Montiel Saul 350x350 - Montiel, Saul

Saul Montiel

Biography

35 years old Chef Saúl Montiel was born in Atotonilco el Grande, a small town outside of the city of Pachuca in central Mexico. Montiel was one of four children, all of whom were raised solely by his mother, Margarita Montiel Perez. At just three years of age, Montiel suffered the sudden loss of his father, which instilled in him a sense of responsibility to care for his mother and provide for his family in his father’s absence.

Montiel quickly adopted the kitchen as his second home, where he not only developed a passion for... READ MORE

35 years old Chef Saúl Montiel was born in Atotonilco el Grande, a small town outside of the city of Pachuca in central Mexico. Montiel was one of four children, all of whom were raised solely by his mother, Margarita Montiel Perez. At just three years of age, Montiel suffered the sudden loss of his father, which instilled in him a sense of responsibility to care for his mother and provide for his family in his father’s absence.

Montiel quickly adopted the kitchen as his second home, where he not only developed a passion for food but for the restaurant industry as well. Both his mother and grandmother, Maria de Jesus Perez, had made careers in the kitchen, owning two restaurants by the name of “La Unica,” which means “The Only [One]” in Spanish. It was within these two restaurants that Montiel first developed his skills of managing and operating a small business. He washed dishes, cleaned, and was responsible for choosing fresh produce at the local market.

At age fifteen, Montiel moved to the United States, filled with the hope of achieving the great “American Dream.” The intense desire to provide for his mother and young siblings had not diminished, and the young Montiel worked on the side doing whatever odd jobs he could find. In California, he worked as a painter, a gardener, and a construction worker, but what he really yearned for was to return to the kitchen.

After a short time, Montiel moved to be with family members in New York City, where he began working as a dishwasher in the kitchen of SoHo’s Diva, an Italian restaurant owned by Naci Yangin. It was in New York City that Montiel quickly realized that by gaining more experience and developing new skills, he could earn more money for his family. He therefore began arriving to work early to observe, learn from, and assist the cooks he worked with at Diva.

From there, Montiel quickly advanced within the kitchen. He began working at I Coppi, a Tuscan cuisine restaurant, and was responsible for its salads, pizzas, and desserts. He also worked at Amaranth, an Upper East Side restaurant that specializes in the fusion of Italian and French cuisines.

It was at his next job—at the Mediterranean restaurant Tappo—that Montiel had the good fortune of meeting Chef Jodi Williams, now a television personality on the Food Network. Williams served as a mentor to Montiel, teaching him many of his culinary skills and reaffirming his passion for food. At just nineteen years of age, Montiel worked directly under Williams as Tappo’s sous chef.

When Williams moved to Giorgione, founded by Giorgio DeLuca of the famous Dean & DeLuca gourmet foods line, she invited Montiel to work with her once again. Montiel continued to work as Giorgione’s sous chef until he was appointed executive chef when Williams moved to another restaurant.

After Giorgione, Montiel moved to SoHo’s Lure Fishbar, where he worked as sous chef to Chef Josh Capon.

After his work at Lure, Montiel was invited again by Williams to work as the sous chef of Gusto Ristorante e Bar Americano, owned by restaurateur Sasha Muniak, the founder of New York’s Mangia Corporation. At Gusto, Montiel worked as sous chef to celebrity chefs Amanda Freitag and Anne Burrell.

In 2008, Montiel became executive chef of Gusto and in 2009, he became part-owner of the restaurant. He is also part-owner of The Lexington Social, a cocktail and Mediterranean tapas lounge located in East Harlem.

While at Gusto, Montiel has been featured on several television programs, including Telemundo’s “Al Rojo Vivo” and Univision’s “Despierta America.” He has been featured on the front page of El Diario and has been recognized for his contributions to the Latino community in New York City.

In 2017 he reopened he’s grandparents old restaurant “LA UNICA” on a new Location, making the decor vintage and rustic. Also new menu that reflects the old world Mexican cuisine and new world Mexican cuisine. he took old recipes and made them fun and delicious, adding some American dishes with a Mexican twist.

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