Chef Rafael Osterling Biography (Colombia)

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Discover the remarkable journey of Chef Rafael Osterling, a culinary genius from Colombia. Explore his extraordinary career, innovative creations, and international acclaim. Delve into his passion for blending traditional flavors with modern techniques, showcasing Colombia’s rich gastronomic heritage. Immerse yourself in Chef Rafael Osterling’s story and experience the tantalizing world of his culinary artistry.


Rafael Osterling is a renowned Colombian chef who has made significant contributions to the culinary world. His innovative cooking style and use of local ingredients have earned him a reputation as one of the most influential chefs in Latin America. This biography will explore his life, career, and achievements.

Early Life and Education:

Rafael Osterling was born in Lima, Peru, on March 3, 1957. He was the youngest of three siblings and grew up in a family of food lovers. His mother, Esther Hochschild, was a renowned cookbook author and journalist, while his father, Jaime Osterling, was a businessman.

Osterling’s passion for food started at a young age. He would often help his mother in the kitchen and experiment with new recipes. When he was 16, he moved to the United States to study at the University of California, Berkeley. There, he pursued a degree in Political Science and Environmental Studies.

Despite his academic pursuits, Osterling’s love for food never wavered. While in college, he worked at various restaurants to gain experience in the culinary world. He worked as a dishwasher, line cook, and eventually as a chef. He also spent time traveling around the world, visiting various countries to learn about their food and cooking techniques.


After completing his studies, Osterling returned to Lima, Peru, and opened his first restaurant, Rafael, in 1994. The restaurant quickly gained popularity for its innovative and contemporary Peruvian cuisine. Osterling’s unique approach to cooking, which combined traditional Peruvian ingredients with modern techniques, earned him critical acclaim.

In 2002, Osterling decided to move to Colombia and opened his second restaurant, El Cielo. Located in the trendy neighborhood of El Poblado in Medellin, El Cielo quickly became one of the most popular restaurants in the city. The restaurant’s modern and innovative cuisine, combined with Osterling’s warm and inviting personality, made it a favorite among locals and tourists alike.

Over the years, Osterling has continued to expand his culinary empire. He opened a second El Cielo location in Bogota in 2010, and in 2017 he opened a third restaurant, Mercado, also in Bogota. Mercado is a casual dining restaurant that specializes in burgers, hot dogs, and other comfort foods.

Osterling’s culinary skills have not gone unnoticed. He has been featured in numerous publications, including The New York Times, Food & Wine, and Conde Nast Traveler. He has also made numerous television appearances, including as a judge on the Colombian version of the cooking competition show, MasterChef.

Cooking Style:

Osterling’s cooking style is influenced by his Peruvian roots, as well as his travels around the world. He is known for using fresh and locally sourced ingredients, and for incorporating modern techniques into traditional dishes.

One of Osterling’s signature dishes is his ceviche. He uses fresh fish and seafood, along with citrus juices and other seasonings, to create a dish that is both light and flavorful. He also likes to incorporate ingredients like avocado and sweet potato into his ceviche, giving it a unique twist.

Osterling’s other dishes are equally inventive. He likes to experiment with different textures and flavors, and is not afraid to take risks. His dishes often include unexpected ingredients, such as quinoa or chia seeds, which he incorporates in innovative ways.


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