Jorge Vallejo (b. Mexico City, 1981) is one of Mexico’s most recognised young chefs, at home and abroad, whose solid, ever-upward career path has been a labour of love and enthusiasm.
After discovering his culinary bent as a teenager, Vallejo entered the Centro Culinario de México to study Culinary Administration and Arts. A restless spirit led him to set sail with Princess Cruises in 2004, where he worked on voyages to all corners of the globe. Once back on land, he joined the team at Pujol restaurant and was later Corporate Chef at Grupo Habita, where he oversaw kitchens at the Condesadf, Habita and Distrito Capital hotels. He became Executive Chef at the St. Regis hotel’s Restaurante Diana, in 2010, before traveling to Copenhagen for a season at Noma.
2012 was a critical year. Alongside his wife Alejandra Flores, Vallejo opened Quintonil, his “life project” (according to a number of public declarations); the couple’s hard work and dedication earned them almost-immediate acclaim and the restaurant was a 2012 Travel+Leisure México Gourmet Awards nominee in the “Best New Restaurant” category.
That same year—in collaboration with Chefs Mauro Colagreco (from France’s Mirazur) and Virgilio Martínez (from Central, in Peru)—Vallejo started the Orígenes initiative, designed to rescue and preserve culinary products, techniques and customs in small Latin American communities. The initiative is an inclusive program that seeks to involve academics, cooks and students in its rescue efforts. Since its founding, member chefs have journeyed to towns and villages throughout the Western Hemisphere to study culinary customs at the same time they share experiences and teachings.
2014 also saw Quintonil take tenth place on the “Latin America's 50 Best Restaurants” list, rising to sixth place the following year. By 2016, the restaurant had reached 6 place.
GQ Hombres named Vallejo “Chef of the Year” in its 2015 awards and he received that year’s Millesime México “Best Restaurant” prize. Mexican monthly Quién includes him on its list of Mexico’s transformative personalities.
British-based Restaurant magazine ranked Quintonil 35th in its 2015 “50 Best World’s Restaurants” listing and it jumped to twelfth place in 2016—to date, the highest position a Mexican restaurant has occupied.