Jose Andres was born in the town of Mieres in Asturias, Spain in 1969. Growing up in a family where cooking skills are deeply rooted in Mediterranean heritage, Andres was practically born to cook. At the age of 8, Andres began helping his mother bake. At age 12, he was making complex dishes like paella for his family and by the time Andres turned 16, he was already enrolled in the renowned Escola de Restauracio I Hostalatge de Barcelona. While attending culinary school, Andres acquired practical experience by apprenticing at restaurant El Bullí under celebrated master chef and mentor Ferrán Adria.
Upon graduating in 1990, Andres moved to New York City to work for the Barcelona-based restaurant El Dorado Petit. In 1993, after two and a half years, Andres moved to Washington D.C. to become a chef and partner of Jaleo Spanish restaurant. Andres’ decision to move south proved to be a smart one. Shortly after he began work at Jaleo, Andres took on the role of executive chef at Café Atlantico and executive chef/ partner at the second Jaleo in nearby Bethesda, Maryland. In October 2002, he became executive chef/ partner at Zaytinya, a Mediterranean restaurant featuring mezzes (small dishes). His latest endeavor is Café Atlantico’s new six-seat minibar, where the ever-changing menu showcases 33 small dishes that intrigue the palate and the imagination of his guests. In 2004, he will open Oyamel, a Mexican small dishes restaurant and a new Jaleo in Crystal City, Virginia with partners Rob Wilder and Roberto Alvarez.
Since moving to Washington D.C over ten years ago, Andres has earned many honors and awards. In May 2003, The James Beard Foundation named Andres “Best chef of the mid-Atlantic Region.” In addition, Andres is in persistent demand for guest appearances at food festivals, demonstrations and cooking classes all of the United States as well as in Spain.
Although he has won acclaim in the United States, Andres never overlooks his roots. Every summer he travels to Spain to visit family and get back to work in his mentor’s restaurant, El Bullí, for two to three weeks.
When not making appearances or traveling, Andres serves as the Chair of the Board of D.C. Central Kitchen, a non-profit organization that feeds the homeless and trains people for careers in the food service. In 2001, the organization recognized Andres as the “Chef/ Partner of Distinction,” as part of a program that honors outstanding “Partnership in Job Training.”