Whether he’s in the kitchen, penning his cookbooks—or working the stove in one of his eight-and-growing establishments, Palomino is the consummate creator and astute businessman. Keenly aware of flavors people love and crave, Colombian-born Chef Palomino draws from his childhood in Bogotá, his younger years in New York City—alongside such culinary legends as Larry Forgione and Charlie Palmer—as well as his time in France, with Michel Guèrard in Eugènie-les-Bains. Today his many restaurants—his menus and his success—represent the culmination of his artistry and business savvy; he knows food, and he knows how people relish their dining experiences.
Chef Rafael Palomino was born in Bogota, Colombia and made his way to Fresh Meadows, Queens when he was just a teenager. Growing up, Rafael had always had a passion for food and creating something special. Chef Palomino quickly learned the best way any chef learns-being in the kitchen!
While still in High School he worked at the River Cafe to get a taste of what it was like in the kitchen. While working there he met Larry Forgione. Chef Palomino's passion quickly grew and took his skills and desire to learn to France to work with Chef Michel Guèrard.
After returning from France, Chef Palomino continued to master his skills under chefs like Larry Forgione and Jonathan Waxman. He then became one of the youngest head chefs in the city at Metropolis Cafe located in Union Square.
Chef Palomino then decided to go back to his roots and use his cooking expertise to highlight the delicious flavors of Latin America. He started this and opened his first restaurant Sonora Restaurant in New York City. Sonora has since relocated to Port Chester, NY.
"Do it with
or not at all"
These days, in between scribing cookbooks (he’s got five published to date: Bistro Latino, Viva la Vida, Nueva Salsa, Fiesta Latina and Latin Grill!) and teaching cooking classes, Chef Rafael Palomino is an active participant in all of his restaurants, which currently span four states and many miles! In addition to The Urbano in Bethlehem, Palomino boasts ownership of four more in PA (Tapas on Main in Bethlehem, The Flying Egg and Cachette Bistro & Creperie as well as Mesa Modern Mexican in Easton), one in Connecticut (Pacífico in New Haven), one more in New York (Sonora in Port Chester), one in Florida (BSquare in Fort Lauderdale), and of course more in the works!
Chef Rafael Palomino is living testament to his own motto, “Do it with passion or not at all!” Open any of his cookbooks, or enter any of his establishments, and you’ll soon see—and taste—the successful combination of Palomino-style ingredients.