Jose Rojas

Jose Rojas

Chef Jose Rojas joined TableSeide Restaurant Group more than eight years ago where he was hired to help out as a line cook at Libby’s Café + Bar during the peak dining hours.  What started out as part-time work quickly grew into a full-time position, eventually leading him to join the opening team of Louies Modern in 2013.
Born and raised in Mexico City, Rojas grew up seeing cooking as a way of life, with his grandmother, mother and father all accomplished in creating classic Mexican dishes.  “We went to the farms every day and prepared all our own food,” said Rojas.  “This was part of our culture.”  The Mexican culinary craft was instilled in him, a much more refined version from what he experienced when he came to America 17 years ago with his father.
Rojas began his outside culinary career at the age of 14 at a Mexican Restaurant in Mexico City.  “I knew I was coming to the States and expected to work to help support my family,” he said.   Eight months later he arrived in Sarasota, Fla., working his way up the culinary ladder at Café of the Arts and Country Pancake House Lakewood Ranchand Steak & Ale before joining TableSeide Restaurant Group.
When his father decided to return to Mexico City several years later, Rojas stayed on.  “I got used to being here.  I liked the people and Sarasota.  It is much calmer than Mexico City,” he said.   “I also had a vision to help bring more refined Mexican and Latin American cooking concepts and flavors to the States and to help educate people about our culture and heritage,” he added.
Having worked his way up to sous chef at Libby’s Café + Bar, Rojas had the opportunity to introduce some of the ethnic flavors, techniques and dishes into new menu items.  “I got a lot of support from [Executive Chef] Fran and the rest of our team.   It meant a lot to me.”
Rojas then learned of the upcoming opening of TableSeide Restaurant’s Group next restaurant, Louies Modern in downtown Sarasota, where he became part of the opening team in 2013, working his way up to Chef in 2016.
“I love the open kitchen concept because I get direct feedback on the guest experience,” he said. “By watching guests as dishes are delivered and how they respond, I know if we have hit – or missed – the mark. I am also blessed with a great learning and teaching environment. We work very closely together to create memorable meals and moments and introduce new flavor concepts,” he added.