At the age of 18, he left Bogota in Colombia to make his dream of cooking in Paris come true. No qualifications, no contacts, no strings to pull.
Once there, Juan observed everything and learnt a lot. So much so that after two years he was recommended to the 3-Michelin-star chef Pierre Gagnaire to join his Parisian kitchens, rue Balzac.
Prestigious restaurants including those of Eric Briffard at the Georges V and Eric Fréchon at the Bristol were to follow.
In 2012, without telling him, some of his friends sent in an application for him to take part in the Top Chef programme on French television channel M6. He was selected. An experience which he compares to a magical springboard, notably providing the opportunity the following year to create his first restaurant Planxta with Enrique Solano in Boulogne-Billancourt, describing the cuisine as salsa-cancan.
In 2015, he joined forces with Mauricio Zillo and set up the restaurant A Mère in Paris’s 10th arrondissement (49, rue de l’Echiquier).
He also opened a second restaurant, Maya, with Enrique in Ville d’Avray, in the same spirit as Planxta but in a more intimate setting.
In 2016, Juan took over the kitchens at the Hôtel Marignan Champs Elysées where he created Nubé, a gourmet restaurant with a short, fresh and seasonal menu which changes often. In 2017, Nubé underwent a name change to become Limon with a brand-new concept, a chic street-fronted brasserie and a citrus themed cocktail bar.
In the same year, back in Boulogne-Billancourt, he opened the restaurant Levain with Louis & Adrien and Borderline, this time centered around a bread and wine experience.
In June 2017, a new adventure began in the recently-renovated area of Saint-Ouen in partnership with renowned architects Saguez & Partners and the Chantzios brothers from the leading olive oil brand KALIOS. Together they have brought to life a Mediterranean restaurant featuring sun-drenched flavours, the best of Greek produce and a cultural escapade in a relaxed and stylish setting.
Photos © Benedetta_chiala