Restauranteur, and Celebrated Chef, Beni Velazquez was raised in New York City and the dishes he creates are based on the food he was surrounded by growing up. The self-taught chef spent time cooking in the kitchen with his mother from an early age. He began working in hotel banquet and catering kitchens and worked his way up the ranks,learning techniques and cooking fundamentals from the French, Italian and Spanish chefs with whom he shared the kitchen. He soon established himself as a professional chef in hotels including The Four Seasons and the Ritz-Carlton. He spent over 12 years consulting for various hotels, casinos and restaurants and also served as corporate chef for Stanford Hospital and Clinics in Palo Alto, California and University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).
Chef Beni, who solidified his place in the local restaurant scene in the Downtown Las Vegas Arts District, is an accomplished chef, contributing food author, food stylist, consultant, nutritionist, and culinary public speaker. Since then Chef Velazquez has earned a spot in several "Best Of" lists in national, international and regional publications; Zagat rated "One of One" in Pan Latin cuisine, Three Squares Food Bank’s Chef Council in Las Vegas; Chef representative for March of Dimes; along with Flavors of the Heart Chef for the American Heart Association. Chef Beni has also been a contestant on Food Network’s Chopped. In addition Chef Beni just recently paired himself in the Airline Industry, creating food menus for certain airline companies. Along with being nominated as Culinarian of the Year 2015.
With his many creative talents and training, this culinary go-getter of Puerto Rican descent, continues to set trends in the restaurant industry. Each and every dish of Chef Beni’s "eclectic Latin" fare, is completely his own creation. Chef Beni clearly understands the foundations of cooking yet he craves bold experiments that continue to deliver foods you cannot find anywhere else. "I am self-taught, and through my travels I have picked up many techniques," he explains. The Chef often jokes that you will be hard pressed to find anything like what he has created because everything comes from his culinary imagination and his affinity for coloring slightly outside the lines. By doing this, he blends many Latin styles of cuisine to create what can only be described Pan-Latin. Chef Beni has been able to master this style with his precision and understanding of flavors, which is why his creative dishes work so well.
When he isn’t working, Chef Beni is devoted to mastering and refining the
art of cooking, as well as educating communities on how to enjoy traditional cultural cuisine in a healthy way. Chef Beni is always an advocate of the principal that it is a lifestyle, not a diet. Whether it is creating healthy meal plans in conjunction with fitness centers or ensuring that his menus are full of only the freshest ingredients — Chef Beni truly believes food is life — in every sense.
But most importantly, Chef Beni Velázquez is, above all else, a chef that takes risks in the kitchen and delivers big rewards in all of his original venues. Boasting a style all of his own, that began while living in New York and pulling elements from Spain, Italy, France, Morocco, Egypt, Israel, China and Africa – his cuisine is as lively and original as the city he cooks in, Las Vegas!
Chef Beni is focused on new restaurant openings in Las Vegas and the U.S.A.
Chef Beni is also on the Chef Counsel for Three Square Food Bank of Southern Nevada. Visit ThreeSquare.org for more information