Corazón Celebrity Chef Fundraiser
This fundraising event is to support programs and services to individual and families living in poverty in the border communities of Tijuana and Tecate.
Please join us to contribute to this great cause and enjoy an afternoon of fun, delicious food, beverages, and philanthropy. Local Chefs with a passion for their community will donate their time and culinary talents to create a one-of-a-kind gourmet experience.
MEET THE CHEFS
Alex Chang was born in Hong Kong to a Chinese father and Mexican mother and raised in New Jersey and California. Home alone in Santa Barbara with a father gone to Tokyo, a mother working full time, and a sister off to college, Chang began carving his future career path through unfamiliar territory—the kitchen—guided by a Rachael Ray cookbook. He went to college at USC and became notorious for a pop-up called Paladar started in his apartment. He and a friend hosted dinner parties for USC students and charged a small fee for their three-course efforts. Two years in, those efforts turned into 60 covers a night, and the Paladar supper club was born. In Chang's last semester, Paladar became the subject of a documentary. And made it to TriBeCa Film Festival; it received rave reviews from Vanity Fair, Wall Street Journal, Vice Magazine, and The Huffington Post.
After graduating from college, he traveled across the globe to learn from world-renowned chefs. In Tokyo, he staged at Michelin star restaurant Les Créations de Narisawa, followed by three months at renowned Pujol and Quintonil in Mexico City. He continued developing his technique in Belgium, and was an apprentice to Kobe Desramaults, a Michelin rated restaurant, In De Wulf. Back in the States, he spent an influential two years cooking at Animal.
In 2015, Chang opened Vagabond Restaurant in Miami. He quickly rose to success in the culinary arena, elevating the Miami food scene in just a few months of taking the helm as Executive Chef. In 2016, he won a Rising Star Chef award.
In 2017, he made his way back to Los Angeles to open the Exchange, an Israeli-inspired restaurant. Chang spent time in Israel researching the restaurant and features L.A.'s multi-cultural flavors through an Israeli lens. He received a review from the Los Angeles Times Food Critic, Jonathan Gold. He was on the 2018 L.A.Times annual list of best restaurants, "101 Restaurants We Love" https://freehandhotels.com/los-angeles/the-exchange/
Maribel Aldaco Silva grew up in Ensenada, Baja California, where she studied at the Oenology & Gastronomy School, at the Universidad Autónoma de Baja California. Her first exposure to pastry was at age 7, when her best friend taught her how to make cakes and cookies from scratch. She then started her career as a practitioner for Chef Jair Téllez at ‘Restaurante del Parque’ and ‘Laja’. At age 19, she moved to Mexico City and worked at Merotoro and Jaso, it was at these two restaurants where she developed her cooking skills, but she has always felt more inclined towards confectionery.
In 2012, Maribel wanted to keep learning and went to work at Martín Berastegui, a 3 Michelin stars restaurant in San Sebastián. She then moved to New York and worked for Dan Barber on Blue Hill at Stone Barns and for chef Daniel Humm at The Nomad Hotel, here is where she perfected her confectionery skills, including service production, pastry and viennoiserie.
In 2015, she moved to San Francisco to work at the opening of Cala restaurant alongside Gabriela Cámara and David Castro. Later on she worked at Quince (3 Michelin stars) for chefs Shawn Gawle and Michael Tusk. It was in 2017, when she was offered the opportunity to go back home for the opening of Fauna restaurant at Bruma in Valle de Guadalupe. She is the the pastry chef and her specialty is confectioneries. https://faunarestaurante.mx
David Castro Hussong
David Castro Hussong was born in Ensenada, B.C .on 1990, and graduated from the French Culinary Institute ICC in Campbell, CA. He comes from a family dedicated to the culinary world for generations, and started cooking at the young age of 13. His first job was working at ‘Hotel Punta Morro’ with chef Juan Antonio Hussong and later on at ‘Sano’s Steak House’ with Juan Hussong and ‘Laja’ with Jair Téllez.
After high school he decided to move to San Diego, CA where he worked at ‘Barbarella’s’ and ‘El Take It Easy’. A few years later the opportunity he had the work again with Jair Téllez, for the opening of ‘Merotoro’ in Mexico City. To expand his culinary talents and in search of something different he moved to Copenhagen, Denmark for three months where he was a stage at ‘Noma’.
In 2013 he moved to New York where he worked with Dan Barber at ‘Blue Hill at Stone Barns’ and ‘Blue Hill’ in Manhattan. He later worked for Chef Daniel Humm at ‘Eleven Madison Park’ a 3 Michelin star restaurant. In 2015, he opened ‘Cala Restaurante’ as kitchen chef in San Francisco, CA, alongside Gabriela Cámara. In 2017, he was offered the opportunity to open ‘Fauna’. David is the executive chef at Fauna, the restaurant inside Bruma, a resort in the Valle de Guadalupe. The New York Times, Food & Wine, and Sunset magazine wrote about the luxuriously rustic restaurant in Baja’s Valle de Guadalupe wine country within days of its debut. A slew of influential publications and websites followed, including Forbes, the Robb Report and the Independent in London. “Consider Fauna a stunning homecoming for a chef returning to his hometown after a first-class world tour,” wrote the Robb Report, which caters to an ultra-luxe audience.
ORYX Capital | Tijuana, MX
Chef Ruffo was raised in Tijuana, home to one of the most active borders of the planet. He has enjoyed cooking since he was a kid, and appreciated the time he had with his mother in the kitchen. His father was not so excited about him pursuing a career as a chef, but his father recognized the vision and passion he had for cooking.
Ruffo started working during the day at the Gran Hotel Tijuana for free, and at night worked at Baci in San Diego. To further his craft, he enrolled in the Culinary Art School in Tijuana. He worked for Javier Plascencia at Romesco in San Diego, California. His culinary ambitions continued to grow and he traveled to Europe where he staged for Jesús Sánchez at Cenador de Amos, a restaurant with two Michelin stars in Cantabria, Spain. Ruffo came back more inspired than ever and with much more experience and launched a catering business.
In 2015, he opened his first restaurant, Oryx Capital, that offers a fusion between Cali-Baja. And six months later he opened a bar Nortico, a family business venture. Recently, he traveled to Modena, Italy to cook and learn from Massimo Bottura in Osteria Francescana. When he came back, he was named Promesa Culinaria, which means the Culinary Promise, by the Todos Santos magazine. Oryx Capital was named Restaurant of the year by CANIRAC from Baja California.
Jose Arnulfo Sandoval
Chef Jose Arnulfo Sandoval was born in Culiacan, Sinaloa, Mexico. He grew up on a farm where his family raised cattle and poultry and harvested fruits and vegetables to sell to the local town markets and kitchens. His family celebrations, big or small, always centered around food, and he acquired a discriminating palate and an early interest in the kitchen. He frequented the local restaurants in his hometown and learned about the many indigenous flavors of the region. His passion and desire to learn more about the culinary world took him to Puebla, Mexico, where he received his formal culinary training at Maria Reyna Escuela de Gastronomia. Although Arnulfo also took courses in hospitality management, his focus and love were always the culinary arts, and got a degree in gastronomy.
While completing his formal education and upon his graduation, Arnulfo had the opportunity to work with many recognized chefs. He worked alongside Chef Olivier Le Calvez, Executive Chef of China Grill Mexico, at the Camino Real Hotel, who motivated him to create more progressive and creative dishes. Arnulfo also worked with Corporate Chef, Frederic Lejars from Camino Real Hotels, and opened the first project in Monterrey, Mexico KYO Grill. He worked for La Palapa in Puerto Vallarta with Chef Pablo Luna and for two years served as Executive Chef at WA Teppen, a popular Japanese restaurant in Mexico City. His love for Asian cuisine has inspired him to merge the robust Mexican and Japanese cuisines. He was an Instructor Chef at the Culinary Institute in Monterrey and Colegio Gastronomico International in Guadalajara, which he describes as one of the most enriching experiences in his life. He opened his own restaurant Naawa, combining the rich flavors and experiences of his beloved Sinaloa.
Food and Beverage Director
Born in San Francisco, California and raised in New York. Ramzi’s obsession with food and hospitality began in the kitchen, cooking his first meals for friends and family at the age of 6.
Ramzi worked as a marketing manager after receiving a Bachelor’s in Business from Boston University. In 2011, inspired by an unbelievable meal at Eleven Madison Park, Ramzi decided to leave the corporate world to commit to a career in the restaurant industry. In the three years he was at EMP, Ramzi represented the restaurant as Head Maître D’ and worked through virtually every dining room position, during which EMP received its third Michelin star and climbed San Pellegrino’s World 50 Best list (eventually landing at #1 in 2017).
He left Eleven Madison Park in 2014 to become the Front Office Manager at The Standard, East Village and, after a year, came back to the Make It Nice family as a dining room manager at The NoMad. He quickly rose through the ranks, taking over the hiring and training for the group’s New York projects.
In 2017, Ramzi was offered the chance to move back to California as part of the opening team of NoMad Los Angeles and served as General Manager to over 250 employees for all four of NoMad’s food & beverage outlets until March 2018.