthetic — in fact an altogether different approach.
He was drawn to small plates and Spanish food, mainly because of his heritage — his father was raised in the Basque region — and partly because his passion for Italian food had run its course.