Nine Mexican Culinary Superstar Chefs To Watch (w/video)


Chef Iliana de la Vega
From Food Network personalities and chefs preserving Mexican history to chefs making a name for themselves by making Italian food, here’s a list of nine Mexican culinary stars creating quite a buzz with inspiring examples of both cutting-edge and traditional Mexican food and heritage.
This list was compiled by More information about each of the chefs is available on its website.  Some of the chefs work in restaurants as close as New York City.

Top 9 Mexican Chefs

  • Aaron Sanchez: Sanchez is best known from Food Network shows like “Chef vs. City” and “Chopped,” He has published two cookbooks and has gained a reputation for revamping Nuevo Latino cuisine and putting a fresh spin on classic Mexican dishes.
  • Iliana de la Vega: Chef Iliana de la Vega is a teacher at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in San Antonio, Texas, spreading time-honored techniques on traditional Mexican cuisine to a new generation of chefs. Watch the video below of her preparing Albondigas al Chipotle (meatballs in chipotle sauce).
  • Roberto Santibanez: Santibanez is known for making Mexican trendy in New York City. The Mexico City native was the power behind the success of the chain Rosa Mexicana, two fonda restaurants in New York City and many concept torta restaurants throughout the country.
  • Julieta Ballesteros: Ballesteros got attention from her appearance on Food Network’s “Iron Chef,” but she is also known in culinary circles as one of New York City’s best chefs. 
  • Julian Medina: Medina owns four pan-Latin restaurants and is credited with setting new, progressive standards for food. His more prominent New York City restaurants include Coppelia and Toloache.
  • Matt Molina: Molina, a James Beard award finalist, uses his Latino penchant for fresh ingredients to transform Italian cooking. He is the executive chef at the famed Pizzeria Mozza and Osteria Mozza in Los Angeles. 
  • Silvana Salcido Esparza: Esparza describes her Mexican food as “comida chingona.” Esparza lives in Arizona and was a semi-finalist for the James Beard Foundation’s Award for “Best Chef Southwest” earlier this year. 
  • Johnny Hernandez: Chef Hernandez was born and raised in Texas and focuses on Tejano fare. He has become an authority on Tex-Mex food and is considered one of the best Mexican cuisine chefs in the country. 
  • Chef Hugo Ortega: Ortega grew up in Puebla, Mexico and has a Mexican restaurant and a cookbook, “Hugo Ortega’s Street Food of Mexico.”