Growing up in Mexico City, Richard Sandoval would join his grandmother in the kitchen and gather around her large table with family to enjoy lively Mexican feasts prepared from scratch. From his grandmother, he learned to respect fresh, authentic, ingredients and create the vibrant flavors that turned family dinners into celebrated events. Meanwhile, his restaurateur father – owner of Madeiras in Acapulco and Villa Fiore also in Acapulco – imparted lessons in service and restaurant management.
Sandoval, who was once a professional tennis player and had toured the world participating in prestigious matches, had such a passion for food that he decided to enroll in the Culinary Institute of America. Upon graduation, he gained the attention of New Yorkers with his contemporary French restaurants, Savann and Savann Est. Soon, though, he returned to his first love – the food of his childhood and in 1997 opened Maya, his flagship modern Mexican restaurant in New York.
During the past 18 years, Sandoval’s career as a chef and restaurateur has evolved to include serving as a culinary consultant, television personality, cookbook author and brand ambassador. Richard Sandoval Restaurants (RSR) is now a leading international restaurant group with over 40 concepts spanning Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Nevada, New York, Virginia and Washington, D.C., as well as in Dubai, Hong Kong, Mexico, Tokyo, Qatar and Serbia. Restaurant Hospitality recently named Richard Sandoval Restaurants as one of the “25 Coolest Multi-concept Companies.”
With the broad range of restaurants in his portfolio, Chef Sandoval combines authentic Latin ingredients with international flavors and inventive techniques to create new and unexpected concepts and cuisines such as modern and coastal Mexican, Latin-Asian, Peruvian and Pan-Latin.
Chef Sandoval has entered into creative partnerships over the years. In 2003, he opened Pampano in New York City with world-renowned opera
star Plácido Domingo. In 2013 he partnered with Peruvian chef Jaime Pesaque of Mayta restaurant in Lima to open Raymi, also in New York City.
In Washington, D.C., Sandoval partnered with noted sushi chef Kaz Okochi to open Masa 14. Sandoval soon expanded in the D.C. market opening El Centro D. F., Zengo and El Centro D.F. Georgetown, as well as acting as a consultant to Ambar, the city’s first Eastern European restaurant. In February of 2014, Sandoval opened a new DC location - his award-winning restaurant and nightlife concept, Toro Toro.
Most recently, Sandoval introduced Pan-Latin cuisine to Serbia with the opening of Toro Latin Gastrobar in Belgrade, which was named “Best Restaurant in Serbia” by Tripadvisor. Soon after, Sandoval partnered with the well-known Fairmont Scottsdale Princess to open Toro Latin Restaurant and Rum Bar. In June of 2015, Sandoval’s popular pan-Latin steakhouse, Toro Toro was the newest addition to the private island of Marsa Malaz Kempinski at The Pearl-Qatar. In August of 2015, Sandoval partnered with the Fairmont Mayakoba in Riviera Maya to introduce three new concepts inside the resort. El Puerto, Brisas and La Laguna feature curated menus offering modern Mexican and Latin-Asian fusion cuisine.
Sandoval has developed menus for American Airlines First Class cabin, as well as many of the world’s leading hotels. He is equally passionate about tequila and has curated one of the largest collections in North America and the Middle East and aspires to educate diners on their quality and diversity. A frequent participant at international food and wine festivals, Sandoval’s recent television appearances include competing on the fifth season of Bravo’s “Top Chef Masters.”
When not cooking, Sandoval is passionate about training the chefs of the future. He supports their growth on the Board of Trustees at his alma ma¬¬ter, the Culinary Institute of America and has recently received an honorary doctorate from Johnson and Wales. For his work, he has been awarded Mexico’s National Toque d’Oro 2003, Bon Appétit Restaurateur of the Year 2006 and Cordon d’Or Restaurateur of the Year 2012. In 2013, Market Watch named him “On Premise Player of the Year,” and in 2015, he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Culinary Arts and Food Service Management from Johnson & Wales University in Denver, Colorado.
Career highlights include:
• 2015 - Honorary Doctor of Culinary Arts, Johnson & Wales University
• 2015 – Toro Toro Dubai “Best Latin American Restaurant” – Time Out Magazine
• 2015 – Tamayo “Best Brunches in Denver” – USA Today
• 2014 – “King of Latin Fusion” – Modern Luxury Magazine
• 2013 – Toro Latin Gastrobar named “Best Restaurant in Serbia” by Tripadvisor
• 2013 – RSR named 25 Coolest Multi-concept Companies by Restaurant Hospitality
• 2013 – Richard Sandoval named “On Premise Player of the Year 2013”
by Market Watch
• 2013 – El Centro D. F. “Best Latin American Cuisine” Washingtonian Magazine
• 2012 – Al Lado “Best Newcomer” by Eater
• 2011 – Semi-finalist James Beard “Outstanding Restaurateur”
• 2011 – Semi-finalist Cordon d’Or “Restaurateur of the Year”
• 2011 – Raya recognized as “Restaurant of the Year” by Riviera Orange County
• 2011 – Pampano voted “Best Seafood” by Time Out, Doha
• 2011 – La Biblioteca listed as “Top 25 Tequila Bars” by USA Today
• 2009 – La Hacienda votes “Best Upscale Mexican Restaurant” by Phoenix New Times
• 2007 – Maya, Dubai – MENA’s Best Fine Dining Restaurant
• 2006 – Bon Appétit’s “Restaurateur of the Year”
• 2004 - Zengo “Best New Restaurant in America” Esquire Magazine
• 2003 – Named one of New York Magazine’s “Best Chefs of 2003”
• 2003 – Pampano awarded two stars by The New York Times
• 1997 – Maya awarded two stars by The New York Times
• 1992 – National Toque d’Oro, Mexican Chef of the Year