Born and raised in the outskirts of Houston in Spring, Texas; Carlos Cruz first became interested in the culinary arts by taking part in a hands-on high school externship, which placed him right in the heart of the hospitality industry. Learning the ropes at a young age, he spent a brief amount of time working in Phoenix, AZ under James Beard award-winning chef Christopher Gross, before being drawn to Chicago’s growing culinary movement. Taking a position at the city's beloved BOKA restaurant under Chef Giuseppe Tentori, Cruz spent over two and a half years on the line, while simultaneously obtaining his bachelor’s degree in Business Management at Kendall College.
With the help of Tentori, Carlos embarked upon a year-long global hiatus and secured a 3-month stage at Copenhagen’s Noma restaurant, widely known one of the most acclaimed restaurants in the world. He then jumped into another 3-month stage at Barcelona’s Roca Moo, the sister restaurant of three-Michelin-star El Celler de Can Roca in Girona, Spain. Upon returning to Chicago, Cruz spent the next two and a half years as sous chef of 7-time Michelin starred restaurant, Longman & Eagle (GQ Best New Restaurants in America) before taking on his newest position as Chef de Cuisine of Jared Wentworth’s newest “meat & three” concept, Saint Lou’s Assembly. When not in the kitchen, Cruz enjoys frequenting Chicago’s street-side taco carts and can be found on the hunt for the city’s best carne asada.