Chef Robert Vazquez 2021 Forks & Corks Chef Robert Vasquez has cultivated a diverse repertoire of culinary skills over the past four decades. From prep cook to corporate executive chef, Vasquez has spent his career curiously exploring the many business and cultural facets of the food industry. Chef Vasquez first fell in love with ingredients and recipe development in his mother’s kitchen. She was his first culinary instructor and also his first real boss when he began his career as a dishwasher in his family’s restaurant where his mother was chef. The flavor profiles he learned under her tutelage remain influential in his cuisine to this day. His first real break into the culinary world was when he was promoted from Executive Steward to Chef de Cuisine at Marquesa Restaurant, a French fine dining concept at the Scottsdale Princess Resort. With the support of his mentor Chef Cary Neff, Vasquez began diversifying Marquesa’s menu to include the newly developing cuisines of Catalan and Tex-Mex. Here Vasquez earned the Five Diamond and Mobile Five Star awards. Vasquez was tapped on multiple occasions to be a global ambassador for Southwest cuisine beginning with some time spent in the island of Bermuda. In 1992, Vasquez travelled to Beijing to spend a year working with Master German Chef Peter Shaumberg in the opening of China’s first Tex-Mex restaurant. While there, Vasquez was named Best New Chef in Asia. Shortly thereafter, Vasquez spent another year in Asia. This time he was in Singapore consulting for Westin Hotels and Swiss Master Chef Otto Weible, guiding the opening of Raffles City Southwest Cuisine. Upon returning stateside, Vasquez was named as Executive Chef of the Citidel, a historic property in Scottsdale, Arizona. Housing three distinct restaurants, the Citidel received multiple awards during Vasquez’s (and Neff’s) tenure including Top 10 Inns in the Nation and Best Southwest Restaurant in Arizona. Vasquez went on to receive the Four Star and Golden Sceptre awards as Chef de Cuisine of the French Restaurant Marius in Coronado Island, California. He then led the culinary division as Executive Chef in the reopening of the Grand Colonial Hotel, listed as one of the Top 100 Historical Hotels in the US. In 2001, Chef Vasquez bid farewell to the Southwest and landed in the deep South. Here in the culinary mecca of New Orleans, Vasquez continued adding to his diverse skill set by mastering classic Creole and Cajun flavors as Banquet Chef of the famous Fairmont Hotel and as Executive Chef of two historic locations on the Northshore, Artesia in Abita Springs and the Lake House and his own restaurant, Opal Basil, in Old Mandeville. Today, Chef Vasquez draws on his vast restaurant, catering, and retail experience as corporate executive chef for the Pardos Restaurant Group. He is headquartered in the kitchens of Forks and Corks in Terrabella Village in Covington, Louisiana. In 2020 Chef Robert won the title of King of Louisiana Seafood. He is currently enjoying being an ambassador for the seafood and tourism industry of Louisiana, the Bayou State!