Growing up in Mexico City, Richard Sandoval would join his grandmother in the kitchen and gather around her large table with family to enjoy lively Mexican feasts prepared from scratch. From his grandmother, he learned to respect fresh, authentic, ingredients and to create the vibrant flavors that turned family dinners into celebrated events. Meanwhile, his restaurateur father- owner of Madeiras in Acapulco and Villa Fiore in Mexico City- imparted lessons in service and restaurant management.
These early influences inspired Sandoval to enroll at the Culinary Institute of America. Upon graduation, he gained the attention of New Yorkers with his contemporary French restaurants, Savann and Savann Est. Soon, though, he returned to his first love â€“ the food of his childhood and in 1997 opened Maya, his flagship modern Mexican restaurant in New York.
During the past 15 years Sandoval’s career as a chef and restaurateur has evolved to include serving as a culinary consultant and television personality. Richard Sandoval Restaurants (RSR) is now a leading international restaurant group with over 35 concepts spanning Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Nevada, New York, Virginia and Washington, D.C., as well as in Dubai, Mexico, Qatar and Serbia. Richard Sandoval Restaurants was recently named as one of the “25 Coolest Multi-concept Companies” by Restaurant Hospitality magazine.
With the broad range of restaurants in his portfolio, Chef Sandoval combines authentic Latin ingredients with international flavors and inventive techniques, to create new and unexpected concepts and cuisines such as modern and coastal Mexican, Latin-Asian, Colombian, Peruvian and Pan-Latin.
Chef Sandoval has entered into creative partnerships over the years. In 2003, he opened Pampano in New York City with world-renowned opera star Placido Domingo. The same year, he partnered with Peruvian chef Jaime Pesaque of Mayta restaurant in Lima to open Raymi, also in New York City.
In Washington, D.C., Sandoval partnered with noted sushi chef Kaz Okochi and restaurateur Ivan Iricanin to open Masa 14 and El Centro D. F., as well as to consult on Ambar, the city’s first Eastern European restaurant. Sandoval and Iricanin collaborated again to introduce Pan-Latin cuisine to Serbia with the opening of Toro Latin GastroBar in Belgrade.
Sandoval has developed menus for American Airlines First Class cabin, as well as many of the world’s leading hotels. He is equally passionate about tequila and has curated one of the largest collections in North America and the Middle East and aspires to educate diners on their quality and diversity. A frequent participant at international food and wine festivals, Sandoval’s recent television appearances include competing on the current season of Bravo’s “Top Chef Masters.”
When not cooking, Sandoval is passionate about training the chefs of the future. He supports their growth on the Board of Trustees at his alma mater, the Culinary Institute of America. For his work, he has been awarded Mexico’s National Toque d’Oro 2003, Bon Appetit Restaurateur of the Year 2006 and Cordon d’Or Restaurateur of the Year 2012. Earlier this year, Market Watch named him On Premise Player of the Year 2013.
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