José Andrés

Culinary Innovator, International Business Visionary, and Owner, ThinkFoodGroup

Exclusively WSB

Named “Outstanding Chef” by the James Beard Foundation and recognized by TIME magazine on the “Time 100” list of most influential people in the world, 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 renowned dining concepts in Washington, DC, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami and Puerto Rico. These include minibar by josé andrés, Zaytinya, Oyamel, Jaleo and China Poblano at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, The Bazaar by José Andrés at the SLS Hotel Beverly Hills and South Beach, and Mi Casa at Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve in Puerto Rico. TFG also supports José’s media, creative and education projects, as well as philanthropic and social efforts. In 2015, Andrés and his ThinkFoodGroup received the special honor “Master Entrepreneur” by the EY Entrepreneur of the Year Greater Washington awards program.

Andrés 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, Andrés 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. 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 Andrés 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, Andrés and Wilder transformed Proximo restaurants into ThinkFoodGroup. In 2010, they were awarded the Richard Melman Award from Restaurant Hospitality in recognition of their efforts to create exciting and relevant restaurant concepts. Two years later, they renovated their flagship Jaleo location to tell the story of a more modern Spain. Later in the year, Andrés realized a long time dream to build an innovative and visually stunning new home for his creative center, minibar, in the Penn Quarter with the help of renowned Spanish architect Juli Capella. Adjacent to minibar, Andrés opened barmini, his first culinary cocktail lounge. Next up, Andrés reopened America Eats Tavern, which was first introduced as a temporary collaboration with the Foundation for the National Archives, in its new, permanent home at the Ritz-Carlton Tysons Corner. Also in 2014, Andrés opened two new concepts at the SLS Hotel Las Vegas with Ku Noodle and The Bazaar Meat in Las Vegas Nevada marking an expanded partnership with the SBE entertainment group. Later in the fall, Andrés opened his Chinese-Peruvian concept, China Chilcano in the Penn Quarter of Washington, DC.

With a four-star review from The Los Angeles Times, Andrés made his mark on Los Angeles with the creation of SLS Hotels. Partnering with SBE Hotel Group and designer Philippe Starck, SLS at Beverly Hills, opened its doors in fall 2008.  As culinary director of the SLS Hotels, Andrés oversees the Food & Beverage programs for the hotels, including the signature destination restaurant The Bazaar by José Andrés. The intimate chef’s tasting room, Saam, inside the Bazaar in Beverly Hills, was also named a Top Ten Most Memorable Dining Experience by The LA Times food critic.  Quickly garnering critical acclaim, the second outpost of the SLS Hotel made its debut in Miami’s South Beach in 2012, attracting a 3.5 star review by The Miami Herald for the Bazaar by José Andrés South Beach.

Andrés brought his creative style to Las Vegas in 2010 with the opening of three restaurants at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. He exported his highly successful tapas concept, Jaleo, which was re-imagined for Las Vegas with a one-of-a-kind wood-fired paella grill. Tucked in a small private room adjacent to Jaleo’s bustling bar is one of Vegas’ great culinary treasures, é by José Andrés, an intimate 8-seat room featuring a tasting menu of Spanish avant-garde cooking. The Manila galleons that carried Spanish treasure across the Pacific in the 16th century served as inspiration for Andrés’ China Poblano, offering authentic Chinese and Mexican flavors under one roof. Conde Nast Traveler named China Poblano one of their “Hot Tables” for 2011 and Travel and Leisure called it one of the top 5 hotel hot spots in the country. In the fall of 2014, Andrés partnered again with SLS Hotels in the opening of their Las Vegas flagship with two new creations, Bazaar Meat and Ku Noodles.

Often considered the unofficial Ambassador of Spain, Andrés is the Dean of the Spanish Studies program of the International Culinary Center, the first professional program of its kind that is dedicated to the cuisine of Spain. In November of 2010, Spain’s Ministry of Culture recognized Andrés 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. Andrés is host and executive producer of the PBS series Made in Spain, a culinary journey of his homeland. His cookbooks include the companion to the PBS series, Made in Spain: Spanish Dishes for the American Kitchen and Tapas: A Taste of Spain in America. Andrés 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.

Throughout his career, Andrés has drawn the praise of the public, the press and his peers for his vision, imagination and award-winning restaurant concepts. In 2006, The Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington (RAMW) named Andrés “Chef of the Year.”  In 2010, the Vilcek Foundation, an organization honoring foreign-born Americans who have made exemplary contributions to the arts, chose Andrés as recipient of their first Prize for the Culinary Arts.  He has won the James Beard Foundation award for “Best Chef: Mid Atlantic” and was inducted into their Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America. 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 awarded the top prize for a chef with the “Outstanding Chef” award in May of 2011. That same year, he received the Duke Zeibert Capital Achievement Award in recognition of his dedication and leadership in the DC area restaurant industry from RAMW in 2011. In 2013, Andrés was awarded the Hispanic Heritage Award by the Hispanic Heritage Foundation, making him the first chef in the history of the awards to be recognized, and he was also placed in Nation’s Restaurant News’ Menu Masters Hall of Fame. In 2014, three of his concepts landed in the top 20 spots of The Opinionated About Dining’s list of Top 100 Restaurants in the U.S., and four in The Daily Meal’s 2014 101 Best Restaurants in America. Cited for his “significant contributions in the field of culinary arts, his courage to combat hate speech, and as an outstanding role model in the Latino community and the nation”, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute honored Andrés in 2015 with the 2015 “Chair’s Medallion Award.” President Obama also awarded Andrés with a National Humanities Medal for 2015 for bringing innovative techniques to the nation, "his work on clean cooking technology and access to education", and the inspiration he provides to new Americans. Andrés is one of only 175 Americans to have won this award since its inception in 1996.

Andrés 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 and Parts Unknown. He has appeared alongside late night hosts David Letterman, Conan O’Brien and Craig Ferguson, as well as daytime sensation Ellen on The Ellen Degeneres Show. 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 Press, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Financial Times, USA Today, Taste of Home, People and People en Espanol. In 2012, he was named American Chef of the Year by The Daily Meal, and has received numerous awards from respected industry authorities including Chef of the Year from Bon Appétit, Top 100 List from Saveur and Man of the Year from GQ magazine.

Andrés is also known for championing the role of chefs in the national debate on food policy. He is called on regularly to speak on a variety of issues revolving around hunger, food security, nutrition education and childhood obesity. In 2014, he was awarded Refugees International McCall-Pierpoli Humanitarian Award for his work in combating hunger worldwide. He has appeared at summits and conferences hosted by the World Economic Forum in Davos, The Atlantic, The Economist and the Clinton Global Initiative.  After traveling to post-earthquake Haiti, Andrés launched World Central Kitchen, which aims to feed and empower vulnerable people in humanitarian crises around the world. Through his leadership of WCK, Andrés joined the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves as Culinary Ambassador. This effort, championed by former 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. In 2012, Andrés was named to the American Chef Corps as part of the US State Department Diplomatic Culinary Partnership, which aims to elevate the role of culinary engagement in America’s formal and public diplomacy efforts. 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. In 2011, Andrés was called upon to serve as a member of the board of directors of the National Archives. He was named by the Secretary of Commerce to the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board. He was recently bestowed the Honorary Doctorate of Public Service at George Washington University where he also delivered the 2014 commencement address. Andrés also teaches “Science and Cooking” at Harvard University as well “The World on a Plate: How Food Shapes Civilization” at George Washington University, and writes regularly for National Geographic’s food blog, The Plate, on issues surrounding food policy. He lives in the Washington, DC area with his wife and three daughters.