Calapa-PJ

PJ Calapa

Biography

Having grown up in the Mexican border town of Brownsville, Texas, PJ Calapa was exposed to a range of cuisines and flavors at an early age. As a child, he began working in his grandmother’s kitchen and later in his grandfather’s wholesale fish business. Calapa continued to nurture his culinary passion during his undergraduate studies at Texas A&M University, when he worked on the hot line at Christopher’s World Grille.

As a CIA graduate, Calapa worked at Bouley in Tribeca, Eleven Madison Park, and Nobu 57, where he started as a line cook and quickly... READ MORE

Having grown up in the Mexican border town of Brownsville, Texas, PJ Calapa was exposed to a range of cuisines and flavors at an early age. As a child, he began working in his grandmother’s kitchen and later in his grandfather’s wholesale fish business. Calapa continued to nurture his culinary passion during his undergraduate studies at Texas A&M University, when he worked on the hot line at Christopher’s World Grille.

As a CIA graduate, Calapa worked at Bouley in Tribeca, Eleven Madison Park, and Nobu 57, where he started as a line cook and quickly rose through the ranks to become executive sous chef. It was at Nobu 57 that Calapa learned about the delicate art of Japanese cuisine, which still informs his vision for fine dining. In 2010, Calapa joined Chef Michael White’s Altamarea Group to help launch Ai Fiori, which earned three stars from The New York Times, a Michelin star, and a 2013 StarChefs Rising Star Chef Award.

In the Summer of 2016, Calapa left the Altamarea Group to open two new projects of his own. In the Spring of 2017, Calapa opened his interpretation of an iconic New York Tavern in the West village of Manhattan, The Spaniard. In December of 2017 Calapa brings a taste of southern Italy to Manhattan’s Flatiron district with Scampi. His thoughtful menu showcases the culinary bounty of land and sea with dishes that highlight the uninhibited vibrance of the region. Delicately composed crudos, hand-made pastas, seasonal vegetables procured from the greenmarket and masterfully prepared grilled items are easily shared or savored by one.

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What is your favorite NYC restaurant? And what is your go-to dish? Cosme - Uni Tostada What is your ultimate meal? lots of raw fish What three things are always in your pantry? salt, extra virgin olive oil, dry pasta If you weren't a chef, what would you be? a fishing guide If you could cook with anyone, who would that be? francis mallman What’s your favorite NYCWFF memory? winning burger bash