Chef Juan Carlos Peña has been appointed Chef de Cuisine of Lona Cocina & Tequileria, the great Mexican restaurant located at The Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort & Spa. An experienced culinary professional with a background in fine dining restaurants and resorts, Chef Peña is inspired by his Mexican heritage and driven by his passion for Mexico’s vibrant cuisine and culture to showcase the country’s techniques and flavors.

At Lona, Peña oversees the restaurant’s culinary team and works directly with celebrated chef/restaurateur Pablo Salas to create and deliver eclectic, soulful Mexican dishes. Peña also envisions and executes one-of-a-kind dining experiences including a monthly Chef’s Tequila Pairing Dinner which features an artfully prepared meal, curated with a modern and refined approach to Mexican cuisine and traditions.

Peña, who is originally from Queretaro, received his Bachelor of Arts degree in the Culinary Arts from University of Mondragon Mexico in Queretaro, MX, as well as completed his certification in Haute Patisserie from L’école de Patisserie by Benoit Gaillot.

In 2016, he came to the United States to join the team of The Four Seasons Resort in Palm Beach. Peña has worked in various roles in several of Miami’s most acclaimed kitchens including Michelin-starred restaurant Le Jardinier and Stubborn Seed, as well as Pao by Paul Qui, who is a previous winner of Top Chef. Chef Peña has also worked in some of the most exclusive and luxury hotels in Beverly Hills including The Peninsula and Four Seasons Hotel. Most recently he served as the private chef at one of the most exclusive residential complexes in Miami. In this position, he curated private events, and created personalized, custom menus for the building’s residents.

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Photo: Chef Juan Carlos Peña (Lona Cocina & Tequileria)