Born on an Army base in Colorado Springs, CO, Executive Chef Demetrio Zavala spent most of his life living in Florida. His family has Greek, Italian, French, Spanish, and Mexican roots and his grandmother and uncle were his greatest influences growing up.
Chef Zavala started cooking at the age of 15 as a prep cook in an Italian Restaurant in Boca Raton, Florida. He then learned classic French cooking at Gazebo Café and went on to La Vieille Maison and Mezzaluna with Chef Pierre Viau, where he really was inspired. Today, his culinary influences include Chefs Pierre Viau, John Belleme, Eric Ripert, Daniel Boulud, Jean Georges, and Dante Boccuzzi.
Chef Zavala worked at Max’s Grille in Mizner Park for 10 years. From there he went to work for the Jade Restaurant Corporation, running eight successful Asian fusion restaurants. During that time, he was contacted by the prestigious James Beard Foundation and was nominated for New and Up and Coming Chef. He was able to bring his dream of owning a high end pizza restaurant to fruition when he founded Coal Mine Pizza in Boca Raton, which was so successful in its first year he sold it and started a restaurant consulting business. Just like Chef Gordon Ramsay on TV’s “Kitchen Nightmares”, during his consulting years Chef Zavala was called in to help reconstruct menus, and breathe new life into entire businesses.
What does the future hold? “In the coming years, I see more food coming from local farms with natural ingredients,” says Zavala. He enjoys taking old favorites and creating modern presentations around them. He is passionate about continuing to learn new cooking techniques, saying: “lifelong learning about my craft invigorates me; it makes me feel alive.” Chef Zavala is equally passionate about his two beautiful kids Chandler (16) and Chase (15), whom he loves to cook and dine with at home.