It all started with a dream
In the late 1980’s, Oswaldo (Ozzy) Ochoa, immigrated from Ecuador to this country in search of the American dream. He arrived in New York City with the sole purpose of survival. He landed his first job as a dishwasher in Angelo’s of Mulberry street, a very well-known Italian restaurant in the city. He was only fifteen at the time; therefore, he was put on a trial run for the first two weeks. Throughout the years, Ozzy worked day and night to be able to provide for his family. He quickly transitioned int prep and with doing so; he was intrigued in the culinary side of things.
After about two years in his current position, he asked to be given an opportunity as a cook. The owners, Giovanni and Gino, were skeptical but gave him the opportunity to practice these skills during their lunch hour but with the condition of no pay. Ozzy, without a doubt, took the offer and for the next eight months he learned the explicit details on how to become a professional cook. Because of the advances Ozzy was showing, the owners decided to create a position for him as a second cook. With ups and downs throughout the years, by the age of twenty-one Ozzy had become head chef of Angelo’s. He would from there go on to create dishes in which celebrities from around the world would stop in to try.
In 1995, a man from Des Moines, Iowa stopped to eat at Angelo’s and was instantly infatuated with the cuisine. he asked to speak with the chef and after a long conversation got his information. come to find out, this man was the owner of one of the most prestigious Italian restaurants in Des Moines. This Des Moines native would then go on to contact Ozzy to work for him. He flew Ozzy out and had him prepare a few dishes for an event. Everyone was amazed by the food and that was what solidified this man’s quest to make Ozzy the head chef at this restaurant. After about a year of back and forth conversations, Ozzy finally agreed to move but with the condition of moving his whole family too. The owner with no hesitation agreed. never in a million years would Ozzy imagine that serving one of his creations would be the beginning of the rest of his life.
Although being the head chef of a staple in Des Moines was top-notch, Ozzy’s dream was to open a restaurant of his own. In 2001, he finally decided to take the plunge and make his dream a reality. He opened up La Pasta Bella in Des Moines. While the food was magnificent, the restaurant did not do as well as expected. Therefore, shortly after it closed, Being the person he is, in April 2002 an opportunity presented itself and Ozzy opened up his family-owned restaurant, Yanni’s Grill & Vineyard. Everything is home-made and cooked to perfection!
Dedication, passion, and hard work has made Yanni’s one of the most recognizable Italian/Greek restaurants in the Des Moines Metro Area.
Ozzy Ochoa, Chef & Owner