CHEF JOE CARREJO
Chef Joseph Carrejo began his career washing dishes for a small restaurant at the age of 16. Having grown up with his younger brother in a shelter for abused, neglected and homeless children, Carrejo’s introduction to life in the hustle and bustle of the kitchen gave him a welcome reprieve from the hardships he faced outside the doors of the restaurant, and he instantly fell in love with the promise of a future in the culinary world.
From there, Carrejo graduated from the Culinary Institute of America, located in his hometown of San Antonio, in 2008. He began training under Chefs Jason Dady, Brother Luck, Brian West and Michael Bomberg , all of whom impacted his career and introduced him to cuisine from all over the world. On his days off, Carrejo would spend time staging (pronounced stazhjing) under different chefs—working for free—in order to learn new techniques and cuisines.
Carrejo has been a chef at the Omni Austin Hotel at Southpark for over a year now, and his wealth of experience can be savored in every bite of his unique menus. The style of food he creates at Onion Creek Grille can best be described as New American with southern roots. Carrejo has a fondness for all of the rich delicacies that the south offers, including barbeque, fried chicken, authentic Mexican cuisine and it’s Americanized off-shoot, Tex-Mex, and he believes in taking a whole-foods approach to his kitchen, “I enjoy butchering all of my proteins and preserving food such as pickling vegetables, curing and smoking meat. It’s important that we as chefs are connected to food this way.”
The pride Carrejo takes in his cooking can be summarized by his personal motto, “Cook with your heart, and your food will have a soul.” In his off time, Carrejo loves spending time with his two children, Alyssa and Julius. He enjoys bike riding, knife sharpening and adding to his collection of culinary gadgets and cookbooks.