Executive Chef, Ristorante Bartolotta
A native of Oaxaca, Mexico, Juan Urbieta's culinary career started back in 1993 in Los Angeles, California. His first professional work was at Zipangu, a Japanese restaurant and later at Rosie’s BBQ and Grill. In 1994, Urbieta moved to Denver, Colorado to work among other restaurants at Pizza Colore and Bella Ristorante under former Carlucci's Chef Vince Tyler. A couple of years later, as a young chef, Urbieta knew he had to continue his education and in his quest to work and learn from the best, he headed east to Chicago, to further his training under James Beard Award-winning Chef Paul Bartolotta at Spiaggia.
Once in Chicago, Urbieta worked in a number of restaurants while waiting for an opening at the 4-Star Spiaggia. First at Lettuce Entertain You's Hat Dance and Brasserie Jo under the renowned Alsatian Chef Jean Joho before staging at the famous Charlie Trotter’s. Finally, Bartolotta called and Urbieta joined the kitchen staff at the fast-paced Cafe Spiaggia, quickly working his way through every station before moving to the 4-star Spiaggia restaurant. After years of hard work, Bartolotta saw the potential in Urbieta and made arrangements to send him to Italy to work at the 2 star Michelin Ristorante San Domenico in Imola under Chef Valentino Marcattilii as the restaurant's meat chef de partie. What began as a three-month stage ended up as year long tour of duty which Urbieta used to study and travel extensively through Italy’s most significant food regions.
In 1998, Juan moved back to the United States to join The Bartolotta Restaurants in Milwaukee. In the position of Sous Chef, he was vital in the opening of the upscale casual Nonna Bartolotta’s then at Mr. B’s-A Bartolotta Steakhouse. In 2002, he was finally promoted to Executive Chef of Ristorante Bartolotta where he welcomed the challenge of heading the kitchen of the flagship restaurant of the Bartolotta Restaurant Group. Urbieta also heads the culinary team of the quick casual concept Pizzeria Piccola which opened in 2003. Here, he oversees the creation of wood burning pizzas, panini, salads, and pastas set in a authentic Italian-style pizzeria. In 2009, Juan played an important role in the opening of Nonna Bartolotta Restaurant at Mitchell International Airport, where he created the menu and continues to work closely with the Nonna's management to achieve the same level of authenticity that our guests have come to expect from the Bartolotta Restaurants.
Fluent in Italian, Juan has created a name for himself in the Italian dining scene. He has hosted and cooked for many notable wine dinners including a recent evening with Coltibuono, Gaia Gaja, as well as the James Beard White Truffle Rehearsal Dinner at the James Beard House in New York City. (Read more about that event here: http://onmilwaukee.com/dining/articles/beardrehearsaldinner.html).
You can find Chef Juan tweeting at @J_Urbieta.