From laying tiles to head chef at JALEO by José Andrés

Rodolfo Guzmán's story is one of determination, perseverance

By Carolina Cardona - Reporter

ORLANDO, Fla. - Rodolfo Guzmán was clueless about cooking 26 years ago. After arriving in the U.S. from Bolivia at 19, he needed to work right away. Eventually he crossed paths with chef José Ramón Andrés, who gave him the opportunity that changed his life.

"I believe in the destiny, OK? So for me, meeting Jose changed my life. He's my mentor. Everything I know, everything I have right now is thanks to him," Guzmán said about his role model.

Andrés, a prominent Spanish chef and humanitarian, opened the first JALEO restaurant in Washington D.C., in 1993. Two years ago, Andrés made headlines after he served more than 3 millions meals in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria.

Guzmán recalled when he worked at the original restaurant a few weeks before its inauguration. He was in charge of installing floor tiles.

"I was very proud of that because I was putting the tiles in the bar," Guzmán said.

After the restaurant opened in D.C., Andrés gave Guzmán a job washing dishes and from there, he worked up the ranks.

Along the way, his love for cooking grew, leading him to one of Spain's most prestigious restaurant's, El Bulli -- where he refined his cooking and came out a chef.

Today, the life Guzmán enjoys is a testament to what it means to have determination and perseverance, as the head chef for JALEO by José Andrés in Disney Springs.

"Nothing is easy in this life, it doesn't matter where you are but if you have that hunger to learn, to work hard, to be responsible, I think always you can be successful."

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