Chef Carlos Portela

Orujo, San Juan (he / him / his)

From his hometown of Caguas, Puerto Rico, Chef Carlos Portela founded his life project, Orujo Taller, where he studied Puerto Rican cuisine for over ten years. His avant-garde style ranges from primitive to modern, using ingredients endemic to Puerto Rico and pre-colonial influences. He bases his cooking methods on temperature control, precision, and the flavor of Caribbean cuisine. He now brings these concepts alive at Orujo, in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Recognized as “The Best Chef in the Caribbean” in 2005 by the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association, he has traveled to different parts of Europe and Latin America, representing Puerto Rican Gastronomy. As a connector and advocate of Puerto Rican chefs, he works on expanding the philosophy of food sovereignty and knowledge of the cuisine of Puerto Rico and the Caribbean, which is among the most complex in history and flavor. Portela is a 2024 James Beard Best Chef, South Semi-Finalist.

Johnson & Wales University (Providence)


His wife’s sancocho in the mountains of Las Marias


Ramiro’s Taller (Valladolid, Spain)

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