Minibar Has a New Chef After Departure of Top ThinkFoodGroup Talent

Creativity Director Ruben Garcia is among the most notable names to exit.

Ruben Mosquero is Minibar's new head chef. Photograph by Rey Lopez.

José Andrés’s ThinkFoodGroup has gone through a big shakeup of top talent over the past couple months. Minibar’s head chef Jorge Hernández left at the start of the year for a culinary director gig in his hometown of San Antonio, while globe-trotting Minibar general manager Jhonatan Cano decamped for Bresca. Then last week, one of ThinkFoodGroup’s most veteran chefs—creativity director Ruben Garcia—departed as well.

Andrés says there no particular reason for the turnover. “It’s not more than other times. Minibar has been open up forever,” he says. “Listen, Minibar is a very intense place, and you want people in and out.”

Minibar chef Jorge Hernandez and ThinkFoodGroup Creative Director Ruben Garcia have both left the company. Photograph by Scott Suchman

Garcia is one of the most notable departures. He’s been with the company for 16 years and helped open restaurants, oversee menus, and develop a generation of chefs from Los Angeles to Las Vegas and DC. He also helped oversee ThinkFoodGroup’s research and development team. Garcia says he’s not yet ready to share any information about his next move—”I have to be respectful to my partners.”

“We’ve been together a long time. He’s been very important for Washington. He’s been very important for me, my company,” Andrés says. “Ruben has been an amazing friend and amazing at planting the seed of creativity. He will be missed.”

ThinkFoodGroup has already made some new hires: Rubén Mosquero, who joined the group’s research and development team, is taking over as Minibar’s head chef. The Spanish native was already overseeing menu development at Minibar and will also continue to be a part of the R&D team. Before Minibar, Mosquero spent five years at pioneering Denmark destination Noma. His resume is littered with high-profile Michelin-starred restaurants, including Geranium in Copenhagen, Azurmendi in Spain’s Basque Country, La Terraza del Casino in Madrid, and Bvlgari in Tokyo.

In addition, Dylan Falkenburg, an alum of Jaleo Las Vegas and Jaleo Disney, is the new GM of Minibar and Barmini.

“Change is always good,” Andrés says. “No drama. It’s just life, and it’s all good. More people coming in, and people moving on to exciting new adventures.”

Jessica Sidman
Food Editor

Jessica Sidman covers the people and trends behind D.C.’s food and drink scene. Before joining Washingtonian in July 2016, she was Food Editor and Young & Hungry columnist at Washington City Paper. She is a Colorado native and University of Pennsylvania grad.