Julian Medina, chef-owner of Toloache, Toloache 82, Toloache Thompson, Yerba Buena and Yerba Buena Perry, Toloache Taqueria, and Coppelia, has been creating refined Latin cuisine for over fifteen years.
Raised in Mexico City, Medina’s inspiration was his father’s and grandfather’s authentic home cooking. Training professionally in Mexico City, Medina was brought to New York City by Chef Richard Sandoval; later he was appointed as Chef de Cuisine of Sandoval’s Maya, which earned two stars from the New York Times under Medina’s leadership. Maintaining his position at Maya, Medina enrolled in the French Culinary Institute, graduating with honors. In 1999, Medina became Executive Chef of SushiSamba, a New York City-based Japanese-South American restaurant, and helped to open SushiSamba 7 and South Beach’s SushiSamba Dromo.
By 2003, Medina was appointed Corporate Chef of Sandoval’s Mexican restaurants. His direction garnered Sandoval’s Pampano two stars from the New York Times, and Medina became the Executive Chef of Zocalo, located in NYC’s Upper East Side a year later. But it was in August 2007 that things really started to blossom. Medina opened his theatre district gem, Toloache Bistro Mexicano, while the following year saw the opening of the East Village’s Yerba Buena, boasting a diverse Pan-Latin menu. Yerba Buena Perry followed in the West Village in 2009, and both restaurants have been highly recognized.
Medina has been featured in many publications, including The New York Times and The New Yorker, and on television shows such as Iron Chef America’s Mexican Chocolate Battle. Chef Medina continues to open new restaurants throughout New York City, most recently Toloache Thompson, an outpost of his original in downtown Manhattan. Medina resides on the Upper East Side with his wife and daughter.