Born in New York to Dominican parents, Kelvin Fernandez never dreamed as a kid he’d be a chef. In fact, he never showed interest in food – despite the fact that his dad was a chef – until he enrolled in a high school cooking class in order to impress his high school sweetheart. That class ignited a passion for all things culinary and now at age 32, Fernandez has made a name for himself as the youngest executive chef ever on New York City’s fine dining scene at the tender age of 22. He was also a runner up on Food Network’s “Chopped”, Winner on FYI Network’s Man vs Child and winner on Food Network’s Beat Bobby Flay Show. Chef Fernandez has been awarded top 30 chefs under 30 years old for food and wine by Forbes Magazine where he also competed for best chef in America and has won 2 years in a row (2016 and 2017).
Fernandez earned a full scholarship to the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. After graduation, Fernandez worked at Michelin-starred Water’s Edge in Long Island City under renowned chef George Masraff. Equipped with French training and fine dining know-how, Fernandez then spent several years working at Gotham Bar & Grill before landing at Café des Artistes. At just 22 years old, he was tapped to become the executive chef at Antipasti in Westchester. He spent two years there before landing at the Strand Hotel in NYC, where he specialized in contemporary American dining as the hotel’s executive chef. Chef Kelvin Then Moved to Latin Cuisine when opening Blend on the Water in Long Island City. Finally most recently Chef Kelvin was serving up his Creative Dishes at La Marina Restaurant in Washington Heights. Fernandez is currently taking time away from the restaurants to travel to Europe and work with some of Europe’s Best Chefs.
His advice for young chefs: “Work for the chefs you admire and want to be like one day. If you work for a level-C chef, you’re going to cook like a level-C chef. And don’t forget to learn from everyone. I’ve learned how to peel shrimp faster from my dishwasher; my sous teach me their family recipes. If you have an open mind and are able to learn from everyone around you, you’ll find yourself inspired every day.”