Ronaldo describes his approach to life as he does his cooking – “Modern Techniques with Ancestral Flavors.” Ronaldo gives mas Sabor to everything he does. He is an associate at De Martino, a Cuban Restaurant in Somerville, NJ, and has partnered with Healthfirst Insurance. He is an American Heart Association National Spokesperson for the Healthy for Good campaign and also shares his knowledge with the AARP caregivers program. Above all, he is a devout husband and father.
Born in Colombia during the turbulent Cartel Wars of the 1980s, cooking has saved him in many ways and has been the main ingredient in Ronaldo’s journey from young immigrant to rebellious teen to a successful chef, media personality, and leader.
While he first honed his knife skills as a teen clocking long hours in his family’s restaurant, Ronaldo’s “food voice” began to take shape while he was a Sergeant and Food Service Specialist in the Marines, serving 6,000 men daily. There, he learned about regional American food and began to infuse it with his Cuban sazón.
Following his Marine Corps service, Ronaldo enrolled in the Institute for Culinary Education in New York City where he graduated with high honors. In 2016, Ronaldo was named Influencer of the Year by the Latinos in Tech Innovation & Social Media (LATISM) and honored by the Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey as Culinary Person of the Year.
Ronaldo has showcased his culinary style on Food Network’s Chopped, BBC America’s cross-country chef competition “Chef Race,” and appearances on WNBC, Fox News, Telemundo, and Univision. He is a popular featured chef presenter and speaker at live events including the Food Network’s “Food & Wine Festival,” the Diabetes EXPO, and The International Restaurant & Foodservice Show of New York.