Hanis Cavin

My philosophy is to source local ingredients, purveyors, and farms that raise their animals in the most natural way possible. I want to provide an atmosphere where foodies and families can dine together.
pork loin schnitzel | pulled pork | bacon | pepperoncini-pickle relish | shack aioli
11th Annual Chef Showdown: Our mission at Center for Community Solutions is to end relationship and sexual violence by being a catalyst for caring communities and social justice. This one-of-a-kind fundraising event is not to be missed! Chef Hanis is a competing chef at Chef Showdown.
New England Culinary Institute. Montpelier, Vermont
American Seasons Restaurant. Nantucket, MA
Triangles. San Diego, CA
Executive Chef
Mixx. San Diego, CA
Chef De Cuisine
Pacifica Del Mar. Del Mar, CA
Dakota Grill. San Diego, CA
Executive Chef
Pacific Coast Grill. Cardiff By The Sea, CA
Kensington Grill. San Diego, CA
Carnitas' Snack Shack. San Diego, CA
Executive Chef/ Owner
Meat butchery
Menu development
Food/menu costing
Kitchen management
Knife skills
Staff training
TV/radio guest appearances

  • Carnitas' Snack Shack Wins a Silver Fork!

  • Featured on FoodBeast
  • Chef of the Year 2009, California Restaurant Association
  • Readers' Pick for Best Cheap Eats, San Diego Magazine 2013
  • 2013's Gold Medallion for Quick Service Casual Dining from the California Restaurant Association
  • Eater San Diego, Restaurant of the Year 2013
Hanis Cavin
Hanis Cavin
San Diego, CA
United States

Carnitas' Snack Shack
Executive Chef/ Owner

Born and raised in San Diego, Hanis Cavin is known locally for his culinary talents.  Early on, Hanis' home economics teacher told him that he had a talent that should not be wasted.  Inspired by his teacher's advice, Hanis attended the New England Culinary Institute in Montpelier, Vermont.  After college, Hanis began to polish his skills at the American Seasons Restaurant in Nantucket. But his love for San Diego -- and warm weather -- brought him back to the West Coast, where he began working as Executive Chef at Triangles, located in University Towne Centre.

In 1996, Hanis became the Chef de Cuisine at Mixx in the Hillcrest neighborhood of San Diego. His love for Pacific Cuisine began to flourish in 1998, when he went to Pacifica Del Mar restaurant.  In 1999, Hanis began working for Kensington Grill and played a major part in the opening its sister restaurant Chive in the Gaslamp Quarter of downtown San Diego.  In 2000, Hanis moved on to become the Executive Chef at Dakota Grill, also in the Gaslamp District.  Missing his passion to cook Pacific Cuisine, he landed at Pacific Coast Grill. Hanis later rejoined the Urban Kitchen Group's Kensington Grill in 2007 and subsequently earned the honorable award of Chef of the Year, 2009 from the California Restaurant Association. Recently, he was inducted into the San Diego Home/Garden Chef's Hall of Fame.

In 2011, Chef Hanis Cavin and Sara Stroud opened Carnitas' Snack Shack, their first joint venture, in the North Park neighborhood of San Diego. The "Snack Shack," as it's affectionately called, serves slow food-inspired, pork-centric American cuisine, snacks and locally sourced craft beers. Over the years Hanis and Sara (and Carnitas!) have earned the respect of their colleagues through hard work, creativity, and dedication to their community. Each year, they participate in many charity and outreach programs, educational field trips to local farms like Olivewood Gardens, school programs and food events such as Chef Celebration, the Emilio Nares Foundation, the Front Burner Fund for restaurant employees, San Diego Center for Children, Mama's Kitchen, San Diego Food Bank and California Restaurant Association Mentoring Program.