Jhony Alejandro Patiño

In our family, we’ve always had this thing for BBQ get-togethers. We are seven siblings, and even though we’ve all moved on with our lives, those reunions have been our constant. It’s like saying to our parents that we’re still here for each other.
Food and especially grilling in an open fire has been a common ground, bringing us together.

My journey into the professional culinary world started at El Sena. After some experiences in casual restaurants and hotels, one day, looking into new opportunities, I stepped into @carmenrestaurante for an interview, and it just made sense. The owner’s vision, the tools, the knowledge – it all clicked for me. When I came for my interview and saw a few chefs at a table discussing menu ideas, I thought, “I want in on those conversations.”

Fast forward 13 years, and now I’m leading one of the restaurant group concepts. But let me rewind to the first three years -where things took a real turn for me. The chef threw this idea at us about aging meat. Seven years ago, especially in Colombia, this was new, and the equipment and specific cuts we needed weren’t anywhere to be found!

We had to start from scratch, starting from the cuts of meat, working with a butcher who had his animals, and guiding him exactly how we wanted them. In the journey from meat sourcing to the aging and cooking process, we messed up a bunch of pounds before we finally got it right. That was when we realized our meat was unique, and we needed to roll with it and treat it differently. Back then, everyone was all about certified imported meat, but our mission was to show that Colombian beef is just as good.

Learning from other cultures and techniques is essential, but the real magic is understanding our own and what makes it different. In the first year, Nobody understood what we were doing. But slowly, things started picking up, and now we’re about to open our second spot.

Thinking back on the journey, it’s pretty wild. None of this would’ve happened without the farmers and artisans – who bought into our ideas and, of course, the trust of the Chef, the whole team, and our community.