It’s not everyday when you grab a bite to eat and end up sitting next to the family of a world-class executive chef, visiting from Puerto Rico nonetheless. I was lucky enough to experience this in early February while eating lunch at SoBou in New Orleans. I knew when they came into the restaurant with smiles and an unforgettable positive energy that this was no ordinary family.
We spoke for a bit about Puerto Rico, a place where I have many friends from and have spent some time. I’ve always felt connected to the island, which I believe stems from some of my Italian roots. While I was conversing with the family, Juan Carlos burst in from the back of the restaurant, wearing his full chef gear. He introduced himself and each of his family members, and it instantly felt like we were old friends. Next thing I knew, we were taking pictures and exchanging numbers for my next visit to Puerto Rico.
Bringing Juan Carlos onto The Magic Hour was a very special opportunity. Connecting and spending time with his family was the perfect way to have our lives intersect for a brief moment in time. This connection was made about a month before we started filming The Magic Hour, however, it was more than just a coincidence. The story behind Juan Carlos’s rise through the culinary ranks to become an executive chef with one of the world’s leading restaurant families, the Commander’s Family, had to be captured. The major takeaway of his interview is the lesson that “you have to really want it,” which can apply to anyone who wants to succeed in life.
Enjoy the interview with Juan Carlos and stop by to visit him at SoBou in the French Quarter, I promise you will leave happy! They also have free valet parking.