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The Kennedy Center

Kennedy Center Restaurants

Chef

Jaime Montes de Oca Jr.

Executive Chef, Restaurant Associates at the Kennedy Center

a plate of crabcakes

A native of New York, this 20-year old culinary veteran boasts an impressive and all-encompassing resume that could only be achieved by hard work, determination and an innate ability to continuously innovate.

Upon graduating from New York’s Art Institute, Montes de Oca joined the culinary team at the five-star Waldorf-Astoria, where he was exposed to the fast-paced world of banquet-style catering and the precise culinary dance of the fine dining experience. For the next decade, Montes de Oca showcased his sophisticated flair at a number of New York’s finest hotels and restaurants, such as the four-star Plaza Hotel, acclaimed restaurateur Jean-George Vongerichten’s threestar Vong, and Gertude’s alongside Chef Laurent Manrique, before landing at the iconic Russian Tea Room as executive sous chef.

In 2001, Montes de Oca became the chef of the 40-seat classical French Provencal restaurant, Bandol Bistro, in New York, where he assisted with menu development and execution. The years that followed proved to be immensely valuable and fruitful. Executive sous chef roles at New York’s two-star Tocqueville, four-star Gramercy Park Hotel, and the Thompson Hotel’s Shang shed light on what it takes to successfully run a restaurant, while also allowing Montes de Oca the freedom to further hone his culinary skills.

In 2009, Montes de Oca relocated to Washington, D.C. to join the opening team for acclaimed Chef Susur Lee’s new project, Zentan, at The Donovan House. Here, he was responsible for all aspects of development for the global Asian restaurant, including the creation of new dishes, hiring, and catering operations.

After three years, Montes de Oca bid goodbye to Zentan and set his eyes on a senior executive sous chef role at the luxurious Hay-Adams. The now seasoned chef was responsible for all culinary planning and execution for the hotel’s signature fine dining restaurant, The Lafayette, serving upscale New American fare; as well as the hotel lounge, Off the Record, and in-room dining. With a hands-on leadership approach and unmistakable attention to detail, Montes de Oca and his team increased revenues by 10%.

A few years later, Montes de Oca was chosen as chef de cuisine at the prestigious Cosmos Club, a private social club for men and women distinguished in science, literature and the arts. Its members include three Presidents, two Vice Presidents, a dozen Supreme Court justices, and countless Nobel Prize and Pulitzer Prize winners. At The Cosmos Club, he delivered market-driven, seasonallychanging New American style menus with French influences to the property’s three restaurants.