The Culinary Institute of America

Enrique Olvera, CIA culinary arts alumni, is chef/owner at Restaurante Pujol.

Spotlight On: Enrique OlveraBPS Culinary Arts Management

Chef Owner, Restaurante Pujol
Class of 1999

Enrique Olvera is chef/owner of Pujol, widely recognized as one of Mexico’s most interesting and creative gastronomic destinations. At the helm of this celebrated restaurant, Chef Olvera is a key participant in the Mexican culinary avant-garde that in recent years has raised that nation’s cuisine to the highest and most demanding international standards.

Chef Olvera was born in Mexico City but moved to the United States to enroll at The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY, where he graduated with an AOS degree in 1997. He went on to earn his bachelor’s degree from the college in 1999.

After graduation, he got his first job at Everest, one of Chicago’s most exclusive restaurants. The following year, armed with classical training and haute cuisine experience, Chef Olvera returned to Mexico City to open his own restaurant, Pujol. There he embarked on an exploration of Mexico’s culinary riches as well as a reinterpretation and re-articulation of its flavors, styles, and techniques from the perspective of contemporary haute cooking. Food critics in Mexico and around the world have celebrated his ideas and efforts.

Pujol has won the Five Diamond Award from AAA and the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence. It was also voted one of the 100 best restaurants by Saveur magazine in 2006. In 2004, Chef Olvera won Catadores magazine’s “Chef of the Year” award. He has been nominated numerous times by Chilango magazine as “Chilango (Mexico City resident) of the Year.” Expansión, Mexico’s most important business journal, named him one of “Mexico’s Thirty Biggest Talents” in 2009. He received the “Young Restaurateur” award from the Mexican National Chamber for the Restaurant and Prepared Food Industry, in both 2005 and 2007. Universal Newspapers voted Chef Olvera one of the “Ten Best Chefs in Mexico” in 2005. Most recently, Food & Wine named him one of the 10 most promising chefs in world cuisine. Currently, he and Rafael Micha of the Habita Hotels Group are collaborating on seven boutique hotels in Mexico City, Puebla, Monterrey, and New York City. Chef Olvera is also the menu creator for Mexicana de Aviación, Mexico’s leading commercial airline. Mexicana won first place in the “Outstanding Food Service by a Carrier Americas” category at the 2008 PAX International Readership Awards.

Chef Olvera was a featured speaker at the international gastronomic summit, Madrid Fusión, and presented a cooking class entitled “Mexican Cooking: Back to the Future” at the IACP Annual Conference. He also took part in the first annual Latin Flavors, American Kitchen Conference, part of the CIA’s symposia on Latin Cuisines, Cultures, and Exchange held on the San Antonio campus in 2008.

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