Rodrigo

Gastronomy is the art of using food to create happiness.

Bio

My name is Rodrigo Fernandini. I was Born and raised in the capital of the peruvian gastronomy, Chiclayo. Graduated from the culinary school of Le Cordon Bleu in Lima. Over the last decade I have trained in top peruvian and international restaurants including Michelin stars. Nowadays i am a Airbnb private chef ambassador in Florida, NBA private Chef, business owner and passionate entrepreneur. Follow me on instagram @rodrigofernandini and TikTok @chefrodrigofernandini



My Journey

My culinary journey began when I was four years old. This was in Pimentel, the beach district of Chiclayo, northern Peru, my mom was cooking the base of a delicious chicken stew, the combination of garlic and onions sweating together made me crazy, I dug my head inside the pot and deeply inhaled, that was it. Learning new dishes and expanding my kitchen recipes was my favorite game.

The Sound of One Herb Snapping

I attained a coveted spot at Le Cordon Bleu in Lima, then the renowned cooking academy’s only location in South America. For three years, I rode a whirlwind of studying, cooking, and staging working for free in Lima’s top restaurants.

Then came tests, like identifying ingredients while blindfolded. Could you tell cinnamon by the sound it makes when snapped? Could you distinguish black and green pepper by texture? After an intense but fun training i can. Students were also expected to write monographs—by hand. Never one to resist a challenge, I researched the influence of Japan on Peruvian cuisine.



A Cultural Mission

I had been on a mission to delight American palates ever since moving to the USA. Initially, I faced stereotypes about Peruvian food: “It’s so greasy, so heavy!” This was all the more surprising since Novoandina, New Andean cuisine, had gone global by the 1980s, making grains like quinoa, herbs like huacatay, and a wealth of recipes available to home cooks everywhere. I said, 'We have to do something about this!'

By then, I was working at Michelin-starred restaurants and being mentored by chefs like the Four Seasons’ Jayson Poe, Madera restaurant, Adega restaurant, Chez Tj and more, During time off, I cooked even more, spending months planning a five-course menu for the launch of a pop-up restaurant. Two people attended.

When my partner suggested canceling, I said, “No way. We have to respect those two people and make it happen.” The two diners hired us to cater dinner for 30. Soon I was juggling full-time work with booming demand for the pop-up. After years of slogging and saving, I opened my own restaurant.

It was a dream come true. It was also December 2019. As Jora was hitting its stride, Covid was shutting down restaurants.

Food brings people to the table to enjoy, and as you’re eating, you’re sharing your culture. Whatever I cook, I want to deliver on the promise of authenticity, originality, and respect for the product, the process, the person, and the moment. Everything I do is based on this. And yeah, I’m having fun in the kitchen. I love it—this is my happy place.