Country: United States of America
Specialty: International Haute Cuisine
Having grown up in the Mexican border town of Brownsville, Texas, PJ Calapa was exposed to a wide variety of flavors and styles 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. After, Calapa moved to New York and enrolled at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, where he sharped his culinary skills to create a new merge between early food memories and his own gastronomic intuition.
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 become executive sous chef. 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. Calapa then opened as executive chef Costata and the Campagna and the Barn at the Bedford Post Inn.
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 The Spaniard in the West village of Manhattan, and Scampi in Manhattan’s Flatiron district. His thoughtful menu showcases the culinary bounty of land and sea with dishes that highlight the uninhibited vibrance of the region. In the lively and pleasant atmosphere of its restaurants, diners will feel as if they have been invited to the chef’s house for a meal they will not forget, exquisite moments that you will enjoy at the “A Taste of New York in Mayakoba” dinner.