Industry Update
Appointment23 September 2021

Rafael Villalpando

Appointed Chef de Cuisine
At Toro Toro, Four Seasons Hotel Houston - TX, USA

Rafael Villalpando

The highly anticipated Toro Toro pan-Latin steakhouse by Chef Richard Sandoval introduces Chef Rafael Villalpando as its new Chef de Cuisine. The sumptuous restaurant will be open to the public this fall. Chef Villalpando brings years of experience in the restaurant and hotel industry to downtown Houston, as well as a deep passion for modern Mexican and Latin cuisine, as Villalpando spent several years in Mexico.

Rafael, who was born in Los Angeles and raised in Mexico, was inspired to cook by his grandmother. He has worked in high-end restaurants in Monterrey, Mexico, New York City, and most recently, Fort Worth serving as the chef de cuisine at Toro Toro Fort Worth, located within the Worthington Renaissance Fort Worth Hotel. Prior to that, he held the position of kitchen supervisor and sous chef at 18 Oaks Restaurant, located within the JW Marriott San Antonio.

Chef Villalpando has an extensive background from working in hotel and high-volume, multi-outlet establishments such as his vital contribution to the pre-opening of the Rosewood Hotel in San Miguel de Allende. Villalpando was part of the pre-opening team where he served as the chef de cuisine alongside with Executive Chef Carlos Hannon. Throughout his time at the Rosewood Hotel, Villalpando showcased his diverse set of skills as he was heavily involved in the development of the menus, exhibited leadership in the kitchen with coordination and organisation of the staff, and implementation of a sanitation system. A graduate of Corbuse Instituto Gastronómico, Villalpando has been noticed for his work with numerous awards including being named the Culinary Hotel Winner for Marriott's Masters of the Craft Culinary and Mixology Awards two years in a row, 2018 and 2019, from his time with the JW Marriott San Antonio.

In preparation of the grand opening of Toro Toro Houston, Chef Villalpando has been training diligently with Four Seasons Hotel Houston Executive Chef Paul Peddle, and experiencing all what Houston has to offer. When Chef Villalpando is not at work, he enjoys spending time with his wife and child. He loves exploring cities by visiting local food trucks, especially when they involve tacos or spicy dishes. Rafael is a NASCAR and Formula 1 fan and enjoys mountain biking and skiing in his free time.

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