Monday, November 29, 2021

Top 10 Mexican Chefs in The United States

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According to  CHD Expert, a global leader in aggregating, analyzing, and managing foodservice data, As of April 2017, there are more than 59,800 Mexican restaurants in the United States and the Mexican Menu Type represents approximately 9 percent of all restaurants in the USA. In 2017 Mexican edged out Pizzerias for the second most common non-simplified US menu type, with Pizzeria falling into the third position with approximately 59,300 Pizzeria restaurants across the USA.

As a whole, the Mexican menu type generates approximately $45 billion in annual retail sales, averaging approximately $766,000 per unit.

And while only a hand full of Fine Dining Mexican restaurants across the nation, some of these eateries offer the finest dining experiences one can experience across the nation.To access the 2017 Mexican Restaurant Trends Report in its entirety, please click here. 

Here is our list of the top 10 mexican chefs in US

1. Daniela Soto-Innes

Daniela Soto-Innes is a Mexican-born chef and the youngest chef named World's Best Female Chef by the World's 50 Best Restaurant.

Born in Mexico City, Mexico to two lawyers, she moved to Texas at the age of 12. She was a competitive swimmer until she was 20.  She studied at Le Cordon Bleu in Austin, Texas and then trained in both Europe and New York under chefs Danny Trace, Chris Shepherd and Enrique Olvera. 

After working in some of the best restaurants in Texas through her teen years, she returned to Mexico City and worked for CIA graduate Enrique Olvera at his acclaimed Pujol. That partnership rekindled in 2014 when they teamed up to open Cosme.

In 2014, she helped to open Cosme in New York City, serving there as the Chef de Cuisine. In 2017, in partnership with chef Enrique Olvera, she opened the restaurant Atla.

In 2016, she received the James Beard Award for Rising Star Chef.  In 2019, she was named the World's Best Female Chef at the World's 50 Best Restaurant Awards.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniela_Soto-Innes

https://www.ciachef.edu/daniela-soto-innes-grad-speaker-release/

2. Enrique Olvera

Olvera was born in Mexico City. He moved to the United States to enroll at The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY, graduating with an associate degree in 1997. He went on to earn his CIA bachelor’s degree in 1999. During his studies, Olvera earned various awards, including a gold medal from the New York Société Culinaire Philanthropique and the Jacob Rosenthal Leadership Award from the college.

After graduation, he got his first job at Everest, one of Chicago’s most exclusive restaurants. In 2000, Olvera returned to Mexico City to open his own restaurant, Pujol. Pujol is ranked #12 on the 2019 S.Pellegrino’s World’s 50 Best Restaurant list and number nine on the 2018 list of Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants. Cosme is #23 on the 2019 S.Pellegrino’s World’s 50 Best Restaurant list, the highest ranking for any American restaurant. Olvera was named the 2015 International Chef of the Year by The Daily Meal and received The Diners Club® Lifetime Achievement Award for Latin America. He has earned a well-deserved accolade from his fellow elite professionals across the region—the Chefs’ Choice Award, voted for by the chefs of the S.Pellegrino Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants. Pujol now proudly serves as an approved internship site for current CIA students, so Olvera can pass on lessons he learned to future graduates of the college.

Source: https://www.ciachef.edu/enrique-olvera/

3. Jose Garces

Jose Garces is an Ecuadorian American chef, restaurant owner, and Iron Chef. He was born in Chicago to Ecuadorian parents. He won in the second season of The Next Iron Chef. Garces studied Culinary Arts at Kendall College in Chicago, graduating in 1996.

Garces sold his restaurants to IdEATion Hospitality in 2018 as part of a restructuring. IdEATion along with Chef Garces now run seven restaurants in Philadelphia: Amada, Tinto, Village Whiskey, JG Domestic, Volver and Buena Onda. IdEATion and Chef Garces also manage 4 restaurants in Atlantic City, NJ at the Ocean Casino & Resort and Tropicana Casino & Resort: Amada - Ocean, Distrito Cantina - Ocean, Olon - Tropicana, and Okatshe - Tropicana . Distrito Cantina includes a reproduction of the Guapos Taco truck inside the Ocean Casino & Resort. For his work at these restaurants, he was named best chef, Mid-Atlantic region by the James Beard Foundation.

Garces has been a challenger on Iron Chef America, defeating Bobby Flay on a 2008 episode featuring melon.He also competed in the second season of The Next Iron Chef and he was selected the sixth Iron Chef after defeating opponent chef Jehangir Mehta on November 22, 2009. Garces debuted as an Iron Chef on January 17, 2010, when he defeated Seattle chef Rachel Yang in Battle Hawaiian Moi.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jose_Garces

4. Gabriela Cámara

Gabriela Cámara is a Mexican chef, restaurant owner, and author. Born in Chihuahua City, Cámara grew up in Tepoztlán. In 1998, Cámara opened Contramar, a restaurant specializing in seafood, in Mexico City. She opened the restaurant Cala in San Francisco in 2015. Cámara holds ownership in Mexico City restaurants Capicúa, Barricuda Diner, and MeroToro. Her cookbook, My Mexico City Kitchen, was published in 2019, the year Cámara was appointed to the Mexican government's Council of Cultural Diplomacy and as an advisor to President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.Cámara has twice been a James Beard Foundation award semifinalist, in 2017 and 2019. In 2019, Cámara, her two restaurants, and their staff members were the subject of a Netflix documentary, A Tale of Two Kitchens. She also has a Masterclass course in which she teaches viewers how to cook Mexican food.Cámara was included in Time Magazine's Most Influential People in 2020. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gabriela_C%C3%A1mara

5. Aarón Sánchez

Aarón Sánchez is an award-winning chef, TV personality, author and philanthropist. He is chef/owner of Johnny Sánchez in New Orleans, and a judge on FOX’s hit culinary competition series MasterChef and MasterChef Junior. He is partner/creative director of Cocina, the first online content platform dedicated to celebrating Latin lifestyle through its vibrant culinary culture. Aarón grew up in the restaurant business and is passionate about preserving his family’s legacy through food and encouraging diversity in the kitchen. Aarón has starred in multiple Food Network shows, most notably as a judge on Chopped and Chopped Junior. He was the host of Cooking Channel’s Emmy-nominated series, Taco Trip, and has appeared on a numerous other shows including; Iron Chef and Best Thing I Ever Ate. Additionally, Aarón hosted two Spanish-language shows on Fox Life, 3 Minutos con Aarón and MOTOCHEFS. A third-generation cookbook author, Aarón has written two cookbooks - “La Comida del Barrio” and “Simple Food, Big Flavor”. In Fall 2019 he published a memoir titled “Where I Come From: Life Lessons From a Latino Chef”. Aarón has won a James Beard Award for Television Studio Program and was recognized by the Hispanic Federation with the Premio Orgullo Award for being a leader in the Hispanic community. In 2016, Aarón founded the Aarón Sánchez Scholarship Fund (ASSF), an initiative empowering aspiring chefs from the Latin community. ASSF provides recipients with full culinary scholarships to schools in New York City and ongoing mentorship. Aarón’s love for the arts extends beyond the kitchen.  He is a partner in world-renowned tattoo shop and museum, Daredevil Tattoo in NYC.  An avid music lover, he enjoys cooking to the sounds of Portugal the Man, Shakey Graves, Café Tacvba, Alabama Shakes, Tank and The Bangas, Amos Lee, Lianne La Havas, and Lenny Kravitz. He has a son, Yuma, and lives in New Orleans, LA.

Source: https://www.chefaaronsanchez.com/

6. Ray Garcia

As a native Angeleno, Ray Garcia draws his culinary inspiration from the city’s rich culture, Southern California’s produce, and his classic training. As chef/owner of Broken Spanish and BS Taqueria (both opened in 2015), he incorporates all of these things cooking bright, bold, and ingredient-driven food that expresses a Mexican-American narrative. For this, he, his team and both restaurants have received national recognition and overwhelming hometown support – in a city that has finally drawn critical focus and praise on an international level. Most notably, he was recognized by Esquire magazine as Chef of the Year.Garcia originally set out to become a lawyer. However, after graduating from UCLA with degrees in political science and business economics, he paved a new path by enrolling at the California School of Culinary Arts. His first job was at the Peninsula Beverly Hills, a five-star and five-diamond hotel with a revered fine dining program. He would further his training with and seek mentorship from chefs like Douglas Keane of Cyrus. He has been consistently recognized for philosophies on environmental stewardship, and commitment to responsible farming and food production, honored with StarChefs “Rising Star” Award for Sustainability in 2010. In 2014, Ray took home the title of “King of Porc” at Cochon 555, an event celebrating the heritage breed pig.Broken Spanish is Garcia’s flagship where he translates a robust menu, showcasing preparations rooted in long-established traditions refined with a modern sensibility. Since it opened in June of 2015, Broken Spanish has earned countless accolades and recognition as one of the best new restaurants of the year by Esquire, USA Today, LA Weekly, Los Angeles Times and Los Angeles Magazine. The critical success of BS Taqueria, considered the little sister to Broken Spanish, underscores Garcia’s contribution to a burgeoning dining scene in Los Angeles. The taqueria has given him the opportunity to elevate Mexican cuisine, reinforcing the idea that ethnic food should not be relegate to a particular price bracket.  Garcia hopes to usher in a new understanding and appreciation for Mexican food with quality sourcing and precise cooking.

SOURCE: https://chefraygarcia.com/

7. Ana Garcia

Ana Garcia is one of the most vivacious traditional Mexican chefs and teachers in Mexico today. Born in Monterrey, Mexico in 1972 and raised in Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico, Chef Ana traces her lineage well beyond the Mexican Revolution. Her great grandfather was a contemporary of the famous and revered revolutionary Emiliano Zapata and post-revolution Senator who participated in founding the first constitution for the State of Morelos. Ana’s great grandmother was a well-know butcher with various stands in the large central mercado, revered for her incredible longaniza and chorizo.

In 2001, Ana and her husband Robb founded La Villa Bonita Mexican Culinary Vacation® (www.lavillabonita.com) a cooking school and culinary vacation destination that combines Chef Ana’s cooking skills and inviting hospitality in a breathtaking setting beneath the Tepozteco Mountain range.  

She also starred in a 3-part mini-series for Disney Digital called Babble Eats.  She has been a regular guest on Los Angeles’ most popular morning television show, KTLA’s Morning News at 9, explaining major Mexican holidays and culinary traditions.  Chef Ana has also starred in television pilots for PBS and Warner Brothers/Wolper Organization.

As a restaurant consultant, Chef Ana has trained chefs from all over the world such as the U.S., England, Kenya, South Korea, Germany, and has assisted in restaurant development with the U.S. restaurant chain La Salsa as well as the Nairobi, Kenya restaurant Fonda NBO.

Chef Ana was the executive chef of the very popular Reposado Restaurant in Cuernavaca for 9 years and in 2007 founded Cafe Cinco, an ecological cafe constructed with recycled products as well as a reduced environmental impact hostal called Tubohotel (tubohotel.com) which is made of large concrete tubes. A well-accomplished public speaker, Ana has given culinary demonstrations and lectures about Mexican Cuisine at the Orlando Culinary Institute, the Arizona Culinary Institute, the Chicago Hospitality Institute of Chicago, Central Market Cooking School, and the National Restaurant Association Convention.

Chef Ana’s passions are maintaining traditional Mexican slow food techniques, fostering good eating habits for kids, employing good environmental practices in daily life ,and promoting healthy eating and living habits for the family. Together with her husband Robb, Ana finds time to raise their three small children, and to pass down her rich history and her passion for food.

Source: http://chefana.com/

8. Richard Sandoval

Growing up in Mexico City, Richard Sandoval would join his grandmother in the kitchen and gather around her large table with family to enjoy lively Mexican feasts prepared from scratch.

From his grandmother, he learned to respect fresh, authentic, ingredients and create the vibrant flavors that turned family dinners into celebrated events. Meanwhile, his restaurateur father imparted lessons in service and restaurant management.

Sandoval, who was once a professional tennis player and had toured the world participating in prestigious matches, had such a passion for food that he decided to enroll in the Culinary Institute of America. In 1997, he opened Maya, his flagship modern Mexican restaurant in New York.

During the past 18 years, Sandoval's career as a Chef-Restaurateur has evolved to include serving as a culinary consultant, television personality, cookbook author and brand ambassador.

With the broad range of restaurants in his portfolio, Chef Sandoval combines authentic Latin ingredients with international flavors and inventive techniques to create new and unexpected concepts and cuisines such as modern and coastal Mexican, Latin-Asian, Peruvian and Pan-Latin.

Sandoval has developed menus for American Airlines First Class cabin, as well as many of the world's leading hotels. He is equally passionate about tequila and has curated one of the largest collections in North America and the Middle East and aspires to educate diners on their quality and diversity. 

When not cooking, Sandoval is passionate about training the chefs of the future. He supports their growth on the Board of Trustees at his alma ma­­ter, the Culinary Institute of America and has recently received an honorary doctorate from Johnson and Wales. For his work, he has been awarded Mexico's National Toque d'Oro 2003, Bon Appétit Restaurateur of the Year 2006 and Cordon d'Or Restaurateur of the Year 2012, James Beard Semi-Finalist for Outstanding Restauratuer and various other awards for his restaurants around the globe.

Source: https://www.richardsandoval.com/

9. Rick Bayless

Rick Bayless (born November 23, 1953) is an American chef and restaurateur who specializes in traditional Mexican cuisine with modern interpretations. He is widely known for his PBS series Mexico: One Plate at a Time.

Most people know Rick Bayless from winning the title of Bravo’s Top Chef Masters, beating out the French and Italian with his authentic Mexican cuisine. His highly rated Public Television series, Mexico–One Plate at a Time,  is broadcast coast to coast and has earned him multiple Daytime Emmy nominations for Best Culinary Host.

Rick has nine cookbooks.

Rick’s side by side award-winning restaurants are in Chicago. The casual Frontera Grill was founded in 1987 and received the James Beard Foundation’s highest award, Outstanding Restaurant, in 2007. The 4-star Toplobampo, which served its first meals in 1991, earned the Beard Foundation’s award for Outstanding Restaurant in 2017 — a unprecedented feat for side-by-side restaurants.  The wildly popular, LEED GOLD-certified, fast-casual Xoco has been around since 2009, serving wood-oven tortas, steaming caldos, golden churros and bean-to-cup Mexican hot chocolate.  In 2018, Rick and his daughter Lanie opened Bar Sótano, a speakeasy-style mezcal bar with modern Mexican bar food.

Rick’s quick-service Tortas Frontera have changed the face of food service at O’Hare International Airport, while Frontera Fresco has brought Frontera flavors to several Macy’s stores and Northwestern University. His award-winning Frontera line of salsas, cooking sauces and organic chips can be found coast to coast.In 2016,  he opened Frontera Cocina in Disney Springs. A new fast casual concept, Tortazo, has taken root in Chicago’s iconic Willis Tower, with plans for nationwide expansion.

Rick and his staff established the Frontera Farmer Foundation in 2003 to support small Midwestern farms. In 2007, Bayless and his team launched the Frontera Scholarship, a full tuition scholarship that sends a Mexican-American Chicago Public School student to Kendall College to study culinary arts. In 2007 Rick was awarded the Humanitarian of the Year by the International Association of Culinary Professionals for his many philanthropic endeavors.

Rick has received a great number of James Beard Award nominations in many categories, and he has won seven: Midwest Chef of the Year, National Chef of the Year, Humanitarian of the Year, Who’s Who of American Food and Drink, Best Podcast, plus two for his cookbooks.

The Government of Mexico has bestowed on Rick the Mexican Order of the Aztec Eagle–the highest decoration bestowed on foreigners whose work has benefitted Mexico and its people.In 2016, he earned the Julia Child Foundation Award, a prestigious honor given to “an individual who has made a profound and significant impact on the way America cooks, eats and drinks.”

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rick_Bayless

https://www.rickbayless.com/

10. Zarela Martínez

Zarela Martínez (born in Agua Prieta, Sonora) is a New York City-based restaurateur and cookbook author. She learned cooking from her mother Aida Gabilondo, also a cookbook author. Martínez serves on the Board of Directors for the Mexican Cultural Institute of New York.

Martínez has been instrumental in introducing Americans to authentic Mexican food, through her restaurants and writings. She has organized food festivals in New York City and given cooking lessons, demonstrations, and lectures on Mexican cuisine and culture.

Chef Paul Prudhomme served as Martínez' mentor after he discovered her in a New Orleans cooking class and around 1979, Martínez opened her catering business El Paso. In 1987, Martínez opened Zarela, a Mexican restaurant that is credited as being a pioneer of regional Mexican cuisine in New York City. The restaurant closed in 2011, citing rising expenses and financial issues prompted by an increasing economic crisis.

Martínez has made several television appearances and her 2001 cookbook Zarela’s Veracruz was written as the companion book to the 2001 PBS series Zarela! La Cocina Veracruzana. In 2004 she was labeled one of seven individuals that helped redefined the American culinary landscape since the last half of the twentieth century by the U.S. State Department’s online publication E-Journal USA: U.S. Society & Values.

As of March 2017, she was working on a book about naturally light Mexican food

In 2020, she launched a podcast, Cooking in Mexican from A to Z, on Heritage Radio Network. Co-hosted with her son, Chef Aarón Sánchez, the show explores the food, flavors, and history of Mexico through lively conversations with their guests.In 2021, "In a Taste for Life with Zarela¨, she shares her inspirational “building blocks” for living well with Parkinson’s disease (PD) and for healthy and delicious eating. The site can be reached at www.ATasteForLifeWithZarela.com.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zarela_Mart%C3%ADnez

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