Rising Star Chef Peter Vazquez of Mimi's Restaurant - Biography

River Ridge, LA

November 2011

Chef Peter Vazquez was born near Pittsburgh, PA in 1965. He was blessed with the rich culinary heritage of his father’s Puerto Rican recipes and his mother’s Dutch cooking. Raising chickens and harvesting wild mushrooms were two key activities in his household. His mother was always in the kitchen, preparing meals for her family, including Peter’s six siblings.

His parents moved the family to Williamsburg, VA, where Vazquez got his first job in a kitchen as a dishwasher. The chef at the Williamsburg Regency Inn recognized his potential and took him on as apprentice. Vazquez soaked up everything he could learn there, and moved on to Trellis Restaurant.

After working with several chefs, Vazquez got his big break in 1986, when he was hired as chef de cuisine at Mr. Patrick Henry’s Inn in Richmond, VA. He worked there for three years, planning menus, creating desserts, and cooking up a storm.

In 1989, Peter was named executive chef at Millie’s Restaurant, also in Richmond. The eclectic and ever-changing menu attracted local and national press, including Gourmet Magazine.

Vazquez became executive chef at Thyme Square in Bethesda, MD in 1995. It quickly became a busy, well-known restaurant, attracting well-to-do suburbanites and politicos alike. It featured seafood, pasta and vegetarian cuisine. During this time, he also performed many demonstrations at charity events.

In 1996, Vazquez married his wife, Janis(whom he has now separated with). They opened Marisol in New Orleans, LA together, where Vazquez was awarded four “beans” from the Times-Picayune, highlighted in Gourmet, Travel & Leisure, Fortune and Wine & Spirits, and earned him a 2003 StarChefs.com Rising Stars Award. New Orleans Magazine also featured Peter as the “Best New Chef” of 1999. After the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Vasquez returned to the culinary scene in Louisiana, becoming the executive chef at Mimi's Restaurant in 2011.