For the first time, at a very early age, Richard Sandoval had the idea of showing Americans what Mexican food really is. When he was thirteen years old standing in line at the school cafeteria reading the menu for that day, he was savoring the tacos that menu promised. Chicken Tinga, Rajas, Chorizo; he was imagining the flavors they would be, and what type of salsa they would offer. When he reached the serving line he suddenly had a plate with two hard tortilla shells, stuffed with ground beef, shredded lettuce, sour cream, and some sort of red sauce, which they referred to as salsa, and had no resemblance to the salsas from his home town. This disappointment planted a seed that twenty years later would finally come to fruition. Modern Mexican Flavors is the beginning of his hard work to bring to American palates the real Mexican food, and spread the word.
Richard Sandoval Restaurants is a leading international restaurant group with outlets in Denver, Las Vegas, New York City, Santa Monica, Washington DC, Mexico, Dubai and Qatar. Owned by acclaimed Chef Richard Sandoval, the group includes Tamayo in Denver; Zengo in Denver, Washington DC, New York City and Santa Monica; La Sandia in Denver, Washington DC metro area and Santa Monica; Maya in New York City and Dubai; Pampano in New York City and Qatar; Isla in Las Vegas; Masa 14 in Washington DC; Venga Venga in Snowmass Village. Chef Sandoval has developed custom menus for Raya at the Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel; Ketsi at the Four Seasons, Punta Mita; La Hacienda at the Fairmont Princess, Scottsdale; Brasserie La Moderna at Hotel Brick, Mexico City; T&T at the Luxor, Las Vegas; and DohYO and TERRACE at Yotel, New York.
About Richard Sandoval, Chef and Owner
Growing up in Mexico City, Chef Sandoval and his family would gather at his grandmother's table for large, lively meals.
Chef Sandoval would join his grandmother in the kitchen as she prepared authentic Mexican feasts from scratch.From his grandmother, he learned to respect fresh, authentic ingredients and to create the vibrant flavors that turned family dinners into celebrated events. Meanwhile, his restaurateur father, owner of Madeiras and Villa Fiore in Acapulco , imparted lessons in service and restaurant management.
These early influences inspired Chef Sandoval to enroll at the Culinary Institute of America. Upon graduation, he gained the attention of New Yorkers with his contemporary French restaurants, Savann and Savann Est. Soon, though, he returned to his first love – the Mexican food of his childhood. In 1997 he channeled his passion into Maya, his flagship modern Mexican restaurant in New York. Chef Sandoval opened his second modern Mexican concept, Tamayo, in Denver in 2001.
In 2003, Chef Sandoval and opera star Placido Domingo partnered at Pampano, which would become their first of many restaurants together. Located in midtown Manhattan, Pampano serves coastal Mexican cuisine. 2004 took Chef Sandoval back to Denver where he opened Zengo, his first Latin-Asian restaurant.
From modern Mexican, to coastal Mexican to Latin-Asian, Chef Richard Sandoval's diverse collection of restaurants explores the potential of Latin cuisine. Each unique menu combines authentic Latin ingredients with international flavors and inventive culinary techniques to create a new and unexpected, Latin dining experience.
As Chef and Owner of Richard Sandoval Restaurants, now a leading international restaurant group with more than twenty six locations in New York City, Washington DC, Virginia, Denver, Las Vegas, Santa Monica, Snowmass Village, Mexico, Dubai and Qatar, Chef Sandoval maintains the stellar reputation of his restaurants while identifying opportunities to bring Latin American flavors to larger and increasingly diverse audiences.
Through the years, expansion continued with Zengo restaurants in Washington DC, New York and Santa Monica, as well as Isla Mexican Kitchen and Tequila Bar at Treasure Island in Las Vegas. La Sandia Mexican Kitchen and Tequila Bar serves authentic Mexican cooking in Santa Monica, two locations in Denver and in Tyson's Corner, VA. La Biblioteca de Tequila, Chef Sandoval's first Tequila library, serves over 400 Tequilas in the heart of Manhattan. He opened Masa 14 with a menu of Latin-Asian small plates in Washington, DC. Venga Venga Cantina & Tequila Bar opened in Snowmass Village, CO in December 2010.
Chef Sandoval created Latin-inspired menus for T&T at the Luxor in Las Vegas, La Hacienda at the Fairmont, Scottsdale and Raya at the Ritz Carlton, Laguna Niguel. Richard Sandoval Restaurants also went international with Pampano at the Pearl in Qatar and Maya at Le Royal Meridien in Dubai. In Mexico, Chef Sandoval created custom menus for Ketsi, the casual yet elegant restaurant at the Four Seasons Resort in Punta Mita and Brasserie La Moderna at the Hotel Brick, Mexico City. In 2011, Richard Sandoval Restaurants created Latin-Asian menus for DohYO, Terrace and Club Lounge at YOTEL, New York.
Over the years, Chef Sandoval has received numerous awards. He was a semi-finalist for the prestigious James Beard "Outstanding Restaurateur" award, as well as the Cordon d'Or "Restaurateur of the Year" in 2011. In the same year, Raya was recognized as "Restaurant of the Year" by Riviera Orange County, while Pampano in Qatar was voted "Best Seafood" by Time Out, Doha and Maya was awarded "Best Latin-American" by Time Out, Dubai. Chef Sandoval was Bon Appetit's prestigious Restaurateur of the Year in 2006, and he was named one of the "Best Chefs of 2003" by New York Magazine. Maya and Pampano are the only two Mexican restaurants to have been awarded two stars by The New York Times. International accolades include the National Toque d'Oro, Mexican Chef of the Year, and the MENA's Best Fine Dining Restaurant award for the experience at Maya, Dubai.