Hailed as the “boy wonder of culinary Washington” by The New York Times and considered Spain’s unofficial culinary ambassador, José Andrés is known for bringing both traditional and avant garde Spanish cuisine to America. Born in Mieres, Spain, in 1969, Andrés began cooking at an early age helping his mother bake by the time he was eight; creating complex dishes like paella by the age of 12, and by 16 excelling at the renowned culinary academy, La Escola de Restauració i Hostalatge de Barcelona. While attending culinary school, Andrés acquired practical experience by apprenticing at restaurant el Bulli under chef and mentor Ferran Adrià.
Andrés left his native land for New York City to prove his mettle in 1990. A few years later, he moved to Washington, DC to become chef and partner at Jaleo, a job that would turn into a career partnership and bring many more restaurants under the umbrella of ThinkFoodGroup. Café Atlantico and a second Jaleo soon followed; Zaytinya, a Mediterranean restaurant featuring mezzes, and the six-seat minibar (located in Café Atlantico), featuring an ever-changing menu of 33 high-concept alta cocina dishes, opened in the early 00s. A Mexican small-dish restaurant, called Oyamel, was next.
In 2008, Andrés and TFG along with partners at SBE Hotel Group and designer Philippe Starck opened the first SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills, launching a new luxury hotel brand. The signature restaurant, The Bazaar by José Andrés, received LA’s only four-star review from the Los Angeles Times.
Since moving to Washington, DC a decade ago, Andrés has earned numerous honors. Andrés was nominated in both 2008 and 2009 for The James Beard Outstanding Chef Award, and in 2003, he was named The James Beard “Best Chef of the Mid-Atlantic Region.” Additionally, he serves as contributing editor of Food Arts magazine, a member of the StarChefs.com Advisory Board, and is the chairman of the board of DC Central Kitchen, a non-profit organization that feeds the homeless and trains people for careers in the food service. In 2001, the organization recognized Andrés as the “Chef/ Partner of Distinction,” as part of a program that honors outstanding “Partnership in Job Training.”
Every summer Andrés travels to Spain to visit family and to work in his mentor’s restaurant, el Bulli, for several weeks. When not in a kitchen or hosting his PBS series “Made in Spain,” the chef is making appearances or traveling.