Efrain Cruz

Culinary School: Johnson & Wales University

Program: Associate’s in Culinary Arts, Graduated in 1999
Current Position: Executive Chef, InterContinental Hotel

Career Path:

Efrain began his culinary career in the small town of Murray Hill, New Jersey where he was a pot and dishwasher in the Peacock Room Restaurant. He returned to Puerto Rico in 1992 and worked as a chef at the Hotel El Faro in Aguadilla. Two years later, Efrain began working as a line cook at the Mayagüez Resort & Casino and three months later was promoted to sous chef. Efrain realized the need for culinary arts studies and graduated in 1999 from Johnson & Wales’ culinary arts program. He was consistently on the Dean’s list while at Johnson & Wales.

After graduation, Efrain was named Executive Chef at the Mayagüez Resort & Casino, a position he held until February 2006 when he became Executive Chef at the Condado Plaza Hotel. Efrain then accepted a position as Executive Chef at the Gran Melia Resort in Rio Grande where he oversaw the operation of four restaurants in addition to 22,400 square feet of banquet space. In 2012 Efrain was appointed Executive Chef at the InterContinental hotel in Isla Verde and he also opened his own restaurant, Vendimia 305, in his hometown of Isabela.

Efrain has always been active in culinary competitions and has won various awards with the Puerto Rico and Caribbean Hotel Associations. He was a member of the Equipo Nacional de Iron Chef in 2006 and won a silver medal. In December 2009, Efrain participated in Puerto Rico’s first Master Chef Competition and did very well earning second place. Efrain has always been active in culinary competitions and has won various awards with the Puerto Rico and Caribbean Hotel Associations. He was a member of the Equipo Nacional de Iron Chef in 2006 and won a silver medal. In December 2009, Efrain participated in Puerto Rico’s first Master Chef Competition and did very well earning second place. In 2010, Efrain traveled to Madrid to participate in the cooking demonstrations of Puerto Rican cuisine at the International Tourism Trade Fair. In 2011, Efrain was the first scholarship recipient to be named as one of the twelve chefs at the Caribe Hilton’s “12 Chefs, 6 Wines, 1 Dinner, Eco Dining”.

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