With an infusion of new restaurants comes a whole new crop of chefs, many who are new to the SMA culinary scene. Some have worked with icons like Chef Enrique Olvera and Chef Rick Bayless; still others make the cut with an abundance of natural talent. Many have trained with some of SMA’s best chefs: Matteo Salas, Marco Cruz, Donnie Masterton and Greta Ortega Casanas.
Chef Arturo Sandoval of ATRIO was taught how things should taste by his grandfather, Chef Wenseslao Sandoval. Arturo has already raised the bar with his incredible Mexican – Peruvian - Spanish fusion cooking.
Chef Mauricio Lara Sarmiento of Belmond Casa Sierra Nevada began his training with the great names of Mexican cuisine: Chef Enrique Olvera in Pujol and Chef Mikel Alonso at Biko.
It all began for Chef Paul Bentley of Bovine in his native Australia. Sparked by his inherent curiosity, he began to see the connection and natural coexistence between agricultural production and the sea; an insight that’s become his greatest advantage as a chef.
Chef Miguel Nunez of Bovine polished his culinary skills at two 50 Best Restaurants: Restaurante Alcalde in Guadalajara and Corazon de Tierra in Baja California.
Although Chef Stephanie Cerón of B'ui cocina de campo supervises and prepares the entire restaurant menu with her team, her real passion is desserts.
Sous chef Irene Palma of B'ui cocina de campo was commissioned for her first position in the kitchen on the grill; today, she’s a master at it.
Chef Xavier Pinero of OCRE was selected by the MAG Gastronomic festival in an elite group of nine up and coming chefs on the rise for his work at his restaurant, Aborigen Cocina Salvaje.
Sous chef Daniel Durán García of OCRE trained with some of SMA’s best chefs: Matteo Salas at Áperi and Israel Loyola in Jacinto 1930. He also did a stint with Chef Diego Hernandez Baquedano at Corazón de Tierra before joining Chef Xavier Pinero to open OCRE in 2018.
Born in Mexico City, Chef Sandoval loves to travel and is passionate about knowing other cultures through their kitchens. He graduated with a degree in Gastronomy from the IESTUR University (Institute of Higher Studies in Tourism). In his third semester, he had the opportunity to work with Chef Moma at Restaurant Osaka Pedregal in Mexico City, specializing in Peruvian-Japanese Cuisine. He ultimately became head chef, and then moved to their new branch in Polanco as Sous chef. One year later, he was chef of the unit. As a member of the restaurant group Am Pm Rest, he collaborated on various culinary projects with Chef Moma: La Bocha, Luzia, La Lupe, Cuines,Tomato Bar and Lucy Shanghai. Two years later, he was in charge of opening Ponzu Restaurant in Puebla, Cuernavaca and Polanco. He became the Executive Chef at Ponzu and La Bocha in Puebla. Before he was offered the job at ATRIO, he traveled to Lima, Peru to work with Chef Moma at the Jerónimo Restaurants and at KO Asían Cuisine with Chef Gianfranco. At ATRIO, the seat of his culinary creations, he works with an experienced team to fuse different types of cuisines – mainly Mexican, Peruvian, and Spanish - and is committed to setting the standard for how a restaurant experience should be for ATRIO’s guests."That was never taught in school," he said.
Chef Mauricio Lara, Belmond Casa de Sierra Nevada
With a long career at Hard Rock, this passionate chef is new to San Miguel de Allende; ready to make his mark with an excellent brand behind him: Belmond Casa Sierra Nevada.
Now at Belmond Casa de Sierra Nevada, he works with Executive Sous chef, Antonio Juarez Arzola, to step up the Mexican tradition with a totally new, fine dining concept.
Chef Miguel Alejandro Nuñez Salas
Sous chef Raúl Ocaranza Partida
At seventeen, Chef Miguel Nuñez worked at a coffee bar, Café and CO. He went to work at Rugantino Pizza e vino the following year and at twenty-one, started working in Restaurante Alcalde, one of the 50 Best Restaurants, as a cook and then as Sous chef petit. Miguel’s career took a spike when he became Sous chef at Corazon de Tierra in Baja, a 50 Best Restaurant for four consecutive years. The following year, he returned to Guadalajara to cook with Chef Paul Bentley, who ultimately offered him the position of chef at Bovine.
Sous che Raúl Ocaranza Partida is originally from Guadalajara and graduated from the Universidad de la Cienega. He developed a passion for the kitchen from his mother Carolina and grandmother Socorro. Early in his career, he went to work for one of the most famous restaurants in Guadalajara, Restaurante Alcalde, a 50 Best Restaurant, as a cook, ultimately finishing as head of the departure in the hot area. He also did a stint at Restaurant El Pez in Tulum before coming to Bovine.
Juana Pérez Balderas learned the culinary basics from her grandmother and mother; her family is the one who inspires her every day. In 2017, Juana completed her professional career at the Technological University of San Miguel de Allende. In 2015 she did an internship at La Pradera Campanal Restaurant in Asturias, Spain with Chef Ángel Gonzales Riera. In 2017 she worked at the Crown Paradise Club Hotel Cancun and currently works at Casa Buen Viaje under the direction of Chef Marco Cruz of Nomada. Her primary passion is Mexican food. Expat, Sally Reid says of Juana “It’s been a great pleasure knowing her for thirteen years, to enjoy her growth, especially pursuing her passion and joy of cooking, now at a professional level. She has been fearless in following her path. To achieve her goals, she had loving support from long time resident Roslyn Colley and a frequent visitor, Sharon Segal. She sets an incredible example for today’s young women.”
Photo provided by B'ui cocina de campo
Sous chef Irene Palma
Pantry Sous chef Diana Castillo
Bu’i cocnia de campo
Chef Stephanie Ceron studied at the Coronado gastronomy school in Mexico with her first job at the restaurant-school Root, under Chef Arturo Fernández. She came to B’ui cocina de campo to work as part of the kitchen team and worked at Milpa, also owned by B’ui owner Daniel Estebaranz. Last year, she became the head chef at B’ui. Although she supervises and prepares the entire restaurant menu with her team, her passion is desserts.
Pantry Sous chef Diana Castillo is currently a student attending UTSMA and is in charge of all cold items.
Photo provided by Chef Castaneda
A graduate of the California Culinary Academy, San Francisco and the Culinary Institute of America, Greystone in Napa Valley, Ca., he became the face of El Paso Chihuahuas, a minor league baseball team, serving 8,000 – 10,000 people daily and registered on MLB.com with one of the top five ballpark foods in the US. He studied under James Beard Award winning Chef Rick Bayless at Frontera Grill and Topolobampo in Chicago, was Executive Chef at Joe DiMaggio’s Italian Chophouse in San Francisco, Executive Chef at Maria Maria La Cantina in Austin, along with owner- musician Carlos Santana and Corporate Chef Roberto Santibanez. He was the Executive Sous chef for Zibibbo, named as one of the “Best Restaurants in America” by Gourmet Magazine. He worked with Chef Roland Passot and Chef Michael Mina at Aqua, helped Chef Donnie Masterton open Azie in San Francisco and worked side by side with his culinary idols: Julia Child, Paul Bocuse and Nancy Oakes.
Hacienda de Guadalupe converted it’s once popular bar and dance floor into a new restaurant, Beélia cocina y cava, with an exciting menu and wine list. Heading up the kitchen there is Mexico City native Chef Jonathan Cuevas Fuentes, who inherited his love of cooking from his mother and grandmother, who were both cooks in Mexico City. He studied gastronomy at the Universidad del Valle de México. After graduation, he started his training in the bakery at Hotel Nikko México and continued his work at the Hotel Sheraton María Isabel, Grupo Anderson, and finally as a kitchen assistant in Au Pied de Cochon with French Chef Yann Michel Cozic. He was also the Executive Chef at Hotel Real de Minas before coming to Hacienda de Guadalupe to open Beélia cocina y cava this year.
Born in 1992 in Mexico City, he graduated with a Bachelor of Gastronomy from UTSMA SMA. He has five years of experience as a chef: at Hacienda Tres Rios, Sunset World Hotels and Resorts, Riviera Maya Cancun, and Planta Alta Restaurant in Celaya. He also staged at MiVida Restaurant in SMA for Chef Greta Ortega. He's currently the chef at Restaurant YO at Hacienda Los Picachos, forming part of an experienced team of chefs working at the restaurant.
Serving 1,000 people each weekend is no easy task but with a staff of fifty four, Chef Miguel Gallegos Miranda makes it look easy. What isn’t simple is the assignment he took on when he was hired: to make Mama Mia’s, one of the oldest and most popular tourist restaurants in SMA, more organic, incorporating food from their organic farm, Rancho Luna, located behind the Sanctuary at Atotonilco.
His progress has been impressive. Mama Mia’s is now making their own bread, pasta, and bacon, growing their own vegetables, raising hens and chickens, and growing all of the grain for their private label beer. Hechicera, the first of its brands, made its debut this year.
Chef Cesar Garcia, Marchanta Comedor
For the past seven years, Chef Cesar Garcia had the benefit of working with Chef Marco Cruz at La Estacion in Mexico City and now at Nomada Cocina de Interpretacion’s fine casual property, Marchanta Comedor, located in the old Nomada space on Nemesio Diez. Cesar graduated from Instituto Gastronomico Corbuse and worked as a nutritionist before he became a chef.
Sous chef Izacc Montalvo Gonzalez, Marsala cocina con acentosSous chef Izacc Montalvo Gonzalez felt the rhythm of Marcela Bolano’s kitchen from the get go. Originally from Orizaba, Veracruz, Chef Izacc Montalvo Gonzalez attended IES COLATE (Instituto de Estudios Superiores) in Orizaba and studied Gastronomy at UVP - Universidad Del Valle de Puebla.
Izacc is experienced, having worked as a Sous chef with Chef Pedro Martín in Azafrán Restaurant, in Candela Romero with Chef Alejandro Sánchez, a Michelin star chef in the The St. Regis Mexico City, with Chef Manuel Baños at Pitiona, Chef Juan Emilio Villaseñor, and also with Chef Juanxo Sánchez, a judge on Top Chef Mexico.
A San Miguel native, twenty three year old Chef Juan Manuel Galvin Lopez, won first place at the 2017 Chef of Guanajuato contest held at ICON University this past August. He worked for Chamonix and Hotel Real de Minas before coming to Nextia, located in Hotel Nena, to work with Chef Alonso Dominquez.
Miguel is skilled in Molecular cooking, a subdiscipline of food science that explores the transformations of ingredients that occur in cooking, it’s practiced by only a few of the best restaurants. in SMA.
Chef Pablo Nicacio, Nicasio comedor mexicano
Chef Pablo Nicacio’s resume is short but sweet. A former sous-chef for Chef Marco Cruz at La Estacion in Mexico City, B'ui cocina de campo in Otomi and Nómada Cocina de Interpretación, Pablo left to open his own restaurant, Nicasio comedor mexicano, this past fall.
We think no one has earned the title of CHEF more than Pablo.
She then worked with contemporary Mexican cuisine at María-María de Altura and later did internships at the Saffron Restaurant and at the Banyan Tree Cabo Marques Hotel in Acapulco. She left the Fairmont Pierre Marques Hotel to continue her studies. Graduating from the Universidad Tecnológica de Acapulco with a Bachelor of Gastronomy, she returned to the Hotel Pierre Mundo Imperial, formerly the Fairmont Pierre Marques Hotel, in the fine dining restaurant Tabachin, which has a Four Diamond rating. Grecia is now a Sous chef at Nomada Cocina de Interpretacion, working with chefs Marco Cruz and Sofia Antillon.
Sous chef Daniel Durán García
OCRE, cocina de fuego
Sous chef Daniel Durán García was born in 1989 in San Luis de la Paz, Guanajuato, studied at the Technological University of San Miguel de Allende and first worked with Chefs Karen Wix and Matteo Salas at Calenda. He left SMA for a short time but returned for the opening of Áperi, where he worked in pasta. He also worked at Jacinto 1930 with Chefs Israel Loyola to strengthen his techniques and knowledge of avant-garde and traditional Mexican cuisine. He traveled to Baja California, where Chef Diego Hernandez Baquedano gave him the opportunity to work at Corazón de Tierra. Daniel is back in SMA and will help Chef Xavier Piñero open OCRE next month.
Panio Atelier Du Pain
Having the best Eggs Benedict on the planet has kept me going back to the new Panio Atelier Du Pain for breakfast, where I was recently introduced to this dynamic and energetic new Sous chef, Alina Stalone.
Growing up with a father who is a chef, Armando Prats Leal, Emilia Prats learned how to cook when she was just a child. She studied at the Universidad de las Américas Puebla (UDLAP) in Culinary Arts. Now that she’s graduated, her goal is to have her own bakery, since pastry is what she loves doing the most. In the mean time, she works for her father at Prats Banquetes, which caters some of Mexico's top foods to clients around the world.
With a true passion for cooking, this chef worked his way up the ranks with hard work and a determination to succeed. Chef Hugo Ivan Velazquez Avila was born and raised in Leon Guanajuato. At age twenty, he started working as a dishwasher in small restaurant in San Francisco, Ca., finding his way out of the dishwashing area in less than a week. He progressed from the salad and appetizer station to lead Line Cook at Pacific Catch Restaurant, later helping them to open five restaurants in the bay area. He moved to Tacolicious in San Francisco and last year came to SMA to open Taco Lab and Birdies Burgers. This year, he became Chef de Cuisine at The Restaurant and will help open Fatima in 2018.
Pastry Chef Abi Verde
Chef Jesus Vazquez Reyna
Chef Mariana Gonzalez Gutierrez
Under the Table
Born in Jalisco, Chef Jesus Vazquez Reyna went to culinary school in Guadalajara. After completing his studies at ECI (Escuela Culinaria Internaciona) he worked in restaurants in Guadalajara, then in 2013, moved to San Miguel de Allende. Jesus worked for chefs Donnie Masterton at The Restaurant, Marco Cruz at Nomada and spent two years as the head chef at Matteo Salas’s restaurant, Áperi. He left Aperi to spent time in the kitchens of Chef Jonathan Gomez Luna at Le Chique, Chef Juan Emilio Villaseñor at La Cocinoteca, Chef Jesús Escalera at La Postreria and spent a season in L’astrance, a three Michelin star restaurant in Paris, with Chef Pascal Barbot. He opened Under the Table with Chef Mariana Gonzalez Gutierrez in 2018. They had their inaugural “Lucky 7” dinner at Casa Linnea, owned and operated by popular SMA chef Linnea Rufo.
Twenty five year old Mariana was born in Tijuana, Baja California and graduated from the Culinary Art School. She did an internship at Pujol when she was just nineteen and then went to Merida to work with a group of traditional Mexican cooks. She landed in San Miguel de Allende and started working in Aperi, first as Chef de partie, and then as Sous chef. Now, Chef Mariana Gonzales Gutierrez is co-owner of Under the Table, doing private dinners and pop-ups around San Miguel de Allende.