F&W Free Preview All You Coastal Living Cooking Light Food and Wine tab Health myRecipes Southern Living Sunset
My F&W
quick save (...)

Best New Chefs

Jose Enrique

2013 Best New Chef Award Profile
Jose Enrique
Photo © Marcus Nilsson

Won Best New Chef At Jose Enrique, San Juan, Puerto Rico

Why He’s Amazing Because he’s elevating Puerto Rican cooking, using ingredients from the vast market across the street from his restaurant. The chalkboard menu changes frequently during the evening, based on what the purveyors might bring in during dinner service.

Born 1977; San Juan, Puerto Rico

Culinary School The Culinary Institute of America (Hyde Park, NY)

Background Riche (New Orleans), Bili (Vieques, Puerto Rico), San Juan Water Beach Club (San Juan, Puerto Rico), Café Centro (New York City)

Quintessential Dish Crispy fried yellowtail snapper with mashed batata (sweet potato) and papaya-avocado salsa

How He Got Into Cooking “A lot of people cook in my family. My grandmothers, my dad, my mom; everyone does a couple of great dishes. My uncle would make Thanksgiving—huge turkeys stuffed with blood sausage. It was always fun.”

Beloved Cooking Equipment “My dad made his own Caja China. Picture a metal square oven with the heat coming from the top. He’d cook pork. The first few hours the pork is belly up, so all the fat drips down and confits the belly. Then he flips it over and the skin gets blown up and crispy. Kids fight over it. My dad’s Caja China is on wheels, it’s portable, he’ll set it up anywhere.”

Bringing It Home Enrique cooked around the world, in Belgium, France and the US, before returning to the neighborhood where he was born, to open his flagship restaurant.

Other Projects In San Juan, Enrique also runs Capital, a popular brasserie, and the coffeehouse Miel. In late 2013, he’ll open a restaurant in the eco-minded El Blok hotel in Vieques.

Story of Discovery

“Until recently, I’d never been blown away by Puerto Rican food; the dishes I’d tried were always a little heavy and a little bland. But Jose Enrique and his bright, sharp, fresh flavors have changed my mind. At his restaurant—a casual place in an old house where weekend parties erupt on the street outside—he writes his menu on white boards, which allows him to add dishes in the middle of service. When I was there, he listed grilled thin swordfish steaks, from a fish that had been delivered just hours before, pairing it with his outstanding hot sauce made from chiles that he confits in oil for hours with garlic and tomatoes. Blood sausage also appeared on the menu. It was deep black and porky, speckled with chunks of delicious fat. Even better were the blood sausage spring rolls I had another night, baked in crisp spring roll wrappers with a serious swath of cream cheese, which melts into a rich sauce. That’s what a Best New Chef does: takes a cuisine you don’t think you like and turns you into a convert.”—Kate Krader

Restaurants
Jose Enrique
176 Calle Duffaut San Juan, Puerto Rico
(787) 725-3518
1 recipes by Jose Enrique

Download the Best New Chefs Mobile App

Finally the best restaurants and chefs are at your fingertips. Download the Food & Wine Best New Chefs mobile app for the iPhone or for your Google Android phone.

advertisement
The Dish
Receive delicious recipes and smart wine advice 4x per week in this e-newsletter.
The Wine List Weekly pairing plus best bottles to buy.
F&W Daily One sensational dish served fresh every day.
American Express Publishing ("AEP") may use your email address to send you account updates and offers that may interest you. To learn more about the ways we may use your email address and about your privacy choices, read the AEP Privacy Statement.
How we use your email address
advertisement
Congratulations to Nicholas Elmi, winner of Top Chef: New Orleans, the 11th season of Bravo's Emmy-Award winning, hit reality series.

Join celebrity chefs, renowned winemakers and epicurean insiders at the culinary world’s most spectacular weekend, the FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen, June 20-22.