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José Andrés

Owner & Chef

Named “Outstanding Chef” by the James Beard Foundation in 2011, José Andrés is an internationally-recognized culinary innovator, passionate advocate for food and hunger issues, author, television personality and chef/owner of ThinkFoodGroup. TFG is the team responsible for Washington, DC’s renowned dining concepts JaleoZaytinyaOyamel, and minibar by José Andrés, as well as The Bazaar by José Andrés at the SLS Hotel at Beverly Hills. His recent restaurant openings include Jaleo, China Poblano, and é by José Andrés at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas and America Eats Tavern in Washington, DC, a collaboration with the National Archives. Next he will open in Miami with the SLS Hotel South Beach and The Bazaar by José Andrés. Later in 2012 he will present his first dining destination outside the US, in Puerto Rico at Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve. TFG also supports Jose’s media, branding and creative projects as well as philanthropic and social efforts. 

Conde Nast Traveler’s “Hot Restaurateur” in 2011, José is credited with introducing Americans to both avant-garde and traditional Spanish cooking. Born in the northern region of Asturias and raised outside of Barcelona, José chose cooking as his life’s work at the age of 15. He attended the School of Restaurants and Hotels of Barcelona and trained in Michelin-starred restaurants including elBulli with world-renowned Master Chef and friend Ferran Adrià. He made his way to the U.S. and then to DC to work with Rob Wilder and Roberto Alvarez’s Proximo restaurants. Heading up the kitchen at Jaleo, he helped create one of the first critically and commercially successful tapas restaurants in the country, setting the standard for other Spanish and small plate restaurants to follow. José next took over the kitchen at Café Atlantico, a popular DC hangout, transforming it into one of the city’s most exciting dining destinations. Mediterranean-inspired Zaytinya followed soon after and then Oyamel Cocina Mexicana. With the opening of his innovative minibar by josé andrés in 2003, Food & Wine hailed José as the “hero of the Spanish revolution,” who “helped create the Spanish food boom in America.” And the New York Times called him “the boy wonder of culinary Washington.”  In 2006, José and Rob transformed Proximo restaurants into ThinkFoodGroup.  In 2010, José and Rob were awarded the Richard Melman Award from Restaurant Hospitality in recognition of their efforts to create exciting and relevant restaurant concepts.

With a four-star review from the Los Angeles Times, José made his mark on Los Angeles with the creation of SLS Hotels. ThinkFoodGroup partnered with SBE Hotel Group and designer Philippe Starck to create a new luxury hotel experience. The first property, SLS at Beverly Hills, opened its doors in fall 2008. José and the TFG team oversee the food & beverage program for the hotel, including the signature destination restaurant The Bazaar by José Andrés, named Best New Restaurant of 2009 by Esquire magazine. Zagat gave The Bazaar Top Newcomer in 2009 and honored it as one of the Top Ten Best New Restaurants of the Decade. The intimate chef’s tasting room, Saam, inside the Bazaar was also named a Top Ten Most Memorable Dining Experience in 2009 by the LA Times food critic. SLS Hotels and The Bazaar by José Andrés next open in Miami in 2012. 

José brought his creative style to Las Vegas in late 2010 with the opening of three restaurants at the all-new casino-hotel complex, The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. José exported a version of his highly successful tapas concept, Jaleo, re-imagined for Las Vegas. The sprawling space designed by the award-winning Rockwell Group is dominated by a one of a kind wood fired paella grill. Tucked away in a small private room adjacent to Jaleo’s bustling bar and paella grill, é by José Andrés is an intimate 8-seat room featuring a tasting menu of Spanish avant-garde cooking. Set against a dramatic red glass wall and red velvet curtain, the space is a nod to the chef’s concept of cooking as performance. The Manila galleons that carried Spanish treasure across the Pacific in the 16th century served as inspiration for José’s China Poblano, a restaurant offering authentic Chinese and Mexican flavors under one roof. Conde Nast Traveler named China Poblano one of their “Hot Tables” for 2011 and Frommers.com named it one of the “10 Best New Urban Restaurants.”

Often referred to as Spain’s unofficial ambassador, José is host and executive producer of the PBS series Made in Spain, a culinary journey of his homeland. He has authored several cookbooks including the companion to the PBS series, Made in Spain: Spanish Dishes for the American Kitchen and Tapas: A Taste of Spain in America. José is also a television star in Spain, where his production “Vamos a Cocinar” on Televisión Española (TVE) was the country’s most popular cooking program, revolutionizing food television in Spain. It now airs across Latin America and in some American markets on the Casa Club cable network. In November of 2010, Spain’s Ministry of Culture recognized José with the prestigious Order of Arts and Letter medallion, honoring his efforts to promote Spanish culture abroad. He is the first chef to receive this award presented by the Government of Spain.

Throughout his career, José has drawn the praise of the public, the press and his peers for his vision, imagination and winning restaurant concepts. In 2003, he won the James Beard Foundation (JBF) award for “Best Chef: Mid Atlantic” and the JBF inducted him into their Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America in 2007. His restaurants Zaytinya in Washington, DC (2003) and The Bazaar by José Andrés in LA (2009) were both nominated for JBF’s Best New Restaurant. After several nominations, Jose was finally awarded the top prize for a chef by the James Beard Foundation with the “Outstanding Chef” award in May of 2011. The Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington (RAMW) gave José the Duke Zeibert Capital Achievement Award in June 2011 in recognition of his dedication and leadership in the DC area restaurant industry.  RAMW also named José “Chef of the Year” in 2006. In 2010, the Vilcek Foundation, an organization honoring foreign-born Americans who have made exemplary contributions to the arts or biomedical research, chose José as recipient of their first Prize for the Culinary Arts.

José was profiled on CBS’ prestigious “60 Minutes” and regularly appears on television and radio with spots on NBC’s “Today”, ABC’s “Nightline”, NPR’s “Splendid Table” and “All Things Considered”, Food Network’s “Iron Chef”, Bravo’s “Top Chef” and Tony Bourdain’s “No Reservations.” He has appeared alongside late night hosts David Letterman, Conan O’Brien and Craig Ferguson. The Bravo Network awarded him the prize for A-List chef at their first ever Bravo A-List Awards in 2008. He is a favorite feature of the food and business press, appearing in the Associated PressNew York Times,Wall Street JournalWashington PostLos Angeles TimesFinancial TimesUSA TodayTaste of HomePeople andPeople en Espanol. In 2004, Bon Appétit magazine named José “Chef of the Year” and Saveur included José on their “Saveur 100” list.

José is also known for championing the role of chefs in the national debate on food policy. He is a sought after speaker on a variety of issues including hunger, food security, nutrition education and childhood obesity.  He has appeared at summits and conferences hosted by the The AtlanticThe Economist and the Clinton Global Initiative.  After traveling to post-earthquake Haiti, José launched World Central Kitchen, which aims to feed and empower vulnerable people in humanitarian crises around the world. Through his leadership of WCK, José has now joined the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves as Culinary Ambassador. This effort, championed by Secretary Hillary Clinton, works to raise awareness of the harmful effects of inefficient and toxic cooking in the developing world and to promote new alternative technologies. He is Chairman Emeritus for DC Central Kitchen, an organization that combats hunger and creates opportunities with culinary training where he has been involved for the past 20 years. As a frequent visitor of the White House, he is also a supporter of First Lady Michelle Obama´s “Let’s Move” anti-obesity campaign for which he has held healthy cooking demonstrations. Recently José was called upon to serve as a new member of the board of directors of the National Archives. He teaches at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences as part of the course “Science and Cooking.” He lives in Bethesda, Maryland with his wife and three daughters.


My Speakers Sessions

Wednesday, October 17

9:00pm CDT