A native of Puerto Rico, Raúl Correa developed his passion for food while watching his uncle cook. “What impressed me the most was that he was a man, but he was an excellent cook,” said Correa.
In 1995, at the age of 18, Raúl Correa started his culinary career while working as Kitchen Supervisor at the San Juan Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino. He worked his way up quickly through the ranks to Executive Chef at some of the finest hotels in Puerto Rico, including the legendary Normandie Hotel. Correa’s knowledge of local and international cuisine as well as every aspect of kitchen operation and restaurant management led him to start his own food consulting company, Boutique Cuisine Catering and Kitchen Management in 2009. Two years later, Correa became Chef-Instructor at Puerto Rico’s renowned Escuela Hotelera.
In 2012, Chef Correa’s expertise and creative talent led him to become the culinary force behind Zest restaurant, located in the San Juan Water Beach Club Hotel in Isla Verde, Puerto Rico. The brainchild of Chef Correa, Zest offered a Modern Puerto Rican & Latin American cuisine menu influenced from a global perspective and paying a tribute to Puerto Rico’s culinary heritage by primarily using locally sourced, seasonal products.
Today, is the chef/co-owner of BACOA Finca + Fogón and chef/owner of two restaurant concepts in Lote 23 in Santurce: Dorotea’s, specializing in artisanal pizza made using locally sourced ingredients baked in a custom-made wood-burning oven and Tía Dora offering Middle Eastern street food including a wide variety of vegan options, cocktails + wines/
Correa is strongly committed to supporting local farmers and giving back to the community by donating his culinary talent and time is a passion of Chef Correa. On his personal time, Chef Correa participates in cooking fundraisers for two charities close to his heart: Ser de Puerto Rico, whose mission is to provide exceptional services to ensure that people with disabilities or with autism and their families have equal opportunities in their communities to enjoy life, education, job opportunities, and have fun and Hogar Teresa Toda, whose mission is to provide girls and young women victims of abuse and negligence a permanent home where they can live surrounded by love and protection.
Chef Correa’s culinary expertise, creativity, innovation and passion have earned him prestigious awards and accolades including:
- Restaurateur of the Year 2016 award by the Puerto Rico Hotel and Tourism Association (PRHTA) Tourism Industry Super Stars Awards
- Inclusion in the 2015 edition of “Where Chefs Eat: A Guide to Chefs’ Favourite Restaurants” published by Phaidon Press
- Chairman of the Puerto Rico Hotel & Tourism Association’s Restaurant Committee – 2015
- Nominated for “The People’s Best New Chef 2014” by GASTRONÓMICO / El VOCERO
- “Manager of the Year” in the Restaurant Category – Puerto Rico Hotel & Tourism Association 2014
- Silver Medal in “Chef of the Year” category – Taste of the Caribbean 2014
- Gold Medal in “Best Culinary Team in the Caribbean” – Taste of the Caribbean 2014
- Captain of the Puerto Rico Culinary Team 2014
- Selected for the Puerto Rico Culinary Team 2014
- Puerto Rico’s Top Chef 2014 – FoodiesPR.com
- Nominated for FOOD & WINE magazine’s the “People’s Best New Chef 2013”
- Cattlemen’s Chef Challenge Champion in 2008