I was born and raised in the Dominican Republic, but I’ve been living in Raleigh, North Carolina, for the past year.

I started in the kitchen as an escapist from my original role as a Doctor. I remember watching Chefs on TV and wanting to feel the rush and the emotions of the kitchen. The passion grew, and it soon became my lifestyle, so much so that I’ve been in the industry for ten years. What I love most about this is getting to express myself through food. I ended up studying culinary at the Dominican Culinary Institute and UNIBE University.

Seeing the satisfaction of the dinner guests and the way I’m able to continue creating is what keeps me going. For me, time stops once I step inside the kitchen. It becomes just me, my team, and the tickets. The power to create, transmit and have a rush at a particular time is fantastic.

My first job in the US marked me forever. I got to earn the respect of all the Americans that mocked me because I was the foreign guy who didn’t speak the best English and couldn’t express myself well. The day I became the Executive Chef, and everyone was happy and proud of me will forever be etched into my mind.

This goes with an important lesson: hard work pays off. Dream big. I always encourage people to try. “You don’t lose anything trying or asking about something.” One thing I would like to see less of, though, is perfectionism. It’s all about flavor, fun, and the idea of delivering something unique.

My final advice to cooks would be: Love and believe in what you do.