Ronero, a Latin American restaurant in Chicago’s West Loop, has announced the appointment of Chef Jose “Pepe” Rodriguez as its new Executive Chef in lockstep with launching a new fall dinner and cocktail menu. Under the leadership of Chef Rodriguez, Ronero aims to take guests through a culinary journey, exploring dishes throughout all of Latin America.
Having over 20 years of experience, Chef Rodriguez’s culinary journey began in Mexico City, Mexico, where he developed his sense for complex flavors and mastering traditional, rustic Mexican dishes under the strict guidance of his beloved grandmother, “Chata”. After some traveling and exploring cuisine aboard, Rodriguez settled in the “Magic City” of Miami, Florida, where he started his career as chef de cuisine at China Grill. From there, Rodriguez led kitchens at local Miami hot-spots including Touch Restaurant, Kiss Steakhouse and Table 8. Chef Rodriguez's take on classic and traditional Latin recipes, coupled with his broad knowledge of world cuisine, quickly made him the chef of choice among the demanding Miami culinary scene. His rising fame quickly captured the attention of iconic culinary giants like Sean Brasel of Meat Market, Govind Armstrong of Post and Beam and Table 8 in Los Angeles, amongst others.
In 2010, Chef Rodriguez launched his catering and design company, Petit Pois. Chef Rodriguez’s stellar reputation in the Miami culinary world attracted high-profile VIP clients including fashion icons such as Alexander McQueen, Oscar de la Renta, internationally acclaimed architect Zaha Hadid, Kanye West, Jay Z, and Beyoncé – most notably orchestrating Blue Ivy’s 2nd birthday on Jungle Island for the A-List event. In 2013, Chef Pepe caught the eye of Chef Matthew Kenney and partnered together to open Tamazul, Oklahoma City’s vegan approach to refined authentic Mexican dishes. Now, Rodriguez is bringing his Latin American culinary perspective to Ronero, where he will introduce and elevate native Latin favorite dishes.
“I’m really excited to be a part of the culinary mecca that is Chicago,” says Rodriguez. “I’ve spent the last few years working in Miami, surrounded by the diverse Latin community that represents the bulk of Latin America. I’m looking forward to showcasing the Latin cuisine that makes up the broad flavor spectrum that unites and makes us unique.”
Chef Rodriguez will kick-off his inaugural menu with fall-inspired selections including:
- Maiz: Roasted Corn, Tempero Baiano Spice, Crispy Shallots, Avocado, Queso Fresco
A refined take on traditional Latin street corn, Maiz (corn) has historically been a key food element throughout all Latin America. This version takes the best of every version into one.
- Carne Ronero: Short Rib, Patatas Robuchon, Chimichurri, Sweet Potato
Ronero´s boneless short rib is braised and roasted to perfection. Honoring the late Jöel Robuchon, Chef Rodriguez added a nod to the legendary French chef’s mashed. The potatoes are topped with curly sweet potatoe crisps and finished with Argentinian chimichurri.
- Coconut Moqueca: Sofrito Stuffed Skate Wing, Coconut Broth, Tuile
This traditional Brazilian seafood dish recipe comes from the state of Bahia in northern Brazil. The dish, moqueca de peixe, (moo-KAY-ka duh PAY-shuh) is a tropical fish stew fragrant with garlic and peppers and enriched with coconut milk. Chef Rodriguez takes this native dish and deconstructs its elements and highlights the skate wing, while still keeping the integrity of its original flavors.
“We’re truly excited to have Chef Rodriguez as part of the Ronero family”, say Owner Nils Westlind. “As Executive Chef at Ronero, he is highlighting the unique flavor combinations and discerning palates found across Latin America. As a native to South America myself, I believe our guests will experience a fresh new take on old favorites while discovering the flavors that make this part of the world so amazing”.