Chef Jorge Chicas, With a Recipe for Butternut Squash Soup

The Virginia restaurateur credits his Catholic faith as the foundation of his success.

Chef Jorge Chicas
Chef Jorge Chicas (photo: Courtesy Photo)

A native of El Salvador and now an American citizen living in Virginia, Chef Jorge Chicas has led a very active life, separating his time between his faith, his family and his successful culinary career.

“My parents were always working so me and my siblings ended up spending most of our family time with my grandma ‘Mamamaye.’” She passed her faith onto him. “She would take me as well as my siblings to church every week,” he says.

“My mom was working in a local restaurant in Fairfax, Virginia and I was going in to help her on the weekends.” His manager saw his potential and encouraged Chef Chicas to start his culinary training. He first went to L’Academie de Cuisine in Maryland and was sponsored by his company Capital Restaurant Concepts to attend the Culinary Institute of America.

Adding to his culinary training, Chef Chicas worked in several different Washington, D.C., restaurants, including the Georgetown Seafood Grill and Neyla Lebanese Restaurant, which gave him the opportunity to go to Beirut to learn more about that cuisine.

In 2011 Chef José Andrés asked Chef Chicas to work with him after he was working at Neyla (now closed) in Georgetown. “I worked for him at his restaurant Zaytinya for 11 years, first as the chef and then as the culinary director of special projects.” This opportunity led him to open his popular restaurant The Bazaar at SLS Hotel in Los Angeles, California.

Not surprisingly, he had always wanted to own a restaurant, and after finding an investor, he started his popular “Farm & Fork Kitchen” restaurant in Ashburn, Virginia. “It has been a perfect fit, ever since the start,” he said. “I have a family living nearby and this has been a perfect place.” Loyal guests visit weekly. His menu features produce and meats from local farmers and ranchers and he works to come up with interesting fare. He even seeks out local seafood, finding items between Maine and Florida.

Chef Chicas credits his Catholic faith as the foundation of his success. “My religion has helped me with discipline and balancing my family and professional life. I think you have to make time for everything. I like the opportunity to offer jobs to others and that’s helping others to grow.”


Recipe: Butternut Squash Soup

Yields 9 cups and serves 4 to 6

  • 4 cups roasted butternut squash
  • 1/2 pound diced carrots
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • About 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • About 1/2 pound diced Spanish onions
  • 4 1/4 cups chicken stock
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 fresh bay leaves

In a stockpot, sauté onions and carrots in the butter, olive oil and herbs until translucent and fully cooked over medium heat. Add squash and chicken stock and bring to a boil. Purée in a blender and serve. Refrigerate leftovers.