Top 8 Chef on the Island


Natalia Vallejo

Hailing from Cayey, chef Natalia Vallejo has revolutionized ancestral Puerto Rican cuisine at her renowned restaurant. Located in the vibrant neighborhood of Santurce, Cocina Al Fondo, meaning "kitchen in the back," is a captivating gastronomic haven that celebrates the Island's traditions, flavors, and history, with an innovative concept based on a circular system that portrays a sustainable future. She not only expresses her own identity and deep connection to her Boricua roots through each meticulously crafted dish, but also supports local agricultural production, incorporating ingredients into her recipes that are locally sourced from farmers, fishermen, and even harvested from her own garden.

Chef Vallejo made history as the first Puerto Rican woman nominee and the first Puerto Rican chef to claim the esteemed title of Best Chef South in the prestigious James Beard Awards 2023. She was also profiled and her restaurant was featured in a variety of outlets such as Eater, Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, and The New York Times.