2021 Los Angeles Rising Star Chef Chuy Cervantes of Damian and Ditroit

2021 Los Angeles Rising Star Chef Chuy Cervantes of Damian and Ditroit

From his childhood home of El Paso, Jesus “Chuy” Cervantes could see Juárez from across the border. The diversity of his upbringing combined with globe-spanning trips from a young age gave him a sense of how broad the world is and that food is a universal language.

Cervantes attended the Texas Culinary Academy before moving to NYC. In 2013, he landed a spot on the opening team of Enrique Olvera’s Cosme, which later earned a place on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list, and worked his way up to sous chef after only a year. Wanting to travel and get a new skill set, he left the group but returned to New York to work under Chef Daniel Burns at the Michelin-starred, beer-centric Luksus. After two years, Cervantes took over the food program at the attached Tørst bar. 

When Olvera had plans to open his first restaurant on the West Coast, he approached Cervantes about leading the kitchen. He accepted the job, and Damian opened in 2020 with Ditroit following as an attached taquería window. At the enormous Damian, Cervantes highlights a strong nixtamalization program and the bounty of California produce in fresh Baja favorites with global influences.