My culinary career started in Ames, Iowa. I left Puerto Rico at the age of 18 with the goal of moving to Iowa to study veterinary medicine. My friends and I were always hosting parties at our house and I loved the rush that I got from these events. My first restaurant job was at a small 30 seat Brazilian restaurant close to campus. I distinctly remember being nervous, but very aware of everything that was going on around me. It was thrilling, and I was hooked.
My main motivation is having people enjoy food . I feel eating at a table brings people together. I want people to have a good time and enjoy their time with us.
The start of service has always given me a rush. It reminds me of that feeling you get the minute before tip-off at a basketball game; a burst of energy coupled with the anticipation of whats to come.
I love the competition and creativity that’s comes with working in NYC - there are so many restaurants so many cultures. As a chef, you really enjoy being able to try so many types of cuisines. It really is a hustle, but I love every second of it.
The menu changes constantly but some dishes will stick around. Our Short Rib Agnolotti is very popular and inspired our Poutine fries. Currently, I enjoy the Snapper I love the mix of seafood with chorizo. My favorite snack is the sticky rice which the cooks know to keep away from me in the kitchen, otherwise ill eat it all.
It's always exciting for me when we sell out our specials - We run different dishes daily in order to highlight various fresh ingredients, and challenge our team to be creative. When they sell out, it's rewarding for us to know they're being well received.
It's sometimes challenging to keep a healthy work/life balance. As chefs, we work long hours, nights, and weekends. At times its difficult to find time for myself - to work out, and spend time with friends. I'm still working on finding the perfect balance but I love every minute I spend in the kitchen.
I've always believed that life's most pivotal moments happen around a table, whether it's dinner with friends, a lunch meeting, or a budding romance - I want to make sure that my food stands up to those moments. I've always lived by the saying ‘’If you wouldn’t serve it to your mother…don’t serve it to the guest’’.
Managing 3 meal periods can be challenging, and definitely time consuming, but since I've become Executive Chef, I've become more organized, which makes everything run more smoothly. Keeping creative and unique menu ideas coming is often challenging, but is definitely rewarding.