For Angel Barreto, food has always been associated with happy memories, and it is why he first pursued a career in the culinary arts – he wanted to impact people and the most important moments of their lives with food.
He attended L’Academie De Cuisine in Maryland and concentrated in French fare. Upon graduating, he worked at Vermilion, an iconic and modern American restaurant in Old Town Alexandria, VA, where he worked closely with acclaimed Chef Anthony Chittum. This opportunity gave him ample firsthand experience cooking sustainably using local, farm-raised products.
Barreto always displayed an immense passion for Asian cuisine because these flavors were part of his childhood upbringing. Both his parents, served in the military in Korea and his mom always cooked the most delectable comfort dishes using Asian ingredients. It is not surprising that he joined the team at Wolfgang Puck’s modern Asian restaurant The Source where he quickly worked his way up from cook to executive sous chef in the span of 5 years. His ability to use Korean ingredients and culinary artistry captured the attention of Fried Rice Collective – the restaurant group helmed by Chefs Scott Drewno and Danny Lee who swiftly tapped him to become Executive Chef of the their new contemporary Korean concept, Anju which opened its doors in 2019.
In 2020, Washingtonian Magazine named Anju the #1 Best Restaurant in the nation’s capital; he was a James Beard Award semifinalist for the category of Rising Star Chef; and he was bestowed the 2020 Rising Culinary Star of the Year of the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington.
In 2022, Food & Wine Magazine named Angel one of the nation’s Best New Chefs for his lifelong apprenticeship of Korean food and his passion to educate diners about the cuisine using ancient and modern culinary techniques. StarChefs named Angel DC Rising Star Game Changer Chef. Angel has been nominated for 2 James Beard Foundations Awards currently. First is a national acknowledgement for Emerging Chef and the second Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic.