Muñoz Juan 350x350 - Muñoz, Juan

Juan Muñoz

Biography

Juan Muñoz’s most rewarding career experience is exactly what he’s doing now: being a founding team member at wholesome takeaway chain Proper Food. “I’m at this point in my career where I want to make food with an impact—good food that’s accessible to everybody,” he says. “One of my proudest accomplishments has been to create a healthy working environment and sustainable place for growth.” As Executive Chef and Head of Operations, Muñoz hires, trains, and develops staff in addition to creating menus and overseeing operations for nine San Francisco locations, and the soon to be... READ MORE

Juan Muñoz’s most rewarding career experience is exactly what he’s doing now: being a founding team member at wholesome takeaway chain Proper Food. “I’m at this point in my career where I want to make food with an impact—good food that’s accessible to everybody,” he says. “One of my proudest accomplishments has been to create a healthy working environment and sustainable place for growth.” As Executive Chef and Head of Operations, Muñoz hires, trains, and develops staff in addition to creating menus and overseeing operations for nine San Francisco locations, and the soon to be twelfth in Manhattan’s Financial District this Fall.

As a longtime chef, Muñoz’s cooking philosophy favors seasonal, wholesome food rather than chasing the latest trends. This begins at the farm level, where he seeks out vendor partners with sustainable practices and consistent, peak-season product. Once these ingredients reach the Proper Food commissary, Muñoz amplifies their flavors, never masking them behind unnecessary flourishes. His vision of making a culinary impact comes true daily: close to 5,000 people a day enjoy his take on proper food. “I’m flattered by how much people enjoy my cooking,” he says. “They come back because you can eat our food two or three times a week. It’s inspired, easy, good food, and there is a broad variety.”

Throughout his childhood in both Mexico and Southern California, Muñoz’s cooking education began early-on as he helped his grandmother in the kitchen. He moved to San Francisco at age 18, with one goal in mind: to pursue culinary school and officially become a chef. Graduating from the California Culinary Academy in 2006, he went on to work as an opening Sous Chef at Tender Greens, as well as at City Club of San Francisco, Plant Café Organic, and the legendary SF staple, Moose’s. Muñoz honed his culinary skills and developed his affinity for fresh, seasonal, quality ingredients working for Michelin-starred restaurant Campton Place. Marrying his experiences in fast-casual and fine dining establishments, Muñoz joined Proper Food upon its debut in 2014 and brought the concept to life with his inspired menu.

A self-described health and fitness nut, Muñoz finds numerous ways to stay in shape during his off-hours—although he also enjoys going out for a great meal and a glass of wine.

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What is your favorite NYC restaurant? And what is your go-to dish? Right now I would have to say Oxomoco. My favorite dish is the Carne Brava, dry-aged, bone-in ribeye with chimichurri, salsa roja, and chorizo beans. It's delicious. What is your ultimate meal? Guajillo Chile Mole-red chicken mole, Mexican rice and some good old refried beans. What three things are always in your pantry? Coconut milk, soy sauce, and brown rice. If you weren't a chef, what would you be? I would love to immerse myself in the world of tequila, live in Jalisco and learn from the masters. If you could cook with anyone, who would that be? My great grandma, she was known to be the cooking force in our family. I never met her but I know that's where my love of cooking comes from. What’s your favorite NYCWFF memory? It's my first year in NYC! Excited to create memories this year.