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Alejandro Aayon was born in Spain, where his Venezuelan mother was studying medicine. After she graduated, they returned to Venezuela, where this renowned chef grew up. He studied geography at the Central University of Venezuela, but later in 1998, he decided to move to the United States in search of a better future. “I took a GPS course, and I also had a great passion for cooking. While studying, I had the opportunity to work at the restaurant of a famous Spanish chef, José Andrés, who noticed my work ethic, responsibility, good principles, manners, and passion for cooking. He took me under his wing and started teaching me innovative techniques, including molecular cuisine, which is quite complex,” said Aayon, adding that he found making paella or a Spanish omelet extremely easy. He highlighted that being a chef requires many sacrifices. “I started from the bottom, learning the most basic techniques, facing difficult obstacles, but also with the satisfaction that my work was valued. I spoke both English and Spanish, which helped me a lot in dealing with both staff and customers,” said Alejandro Aayon.
He worked in several restaurants, including a well-known Spanish restaurant called Jaleo in Washington. “José gave me the opportunity to work in another restaurant. I worked day and night, from eight in the morning until one in the early morning, which I did with great ethics, love, and passion, which he appreciated,” he said. Throughout his career, he always emphasized his ethics and values, which gave him great strength. “This is more important than a postgraduate or master’s degree because a person with principles, values, and a title is worth a lot,” Aayon said. He considered this period as a transition, not a lifestyle. “I always focused on short-term goals, but they had to be real. My journey will be long, but I want to do it right,” he added.
After completing his work with chef José Andrés, he worked in Maryland, New York, with Marriott hotels, and in a hospital. “In New York, I won paella contests for two consecutive years, competing against more than 30 chefs nationwide. And after years of sacrifice, 22 years, thanks to God, the Virgin, and my parents, I am seeing the results. I opened my own business, starting with a canopy, and now I have a food truck,” he recounted. In his current business, for the past two years, he has been offering gourmet food that has caused a sensation in the area, just 35 minutes from DC. “The concept of fresh food has caused a sensation, and my specialty is Spanish cuisine, paellas, and tapas. My concept is small portions. In the United States, there is an evolution towards good eating and eating healthy, and one of the ways is through small portions. My prices are also affordable. It’s a combination of quality and cost,” he emphasized.
As a project, Alejandro Aayon plans to vacuum pack the paellas and distribute them to supermarkets. “Discipline and perseverance have brought me to where I am today,” he reiterated.