Chef Douglas Rodriguez, the globally acclaimed Godfather of Nuevo Latino Cuisine, blazed the trail and has inspired Chefs around the world and his culinary creativity has changed the image of Latino food in America.
Chef Rodriguez, 50, a son of Cuban immigrants, was raised in Miami. He grew up with the sights, smells and tastes of Cuban/American cuisine and developed a passion for food early on. By the age of 13, he had a collection of cookbooks, pots and pans, and was developing and preparing original concepts. At 14, he landed his first restaurant job as a summer apprentice at The Four Ambassadors Hotel in Miami. After high school, he gained more experience at the prestigious Hilton Hotel Fontainebleau in Miami Beach before honing his skills and techniques at Johnson and Wales University in Providence, Returning to Miami, Rodriguez worked at the Sonesta Beach Hotel and Wet Paint Cafe. In 1989 he opened Yuca, an upscale Cuban style restaurant in Coral Gables. Yuca was a success, and at age 24, Chef Rodriguez was a celebrated Miami chef, winning the “Chef of the Year, Miami” award from The Chefs of America and receiving his first and second “Rising Chef of the Year” nominations by The James Beard Foundation. While Yuca served distinctly Cuban cuisine, Rodriguez constantly studied new flavors, ingredients and ideas from his staff, which hailed from a variety of Latin American countries. Soon after, he headed straight for New York City.
Rodriguez became the executive chef and co-owner of the phenomenally successful Patria, which opened in 1994 in New York City. It was the laboratory for his new cuisine, which he called “Nuevo Latino”. Patria received a three star review in the New York Times and accolades from The New Yorker and Gourmet among others. After Patria, Rodriguez opened Chicama, a Peruvian Ceviche bar, to 2 stars in the New York Times followed by Pipa, a Tapas bar that became one of the favorite spots for New Yorkers.
In 2001 Rodriguez joins forces with Restaurateur Stephen Starr and Open the acclaimed Alma De Cuba in Philadelphia. That continue to be one of The Best Restaurants in Philadelphia. Newsweek selected Rodriguez as one of the 100 Americans that will influence the coming millennium. In 2009, Rodriguez was one of the distinguished culinary elite to be on the First Season of Top Chef Masters on Bravo. Rodriguez has been featured in a myriad of national publications including Food and Wine, Metropolitan Home, Esquire, and Bon Appétit. He has made numerous television appearances including The Late Show with David Letterman, Good Morning America, The Today Show, and CBS Weekend This Morning.
In 1994, the Fine Beverage and Food Federation elected Mr. Rodriguez as the Culinary Master of North America and the New York Culinary Master. He received the prestigious James Beard Foundation’s Rising Star Chef of the Year Award in 1996 and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate degree from Johnson and Wales University in May 1998. Most recently, Rodriguez was nominated again by the James Beard Foundation for Best Chef South Florida in 2008 and 2009. In July 2010, Rodriguez received the Lifetime Achievement Award from Flavors of Passion Awards. Rodriguez is a member of the Chef Conclave for American Airlines.
Rodriguez is the author of Nuevo Latino (published in 1995), Latin Ladles (published in 1997), and Latin Flavors on the Grill (published in 2000). He has been signed by a major publisher to complete a four book series as well. Prompted by huge demand, Rodriguez just released a revised copy of The Great Ceviche Book originally published in 2003.
On September 18, 2014 Vanidades Magazine honor Chef Douglas Rodriguez with the prestigious awards Icon Style Award of Lifestyle. Last year started D-Rod Culinary Adventures where he’s been conducting Culinary Tours.