Chef Gabriela Ruiz
Gabriela Ruíz is the chef and owner of the Mexican restaurants Vuelve Carmela (Tabasco), Carmela & Sal (Mexico City) and the new Siempre Carmela. (Mexico City, Online).
Ruíz has been invited by Stanford University and Berkeley University to the Food Innovation & Design Symposium. She has also been a speaker at the world-renowned Culinary Institute of America, at its headquarters in California and Texas.
In December 2017, she opened the multi-award-winning Carmela & Sal restaurant, which was chosen as the "Best New Restaurant in Mexico" by Food and Travel Magazine's Reader Awards. Carmela & Sal has also won the Travel and Leisure Gourmet Awards for the best cocktail menu in the country.
Gabriela Ruiz has participated in Mexican cuisine festivals in the United States, Russia, Germany, and India, and has achieved great milestones such as being recognized with the "Young Masters" award, granted by the Salon del Gusto Millesime Mexico, and as "Chef of the Year" (2019) by a council of 60 personalities from the world of gastronomy in the Gastronomic Guide Mexico, The 120 Restaurants 2019, Culinaria Mexicana, S. Pellegrino, and Nespresso.
In 2019, chef Gabriela Ruiz was named one of the 100 most powerful women in Mexico by Forbes magazine. That same year she worked on a project of synesthesia in the kitchen, for which she created dishes inspired by musical compositions for artists such as Miguel Bosé, Aleks Syntek, Leonel García, Lila Downs, Ximena Sariñana, and Monsieur Periné.
Chef Carlos Gaytán
Carlos Gaytán was born in Huitzuco, Gerrero, Mexico in 1970. From a young age, Gaytán fell in love with cooking, where he could explore full flavor spectrums while perfecting heirloom recipes alongside his mother, Doña Teté.
At 20 years of age, he craved a new adventure and set his sights on Chicago, Illinois. Little did he know that the journey would inspire a seismic life shift and solidify his dedication to a career in gastronomy. Gaytáns culinary path began at the Sheraton North Shore Hotel, where he worked as a dishwasher and cook. Carlos quickly rose through the industry ranks, continuing as the chef-garden manager and banquet chef at the Union League Club of Chicago, and ultimately landed under the tutelage of esteemed Chef Dominique Tougne at Chicago’s beloved Bistro Margot, where he served as chef de cuisine. There, Carlos’ passion for French technique blossomed in full. Far from home and on his own, the road wasn’t always easy. Despite a number of obstacles, Carlos Gaytán climbed a thorny path to eventually realize his dream of owning his own restaurant, Mexique. The verdict soon came: With a seamless unification of his Mexican heritage and his love of French culinary style, he became the first Mexican-born chef to earn a coveted Michelin star in 2013. He retained the star in 2014.
In 2018, Mexique closed. With a deep-seeded desire to grow and reconnect with his roots, Carlos Gaytán vowed to return to Chicago. In the meantime, he journeyed to Mexico: he cooked, studied, traveled, and worked on new projects that allowed him to rediscover his origins and deepen his understanding of his own heritage. Gaytán found what he was seeking – identifying with the stories of his homeland and appreciating their connection to his identity.
In 2019, Gaytán makes good on his promise to return to Chicago, opening two new restaurants in the heart of Chicago’s thriving River North downtown neighborhood: Tzuco – from Huitzuco (derived from the Nahuatl huixochin, meaning “plants with abundant thorns”) – approachable presents the colorful flavors of Mexico while connecting to the techniques of French haute cuisine that Carlos has honed through years of training, and Tales of Carlos Gaytán, intimate space of a 12-seat chef tasting experience, presenting an even more elevated opportunity to experience his signature style.
Both restaurants share Carlos’ fascinating life experiences through a range of authentic culinary creations. These include dishes showcasing bright ceviche preparations; the delicate flavors of shrimp, clams, octopus, and salmon; the richness of chicken tinga, pork, house-made tortilla, and lentils; the zest of chile and aromatic spices; and much more.
Tzuco and Tales of Carlos Gaytán exude austere beauty through architecture and conceptual design by award winning partners in Cadena + Asociados Concept Design and ATRA Form Furniture. Together, they trace the chef’s intriguing past, present, and future while weaving in genuine hospitality, breathtaking atmosphere, and unforgettable flavor. Chef Gaytán was a contestant on BRAVO’s Top Chef in 2013 and is a widely recognized ambassador of Mexican cuisine throughout the world. He has appeared on countless cooking shows as a judge in both the U.S. and Mexico and recently starred on Univision’s Familias Frente al Fuego, which premiered July 2019 in the U.S. and aired throughout Latin and South America.
Chef Jose Sosa
Growing up in a small town outside of Mexico City, Sosa spent most of his days working on his grandparents’ farm. He developed a strong work ethic and connection with nature, two values that are reflected in his cooking today.
At the age of 16, Sosa moved to Chicago and began his culinary career with stints at Ambria, a fine-dining restaurant at the Belden-Stratford Hotel, and Boka, a Michelin-starred contemporary American restaurant. In 2008, Sosa joined Gibsons Restaurant Group and began working his way up the ranks to the role of executive chef at Hugo’s Frog Bar & Fish House and then LUXBAR in the Gold Coast neighborhood. At LUXBAR, Sosa revamped the menu by featuring seasonal, farm-fresh dishes. As executive chef, he worked with local farmers and secured relationships with the wineries, cheesemakers, and oyster farms that produce the highest quality ingredients in the country.
Sosa trained under chef John Coletta (Quartino Ristorante & Wine Bar) for nearly two years, deepening his knowledge of authentic Italian ingredients and techniques. Sosa's responsibility was to oversee the menu of Italian dishes and American steakhouse classics conceived by chef Coletta, which featured quality ingredients sourced from around the globe, including gold-extruded pasta and seven-year-aged risotto rice, as well as Australian grass-fed Wagyu, and Japanese pure Kobe.
Now he has joined our hospitality group to challenge his abilities and embark on a new adventure.
When he’s not in the kitchen, Sosa can be found spending time with his family and jogging around Lake Michigan.