Rising Star Chef Yun Fuentes of JG Domestic - Biography
Yun Fuentes’s first industry job—as a Hamburglar costume-clad McDonald’s birthday attendant—wasn’t exactly glamorous. And though his second saw him arm deep in suds as a dishwasher, it got him into the kitchen, where he proved himself an able cook. Moving from the dish basin to the stove, Fuentes realized just how much he had to learn. And that initial spark of curiosity fueled his ascent in the industry.
In the 1990s, Fuentes worked the restaurant circuit in his native Old San Juan. He cooked under Roberto Treviño at The Parrot Club and served as the first chef de cuisine at Blue Agave Bar & Grill, where he worked with Richard Sandoval. To push his knowledge and comfort zone, Fuentes left Puerto Rico for New York City, where he landed at Patria, followed by stints at El Zocalo, and Pipa and Lucy Latin Kitchen in the ABC Building. Eventually, Fuentes found his way to Jean-Georges Vongerichten kitchens—all the while continuing to stage.
Fuentes finally found a culinary home in Philadelphia, working on the Amada salad station for Rising Star Chef Jose Garces. Fuentes impressed his new mentor Garces and soon had the chance to take on more responsibility and the role of chef de cuisine. Moving within the Garces Group, Fuentes worked at Tinto and Village Whiskey before taking over as chef de cuisineat JG Domestic, where he earned a 2013 StarChefs.com Philadelphia Rising Stars Chef Award.