Eliminated Week Two
Locally recognized as one of Puerto Rico's best chefs, Mario Pagán has two of the finest restaurants in San Juan: Chayote and Lemongrass. His third restaurant, Laurel, will open in October in the Museum of Art in San Juan. Mario's passion for cooking began while watching his mother prepare meals rooted in Caribbean cuisine in his San Juan childhood home.
By the time he was in his third year of architectural school, he decided to pursue his passion for the culinary arts and applied to the prestigious Johnson & Wales University. Mario went on to hone his skills in the kitchens of known chefs such as Alfredo Ayala, the original founder of Chayote. Before opening his restaurants, Mario spent several years in Miami working in some of the city's best kitchens: The Grand Café in The Grand Bay Hotel, Bugatti, Tamarind Restaurant and Norman's New World Cuisine.
Mario is the author of two books, Cocinas del Mundo CARIBE (Biblioteca Metropoli, 2005) and La Gran Cocina Caribeña y sus 12 Grandes Chefs (La Editorial de la Universidad de Puerto Rico, 2004). Mario is dedicated to introducing Puerto Rican cuisine to the rest of the world.