Born and raised in Mexico, Cruz Almanza began his culinary career working at his family's restaurants and flour tortilla factory. He attended culinary school in Guanajuato City, then moved to Arizona in 2007 to work in the kitchen at Quechan Casino Resort, where he served as banquet chef. In 2010, Chef Almanza headed to Florida and became a line cook at Palencia Country Club in St. Augustine. Shortly thereafter, he joined the team at Consolidated Restaurant Organization (CRO) as a master broiler for III Forks Prime Steakhouse in Jacksonville, while also working as a kitchen supervisor at the University of North Florida.
Chef Almanza spent several years traveling across the U.S. and internationally, opening new CRO locations (III Forks; Silver Fox; Cantina Laredo). In 2017, he received the opportunity to come to Chicago to oversee the kitchen at Cantina Laredo in River North. Chef Almanza is passionate about cooking authentic Mexican cuisine, and bringing modern Mexican flavors to the midwest.