Like most talented chefs, Darren Weiss toiled away in others’ kitchens for years before opening his own spot, Café Catalina in Redondo Beach, Calif., in 2000. The restaurant was a humble one in a strip center with an upstairs kitchen from which he and a pair of servers fed 10 tables. As the chef-owner, the pressure was always on, but he loved being in charge.Customers enjoyed the diminutive cafe and its ever-smiling chef, who they would learn was deaf but an excellent lip reader. Now ...

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