Jonathan De Paz
Saturday, May 2nd at the Grand Tasting & Auction
De Paz’s resume reaches into the upper-echelons of the national culinary scene. Born in Guatemala and raised in Central New Jersey, he started cooking with his mother and grandmother because “That’s what you did at our house, you helped.”
He then decided to step into professional kitchens by age 17, “After washing dishes and doing low level work I made a promise to myself to start moving forward and never look back. Culinary school helps a lot, but I didn’t have the financial means to do it,” says de Paz. “My mother always told me, ‘If you want to do something, you gotta just do it.’ So I had to suck it up and figure it out, and lucky for me, I got an opportunity at Le Bec-Fin.”
De Paz earned a cooking position at the famed Philadelphia restaurant (now closed), which he states “The most influential and pivotal moment in my life. Being around beautiful food and militant structures was exactly what I needed.” He then moved on to work at The Peacock Inn in New Jersey for which he spent two years and realized he needed to keep pushing which led him to be trained in top kitchens on both coasts, including Daniel, The French Laundry, and a stint at Manhattan sister restaurants Eleven Madison Park and the NoMad.
De Paz now heads up the kitchen at Primrose, A French bistro and wine bar in Washington DC. Primrose was recently awarded the Bibb Gourmade from the annual Michelin Guide.