Chef Jose Salazar was born in Colombia South America and was raised in Queens NY. Chef Salazar got his start in restaurants as a bartender and waiter at some of New York’s hottest establishments- among them, Donatella Arpia’s Bellini restaurant. Although the front of the house is where he started, it was the kitchen that really caught his eye. This prompted him to enroll in the culinary program at the New York Restaurant School. Upon graduating in 2001 he landed an internship with famed Chef Jean George Vongerichten at his namesake restaurant; Jean George. After completing the internship, he went on to work with some of New York’s most celebrated chefs and restaurateurs, including Geoffrey Zacharian of Town, Josh De’ Chellis of Sumile, and Eric and Bruce Bromberg of Blue Ribbon. However, it was Jose’s four years working with Chef Thomas Keller that made the most palpable impression on his cooking philosophies. In 2003 Jose was hired as chef de partie to be a part of the opening staff of the highly acclaimed Per-Se restaurant. Then in 2006, he was instrumental in the opening of another of Chef Keller’s projects; Bouchon Bakery, where he became the Executive Sous-Chef.
In 2008, Chef Salazar took his knowledge and experience to Cincinnati Ohio, where he was tapped to be the Executive Chef of The historical Cincinnatian Hotel and Palace restaurant. It’s there that Jose was able to hone his style of cooking, incorporating the ingredients and techniques of the Americas, Europe, and Japan. Since his arrival to the Queen City, Jose has received many favorable reviews, including 5 stars (the highest rating) from Polly Campbell of The Cincinnati Enquirer. He’s also garnered national attention- In 2011 Food and Wine magazine awarded him the title of people’s choice “Best New Chef”.
In December of 2013 Chef Salazar and his wife Ann opened Salazar, their much-anticipated restaurant in the Over the Rhine neighborhood of Cincinnati. Immediately after opening it was clear that Salazar was going to be an instant hit. Their modern bistro is packed nightly with diners eating foods such as duck rillettes, fried oyster sliders, rib-eye steaks, and veal tongue al’a plancha. This little forty-five seater, while just around three years old is recognized as one of the best in the city by the dining public and critics alike.
In August of 2015, Jose and Ann opened Mita’s, a 135 seat restaurant located in the heart of downtown Cincinnati. This restaurant features the food and drinks of Spain and Latin America with a formal but laid back design. In just a year and a half Mita’s has already set it’s self apart with wonderful food, service, and ambiance. It has received praise from countless publications, both locally and nationally. Chef Salazar and Mita’s have received nominations for “Best Chef”, Great Lakes from the prestigious James Beard Foundation in 2016 and 2017.
Chef Salazar is currently in the process of opening up a new eatery this summer (2019) called Goose and Elder.