Juan Osorio, a Mexican local, is one of the many thriving career-changers who have found their success after laying a foundation with a culinary education from the ACAC.
Dissatisfied with his studies in political science, Juan moved to Cambodia for a sabbatical year in 2017, supporting his uncle with his restaurant in Phnom Penh.
Working in the restaurant, Juan quickly discovered his passion for cooking and decided to pursue this career by enrolling in the ACAC. Following graduation in 2019, Juan became Junior Chef and Restaurant Manager at the most popular Mexican restaurant in town, the Itacate.
He attributes his professional success in part to his passion for Mexican cuisine as well as his education from the ACAC.
When did you realize cooking was your passion and how were you inspired to enroll into a culinary school?
Cooking has been part of my life since I was little. It is an important component in every Mexican family and part of our culture. But only after spending time at my uncle’s restaurant here in Phnom Penh, I discovered my passion for it so I decided to pursue it professionally and enroll into a culinary institute.
What is one thing that you learned during your studies that has proven to be indispensable throughout your culinary career?
Consistency and discipline. You need to have discipline to consistently perform at the highest level. Your customers will come back if the dish meets their expectation every time, but if it’s not they may not order it again or return to the restaurant.
What is your current position? What career goals have you accomplished since graduating from the ACAC?
I manage the kitchen and operations at the Itacate restaurant. I am still working on many career goals but a great experience for me was spending time at the Michelin Star restaurant in France during my studies at the ACAC.
Name a chef that inspires you and why?
There are two. Peruvian Chef Virgilio Martínez Véliz and Mexican Chef Enrique Olvera. Both are extremely successful and their restaurants ranked among the 50 best in the world. What inspires me most is their way of applying modern cooking techniques to indigenous ingredients on an haute-cuisine level.
Where do you see yourself professionally in five years?
Actually, I’m returning to Mexico by the end of this year, where I got the opportunity to work at one of Enrique Olvera’s restaurants. My goal is to deepen my knowledge in Mexican gastronomy and make my Master Degree in Hispanic, Contemporary Haute-Cuisine.
What advice would you give to someone looking to pursue a culinary career?
Be authentic, be unique and be innovative not reactive. And of course, never give up. You need to practice and practice and practice to finally master it.