Born into a wanderlust family of engineers, Chilean-born Jorge Valderrama moved to Peru with his family where his innate desire to explore led him into the path of culinary. He pursued a course in Master Cuisine at Le Cordon Bleu, in Lima, Peru, where he learned advanced techniques in Peruvian Cuisine.
Valderrama began his career in 2010 at a Peruvian seafood-focused restaurant, Cevicheria El Mercado, as a commis chef preparing starters and pastas. It was here he met his mentor, Rafael Osterling, who later offered Valderrama a place in Rafael (Peru Best Restaurants 2010/2011), a Mediterranean and Peruvian fusion restaurant in Lima.
From there, Valderrama embarked on a trip to the other side of the globe, where he dabbled in classic Italian cuisine as a Chef de Partie, in a Two Hats restaurant (Australian Good Food Guide), Icebergs, in Sydney, Australia. Valderrama’s potential was challenged by the foreign cultural setting and language, but found comfort in his other passion of surfing – a common interest with those living along the coasts of Australia.
Travelling further south, Valderrama joined The French Café in Auckland, New Zealand (Restaurant of the year 2013 by Metro Magazine; Restaurant of the year 2013 by Cuisine Magazine), a Three Hats fine dining restaurant helmed by London-born Celebrity Chef Simon Wright, where he experienced techniques and a seamless system of work like no other. However, the rigor got the better of him and he left to surf down the coast simultaneously working with Chef Jacob Brown in the One Hat restaurant and café, The Larder. The waves eventually brought Valderrama to a surfer’s town, Raglan, where sustainable, healthy and organic fare is prevalent. He worked closely with co-founders of The Conscious Kitchen: Solscape, Phil McCabe and Bernadette Gavin, on a vegetarian concept which incorporated techniques like dehydrating, fermenting and organic sprouting into Raw Food diets.
Valderrama first heard of Singapore’s food scene through a co-worker at The French Café, and has since been vying for an opportunity in the cosmopolitan city. After another leg of surf down the archipelago of Indonesia, Valderrama made his way into Singapore in 2015 where he joined Unlisted Collection as a head chef at the now defunct Longplay, a vinyl-only restaurant bar. His menu was a representation of his heritage and travels, and something he feels most connected to – Peruvian cuisine. It was then where he met Peruvian-born chef-owner of OLA Cocina del Mar, Daniel Chavez, who later invited Valderrama on-board a new restaurant concept, TONO Cevicheria.
Honoured by this opportunity to fly the flag for South American cuisine, Valderrama now helms TONO Cevicheria, Singapore and Asia’s first-ever authentic Peruvian Cevicheria, together with Mexican chef Tamara Chavez, sharing his love for Peruvian cuisine with his guests.