Many chefs are introduced to the world of cooking at a young age- it is the foundation upon which they build to refine their cooking style and bring it to the masses. Like most chefs, Jose Mendin was introduced to food culture at a young age; unlike most chefs, however, Jose’s mother didn’t let him cook when he was growing up, and he didn’t start until he’d left home. Since so many chefs start their training at a young age, Jose was at something of a disadvantage, but as his place on this list demonstrates, he quickly made up for lost time.
After graduating cooking school at Johnson & Wales in 2011, Jose went on to become part of the team that opened Nobu in Miami and London’s Hyde Park. Despite growing up in a house that emphasized Puerto Rican cooking and culture, Jose quickly discovered a skill and affinity for Asian cuisine, and he has successfully blended the two styles at his previous solo efforts PB Steak and L’echon, and now at his main restaurant, Pubbelly.
Jose was a semi-finalist for the James Beard Foundation award for “Best Chef: South” from 2011-2015, and he has also received accolades from Food & Wine magazine, Travel + Leisure magazine, Departures magazine and The Cooking Channel.
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While Jose got his professional start at Nobu, he hasn’t forgotten his Puerto Rican roots, and in the course of his travels around Europe (including in France and Spain, where he cooked for the Prince of Spain) he has expanded his repertoire to incorporate the elements of French and Spanish cooking.
L’echon was Jose’s foray into the French brasserie style of cooking, and it received great reviews during its run. At his new effort, Pubbelly, Jose has pulled in all of the culinary elements that have served as inspiration for his cooking over the years, and the result is perhaps the most complete and conceptually daring menu in his career.
Offerings at Pubbelly include soft shell chili crab with cilantro, Sichuan oil, red curry and hazelnuts, suckling pig with mojo aioli and chicharron, sweetbreads with hot sauce, pickles and blue cheese, kimchee Bolognese with egg pappardelle, ojingochae and Korean chilies, dates with garlic chorizo, spicy tomato, goat cheese and smoked bacon, and short rib tartare with tobanjan, green mustard, pine nuts and goat toast.