Bakersfield Life

20 Under 40

This year's group of 20 Under 40 People to Watch come from different backgrounds and professions but share a common goal of improving our community.

We present you the fourth annual 20 Under 40 People to Watch.

Nominated by their colleagues and friends, these rising young professionals are making a name for themselves by doing work that is contributing to a brighter future. They all come from different backgrounds but share one common goal: to contribute to society and help others become successful. 

Together, we raise our glass and say cheers to all young professionals making a difference in our community. There were many nominations and we had a tie, so this year, we present you with 21 honorees. 


From left: Boom or Bust, Super Funkadelic and Dank Street from Dionysus Brewing

For the love of craft

Beer. It’s the centerpiece of happy hours and one of the most popular beverages in the world, with brands like Budweiser, Coors and Miller easily recognized by drinkers and nondrinkers alike. But the products produced by macrobreweries – facilities that produce beers on a large scale – pale in

Bootleggers' Shock Top fish taco, crispy salsa verde taco and Korean taco.

Let's give them something to taco 'bout

We were on the search for the best tacos in Bakersfield and, to our surprise, found out that this Mexican mecca dish has been kicked up in creativity and flavor. Whether you’re in the mood for a carnitas taco or a “puffy taco” – yes, that is a thing – take a look at some local favorites.

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  • Chris Gonzalez, owner of Curbside Kitchen

    Meals on wheels

    One year ago, Chris Gonzalez never thought he would see hundreds of people lined up to eat his food. He just saw a food truck as an opportunity to do what he loves and be his own boss. Now he relishes in the growth of his dream business, Curbside Kitchen. Curbside Kitchen is a local food truck

  • Customers waiting for their order at Ken-Ken's Drive-In

    Cruisin’ into Bakersfield’s drive-ins

    Long before Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter ruled teenagers’ lives, another social craze swept across the country – cruising. The nation experienced a new era at the end of World War II as automobile ownership increased. During the 1950s, the American automobile culture emerged as more people moved

  • Samantha Zabala, right, chats with Jamie Durham while shopping at Encore Boutique. Zabala says she shops at Encore about four or five times a week.

    Encore Boutique gives women a second chance at life

    Tara Walsh didn’t grow up in an abusive home. Her parents aren’t divorced. Nor did she lack the means to attend college. But temptations in college took a turn. Alcohol and prescriptions drugs soon became addictions. “I was an addict for three to four years, solid,” Walsh said. The 33-year-old

  • Bolthouse Farms was once simply known as the market share leader in growing and distributing carrots, but its highly acclaimed juices are quickly making a name for themselves.

    Finding Fame: Bolthouse changes the juicing game

    Bolthouse Farms, founded in 1915, was once simply known as the market share leader in growing and distributing carrots, but its highly acclaimed juices are quickly making a name for themselves, being featured on Food Network,, the Associated Press, Los Angeles Magazine and others. It

  • coffee and a croissant

    Family Verdict: A true happy hour

    Last week, I sat for an hour after work with three co-workers and laughed until I cried. A colleague had worn a tight black shirt that made him look very French. We called him “Pierre.” We offered him croissants. We asked if, perhaps, he’d like to take a poodle out for a walk. It was an hour of

  • Dancers perform Banako. Pictured clockwise starting front left is: Tim Etcheverry, Tommy Toretta, Antone Fanucchi and Christian Curutchague.

    Bakersfield Matters: Basque-ing in the national spotlight

    Last month, Maria Bernal Toretta stood under the menacing sun in searing Memorial Day weekend heat as she snapped photographs of her children dancing at the 44th annual Basque Festival. Spectators seated in the stands erected on the handball court applauded, while hundreds of others convened under

  • Ruben Medina of La Costa Mariscos

    12 Things You Didn’t Know About ... Bartending

    Bartender Ruben Medina isn’t afraid of a cocktail challenge. Eight out of 10 times, he’ll know how to make you the refreshing drink you’re looking for at La Costa Mariscos Restaurant. With six years behind the bar, Medina gave us the ins and outs of being a bartender. 1 The most consumed drinks

  • The exterior of the newly redesigned 2016 Hyundai Tucson is sporty and confident.

    On the Road: 2016 Hyundai Tucson Limited

    If I were asked to identify a common theme that runs through the handful of Hyundai vehicles I have test-driven over the past couple of years, it would be exceptional value. Every one of them offered features equal to, if not better than, the competition, with a lower sticker price. Additionally,

  • The 2017 Lincoln MKZ's exterior design is elegant and understated.

    On the Road: 2017 Lincoln MKZ HEV

    In what has become a high-stakes game of one-upmanship, automakers are increasingly using the luxury sedan segment to introduce their latest in engineering and technology and push limits of what is possible. With a group of buyers focused more in the pursuit of the ultimate driving experience than