Richard Sandoval has spent the past couple of decades running restaurants and educating the world about Mexican cuisine, and more recently about other Latin American cuisines as well.
He was born in Mexico and comes from a family of restaurateurs. Upon his arrival in the United States he found the food that was billed as Mexican didn’t resemble what he grew up on at all, and he resolved to change that.
He studied at The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., and like many such graduates in the early 1990s he started cooking French food. His first restaurant, Savann in New York City, was indeed French, as was his second one, Savann Est, also in New York.
But in 1997 he opened Maya, and that became the seed of his global empire, Richard Sandoval Hospitality, that now operates or licenses some 60 restaurants around the world. In fact, his company says it introduced Latin cuisine to the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and Serbia.
Sandoval, now a cookbook author and TV personality as well as a restaurateur, has launched a mentorship program to help cultivate young talent, and he recently discussed that while reflecting on his decades in hospitality.