Big things are happening at La Preferida. This year, we are happy to introduce to you Chef La Pref — or as we like to call him, Chef Mario.
Food has been a part of Mario’s life from the very beginning. Though born in Chicago, Mario was raised in Latin America surrounded by family and BIG MEALS.
Mario began his ventures in the food and restaurant industry as a server, which led him to eventually become a restaurant manager — where he decided to make his passion for food a life-long career. Mario left his position as a restaurant manager to become a chef, working in restaurants like Le Bouchon, NoMi, The Peninsula Hotel Chicago, and even Martin Berasategui in Spain; and has worked with renowned chefs like Andrew Zimmerman and Martin Berasategui, among others.
Mario earned his bachelors degree from Loyola University, where he graduated Magna Cum Laude and was a two-time National Hispanic Scholarship recipient.
Mario’s favorite thing to eat is Latin street foods, and when he’s not cooking or indulging in savory foods, you might catch him on the soccer field playing with his daughter, road tripping with his son, or on the dance floor moving along to salsa music.
Chef’s favorite quote:
“La vida no es la fiesta que esperábamos, pero ya que estamos aquí… ¡bailemos!” (English translation) “Life is not the party we were expecting, but we are already here… so we might as well dance!”
Please join us in extending the warmest of welcomes to Chef Mario.