Special Report: Rafael Nazario, Puerto Vallarta’s most wanted chef

Want to know how to please even the most sassy summer palate? Just ask Rafael Nazario, a supermarket stocker, forklift driver, head hunter, book rep, waiter, talk radio DJ, wine consultant, piano salesman, musician, sommelier, chef, pianist/stand-up comic in his own cabaret act, teacher of food and wine, piano player at a major Los Angeles eatery, actor on TV, film and commercials, wine writer, sometime poet, ad jingle composer, film composer, jazz pianist and actor in Tokyo, writer, copywriter, restaurant owner and then…back to chef.He’s been there, done that   and done it well. Fluent in Spanish, Italian, German, French, Japanese, Nazario earned his F&B fame in Los Angeles at two renowned restaurants: 72 Market Street Oyster Bar & Grill and Hugo’s. As the Wine & Spirits Buyer for 72 Market Street in Venice, he was frequently noted as the top sommelier in LA, leading the eatery to noted status for its wine list.

Prior to that, he created the menu and format for what became an icon in the Los Angeles dining scene: Hugo’s..  One of the first of the gourmet take-out/fine food boutiques with a restaurant, Hugo’s became a favorite hangout of Hollywood royalty.

Additionally, as the house pianist, he entertained a stellar celebrity guest list at both restaurants. Food herein lays Nazario’s passion. A self taught and wildly experienced sommelier and chef, he is a natural actor and works the room in every setting. In his present stint as Chef/Manager of Daiquiri Dick’s, a mainstay on Puerto Vallarta’s gourmet scene, Nazario entertains through his menu and his sharp wit.

Customers flock to see him and what he might compose for the evening’s specials. He took over the helm of this landmark restaurant in early 1998, and Daiquiri Dick’s was invited to participate in Puerto Vallarta’s esteemed Gourmet Festival in 2000, as well as to cook at New York City’s James Beard House in August 2004.
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