I am presently a Professor at The Culinary Institute of America, in Hyde Park, New York, teaching the Cafe Operations class for the Baking and Pastry program. I am in charge of the Apple Pie Bakery and Cafe,, where students work in the different areas that compose a cafe: breakfast pastries and bread, pastry, savory, frozen desserts and chocolates and confections. I have worked at the CIA since April 2005, where I was named 2007 Faculty Member of the Year.
My previous job was Executive Pastry Chef for The French Laundry, Bouchon Bakery and Bouchon Bistro in Yountville, CA. All of these establishments are owned by Thomas Keller. The French Laundry is perhaps one of the best restaurants in the world, and I was fortunate enough to head the baking and pastry production for this establishment, as well as Bouchon Bakery and Bouchon Bistro simultaneously.
I have also worked at a number of upscale restaurants in New York City such as Veritas, Ilo and The River Cafe. At Veritas and The River Cafe I was the head pastry chef. At Ilo I was the pastry sous-chef. All of these establishments are held in high regard for the quality of food and service they offer.
As for my culinary training, I spent a year in France on a full scholarship at the Lycee d'Hotellerie et de Tourisme in Strasbourg. I further refined my education with The Culinary Institute of America's program in Mexico City, where I was born and raised. I not only studied during this time, I also worked for free wherever I could to get real world, hands-on experience.
Growing up in Mexico City, my experience with the culinary world began at a very young age. I am the son of an Italian-American mother and a Spanish father, and food proved to be an integral part of every day life. Although I had never considered the culinary field as a career until I was in my mid-teens, I found my interest in food to be a natural progression that ultimately developed into a passion and a successful career.
I am fluent in Spanish, English and French. I can read and understand Italian. This has enabled me to have access to culinary books that are only published in those languages, furthering my knowledge of food.
Having worked at The French Laundry was one of the most satisfying achievements of my career. Precision, consistency, knowledge, organization, cleanliness, and leadership were constantly put to the test. Thomas Keller wouldn't have it any other way, and neither would I. Day in and day out, it was these skills that kept my part of the kitchen running. The only way to stay on top was to master all the skills that I had honed throughout my education and career. The education process never stops. You need to keep up with new trends, techniques, products, notable pastry chefs, notable restaurants, awareness of the industry and technology.