Culinary School: Culinary Institute of America
Program: Associate’s in Baking & Pastry, Graduated in 2000
Current Position: Baking & Pastry Professor at Johnson & Wales University in Miami
With a Bachelor’s degree in hotel and restaurant administration from the UPR, Carolina campus, René decided he wanted to pursue further studies in baking and pastry at the Culinary Institute of America and he was granted a scholarship. Upon graduation in 2000, René was named Pastry Chef at the new Pikayo Restaurant at the Museo de Arte. He has always been interested in teaching and in 2002 he joined the faculty as a pastry arts instructor at the José A. (Tony) Santana International School of Hospitality and Culinary Arts at Universidad del Este. Subsequently, René became the Pastry Chef at Koppas Restaurant in Isla Verde where he continued to develop his skills and creativity in the world of pastry.
René is a talented pastry chef and has been a member of Puerto Rico’s National Culinary Team twice. In 2004, he was the team captain and the team won a gold medal and he won an individual bronze medal. In 2007, he was again named to the Puerto Rico National Culinary Team and both the team and he as an individual won gold medals. He was named the Caribbean’s Pastry Chef of the Year during the Taste of the Caribbean competition.
In 2008, René was offered the position of Executive Pastry Chef at Villas Caleton at Cap Cana in Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. He later moved to Washington, D.C. as Assistant Pastry Chef at CoCo Sala under Chef Santosh Tiptur. René has continued to develop as a topnotch pastry chef and in 2011 he became the first Pastry Chef at the newly opened St. Regis, Bahia Beach Resort in Rio Grande. Today René is pursuing another passion – teaching all that he has learned throughout the years as Baking & Pastry Professor at Johnson & Wales University in Miami, Florida.