Article Written by: Tiffany Anderson
"I love teaching about Latin products, flavors, and spices. Anything from Central or South America - I want to teach people about what we have to offer."
Food has a unique quality of connecting us to one another. And if anyone knows the truth of that statement, it’s Diego Campos, the Chef de Cuisine of Camp (part of Table 301 Restaurant Group) in Downtown Greenville. His connection with food began early, in the heart of his family’s kitchen.
“I’m the youngest of three siblings, and I spent a lot of time with my mom,” he recalls. “I was chopping onions, peeling potatoes, whatever she needed.” But these moments weren’t just chores; they were joyful experiences that began his love for cooking.
Born in California and raised in Atlixco, Puebla, Diego found unique ways to express his cultural heritage through meals. His vision extended beyond specific cuisine as he aims to share the diverse flavors of all Latin America. “I love teaching about Latin products, flavors, and spices. Anything from Central or South America - I want to teach people about what we have to offer.” For him, every dish is a piece of a story and every flavor is an invitation to explore and learn.
So why food? As Diego explains, it’s a way to bring people together. “I see chefs as artists. You have painters who use all these colors to create, you have writers who use words to shift mindsets, and then there are chefs who see products and flavors and they create something that makes sense to them and their guests.”
Diego’s journey through culinary arts has taken him around the world. Traveling wasn’t just about exploring fresh places, it was about tasting new flavors and being inspired. He believes that, through food, he could connect with different people on a different level and learn more about their heritage, way of life, and culture. “I always come home from traveling and see how I can take components of dishes I experienced. My brain is always thinking ‘what if I mixed this together?’” He contributes his love of traveling to his growing skills in cooking.
As far as living out his culture, Diego laughed and said their Thanksgiving celebrations are “very Mexican.” Together, they make bacalao or dishes inspired from his mom’s side of the family. “We love eating the same things we had in Mexico to bring that feeling back to us. It’s so special.”
While work keeps Diego busy, he had the opportunity to cater one of Hispanic Alliance’s “La Fiesta,” events in 2019. “I love their mission and vision for our community, I’m thankful for a large association and place for all of us Latinos. It brings the exposure we need but gives us a voice in our community.”
As Diego pursues his career, he dreams of empowering the Hispanic community in Greenville. His heart is to see fellow Latinos recognize their full potential and embrace the surrounding opportunities. He believes that understanding one’s own culture and heritage is the first step towards success and will allow others like him to rise above and reach greatness.
“I want us, as a community, to see how we can help each other. First step is knowing your community and serving them.”