February 20-24, 2019 Miami Beach
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PJ Calapa

PJ Calapa, Chef/Owner, Scampi |& Partner, The Spaniard

Born and raised just a few miles from the United States-Mexico border in Brownsville, Texas, PJ Calapa developed a deep appreciation for diverse flavors and cuisines at an early age. Food played a vital role throughout Calapa’s childhood, from cooking in his grandmother’s kitchen to later working for his grandfather’s wholesale fish business. Calapa continued to nurture his culinary passion during his undergraduate studies at Texas A&M University, splitting his time between the classroom and working on the hot line at Christopher’s World Grille.

In 2003, Calapa... READ MORE

PJ Calapa, Chef/Owner, Scampi |& Partner, The Spaniard

Born and raised just a few miles from the United States-Mexico border in Brownsville, Texas, PJ Calapa developed a deep appreciation for diverse flavors and cuisines at an early age. Food played a vital role throughout Calapa’s childhood, from cooking in his grandmother’s kitchen to later working for his grandfather’s wholesale fish business. Calapa continued to nurture his culinary passion during his undergraduate studies at Texas A&M University, splitting his time between the classroom and working on the hot line at Christopher’s World Grille.

In 2003, Calapa relocated to New York and enrolled at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, where his tireless efforts and affinity for the hospitality industry catapulted him to the top of his class. Since then, he has continued to pursue excellence, sharpening his culinary skills and incorporating early food memories with his own gastronomic intuition.

In 2004 Calapa began working at Bouley in Tribeca and the following year he went on to work at Eleven Madison Park followed by Nobu 57, where he started as a line cook and quickly rose through the ranks to become executive sous chef. It was at Nobu 57 that Calapa learned about the delicate art of Japanese cuisine, which still informs his vision for fine dining. In 2010, Calapa joined Chef Michael White’s Altamarea Group to help open Ai Fiori, which earned three stars from The New York Times, a Michelin star, and a 2013 StarChefs Rising Star Chef Award under Calapa’s leadership. He later went on to serve as executive chef for the opening of Altamarea’s Costata, and the Campagna and the Barn at the Bedford Post Inn.

In 2016, Calapa left the Altamarea Group to open two new projects of his own. In Spring 2017, he introduced his interpretation of an iconic New York tavern with the opening of The Spaniard in Manhattan’s West Village neighborhood. In December 2017, Calapa opened Scampi, his latest venture which brings a taste of southern Italy to the city’s Flatiron district. His thoughtful menu showcases the culinary bounty of land and sea with dishes that highlight the bold flavors of the region.

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