By matthew kornberg

Enjoy the ride.
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Keep Pushing the Limits

Chatting with Joseph Tagorda – driven cyclist by day, executive chef of Chi Spacca, arguably the best steak in Los Angeles, by night. 


I lose motivation when things become too easy, too monotonous, too repetitive. I never saw myself at 23 becoming an executive chef. I guess it's just my nature to push myself. But I think I push myself to the point that I almost lose interest, which was a challenge with cycling. I struggle with thinking so much of what other people think of me. If I stopped cycling, people might comment on how I'm not riding as much, or maybe they'll think I'm lazy. If I stop or take a day off, I feel like I've got to keep going. That’s one thing I hope to do for others - is to encourage them to keep pushing.



I got into cycling during the pandemic when I was going through a lot of anxiety and depression due to the uncertainty in the hospitality industry. If I stayed at home, the wheels would start turning. I've since told myself that I need to take care of myself and not listen to what people say— even stop listening to myself.


When you hear the voices in your head, that's when you know you need to stop. Sometimes when I hit a segment, I tell myself I have to hit it hard because I always hit it hard. But no, I don't have to if I don't want to. I can take it slow, I can take it easy if I want to. It's constant reminders, I still struggle with it. 



IL DISPACCIO: How do you stay motivated?

JT: I have to remind myself: Why am I cycling? What am I doing this for? I'm not racing. And that's when I go, you're doing too much. But in the past 2-3 months, I've had this real urge and motivation to do all these rides because I'm motivated and have the energy. There are waves, and I know that. There will be days when I don't want to go out, and I call my friends to join me and get motivated.




IL DISPACCIO: What has the cycling community done for your life outside of work?

JT: I never saw myself as a cyclist. Like climbing mountains on a bike? I thought the guys who did that were crazy. I've now embraced the culture, but I have my own style and do it just for me. I think that cycling has provided some sort of connection or common ground between me and the people I have gone cycling with, many of which are people I would've never hung out with if it wasn't for cycling. And those cyclists have shared a lot with me, and I have learned a lot from them.


Image by Brian Hashimoto


IL DISPACCIO: So what is life like as both a chef and cyclist? 

JT: I'm a morning person, so I naturally wake up early. I'd be up at 7, get on the bike at 7:30, get home, walk the dog, and get to work. At first, it sucked. I had no energy, and I was weak. But then I was like, "Ok, let's do it again tomorrow." I started with 30 miles, then 40 miles, and then I was riding with my friend Spencer and doing 70 miles a day at 6:30 am, and then went to work. My competition is with myself because there will always be someone stronger and faster. I want to push myself to be stronger and faster. 


Image by Brian Hashimoto


IL DISPACCIO: Would you say cycling has made you a better chef?

JT: My mood translates into the food. If I'm in a bad mood, it translates into the quality of my food. I have to be on point every night, and it's exhausting, but that's why it's important to love what you do. Cycling helps with that by helping boost my energy levels. I'm not tired because of the bike, I'm tired because I'm at the restaurant all day. 

If I can motivate one person to get out and ride, I'm stoked. I just want to share what I do. I'm just a normal person, I'm not an athlete. Do I want to get fit? Do I want to get stronger? Do I want to get faster? Fuck yeah. But I'm not doing it to race. I'm going to do it for myself. 



Hot Take with Joseph Tagorda:


Favorite Flavor: Orange Spritz.

Favorite time to enjoy: Definitely after a long ride.

Describe the feeling: Totally refreshed and ready to keep it going!


@tagorda   @chispacca




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