2021 Dallas-Fort Worth Rising Star Game Changer Chef Junior Borges of Meridian

2021 Dallas-Fort Worth Rising Star Game Changer Chef Junior Borges of Meridian

Growing up as a member of a large family in Rio de Janeiro, Junior Borges valued the culturally-rich food that his grandmother cooked. Borges was studying to be a teacher until 2001, when he and his family moved to New York City. Unable to speak English, he spent days studying cookbooks in the aisles of Barnes & Noble and watching cooking shows until he felt comfortable enough with kitchen terminology to knock on restaurant doors. After a stint at Sony Club, Borges was hired as a cook at retro American restaurant, Diner. He then cooked under James Beard award-winning chef Missy Robbins at A Voce followed by Tom Colicchio at Colicchio & Sons. Borges enrolled in the International Culinary Center and soon after graduating, became executive chef at Mediterranean restaurant, Amali. 

While in Houston for a Brazilian food event, a Facebook post of his meal at Uchi led to a job offer. Borges became opening executive chef of Uchi’s Dallas outpost, earning the restaurant a five-star review from The Dallas Morning News. He later took on executive chef roles at Matt McCallister’s FT33, followed by The Joule hotel, helping develops many of the group’s restaurant concepts, such as Mirador and CBD Provisions. In 2019, Borges became vice president of culinary at the upscale apartment complex, The Village, where he opened Meridian in 2021. With modern Brazilian dishes like blue prawn moqueca and tapioca cheese fritters, Borges succeeds in his vision to represent a culmination of his experience as a chef and his Bahian heritage.