Chef Louis Maldonado of Aziza - Biography

San Francisco, CA

June 2010
Louis Maldonado’s cooking career didn’t begin as conventionally as others’. Growing up in Northern California, Maldonado was surrounded by his family’s karate business and was on the path to inherit this lifestyle. But in 2001, seeking a change, Maldonado enrolled in the California Culinary Academy.

After graduating, Maldonado worked at One Market under Chef Adrian Hoffman, where he cemented fundamental cooking skills. In 2004, Maldonado was part of the opening team at Cortez where he was mentored by chef-owners Quinn and Karen Hatfield. He was promoted to co-executive chef in 2006, and under his direction Cortez was awarded one Michelin star.

In 2008, Maldonado joined the team at The French Laundry where he worked under another one of his mentors, then Chef de Cuisine Corey Lee. After a very rewarding and humbling year with Lee, Maldonado assumed the executive chef position at Cafe Majestic in San Francisco, where he was awarded the Rising Star Chef award by the San Francisco Chronicle.

The closing of Cafe Majestic marked a time of contemplation while enjoying the company of his wife and newborn son. A few months later, Maldonado landed with acclaimed San Francisco Chef Mourad Lahlou at Aziza, where he found a partnership that is consistent with his culinary vision. Maldonado feels at home at Aziza, where he is able to push the limits of both Moroccan and San Franciscan cuisine.