Executive Chef Jose Luna is in charge of managing menu creation and food prep for residents, as well as managing the overall culinary experience for residents. With more than 30 years of experience in the industry, he's well versed in using fresh, local ingredients. Here, we ask the Chef to tell us a little bit more about himself.
Tell us a little bit about your background and how you started cooking.
I grew up in Jalisco, Mexico and I come from two generations of Mexican chefs, with both my mom and grandma being restaurateurs. They grew their own produce and herbs, made fresh cheese and harvested their own herbs and produce. Learning from them, I came to appreciate the importance of freshness and quality.
What brought you to the Chicago area?
I felt like I needed to expand my knowledge of culinary arts, so I moved to Chicago in the early 1980s to learn the fundamentals of international cooking, but always remembering what I learned in Mexico.
Besides your formal training, are there any other awards or certifications you've received? I joined the American Culinary Federation, Inc and received my C.E.C. (Certified Executive Chef Certification) through the ACF (American Culinary Federation). I'm also a member the American Academy of Chef's. In 1993 I was honored to receive the Chef of the Year award from the A.C.F. Chicago Chefs chapter. In 1994, I was part of the VISION U.S.A. Culinary team that took a gold medal in Seoul Korea. I've also participated in United States and international ice carving and culinary competitions, and have won numerous awards.
How did you end up in the hospitality industry?
My early career progressed through several career-enhancing executive chef and management experiences within the hotel and club industry. Prior to joining Vi at The Glen, I was the corporate Chef for First Hospitality Group for five years.
How would you describe your style of cooking?
My style of cooking is nouveau cuisine. For me, this means infusing different flavors from a variety of ethnic cuisines. I try to stay on the cutting edge of modern cooking.