Fort Lauderdale, FL (PressExposure) February 22, 2011 -- Now He's Cooking! Celebrity Chef J.R. Cifrese will Bring the Heat to Costa Rica Real Estate Project
Celebrity chef J.R. Cifrese visited Costa Rica for the fourth time where he not only fell in love with Hacienda Matapalo, the most sought after master planned gated community on the country's South Pacific Coast, but decided to make an investment in his future there by opening a new shop.
Back in April 2010 Cifrese and his sister Martha visited Costa Rica. For the culinary expert it was his fourth time there. Not only did he fall in love with Hacienda Matapalo, the most sought after master planned Costa Rica real estate gated community on the country's South Pacific Coast, but he decided to make an investment in his future there by opening a new shop.
"I'm very excited about Costa Rica," Cifrese said. "Not only am I thrilled about being a home owner at Hacienda Matapalo, but I'm excited about having a shop at the Matapalo Plaza Commercial Center."
For fans of celebrity chefs and television cooking shows, J.R. is somewhat of a familiar figure as he has made many appearances ranging from the Food Network to CNBC to a number of TV shows including "The Today Show" on NBC and "Hell's Kitchen" on FOX.
Currently working on the television project "Coast 2 Coast Cuisine" with his best friend and New York-based chef Ed Gallagher, the Los Angeles-based Cifrese will be bringing his culinary skills to Costa Rica as he will have a bakery and provisional shop at the Matapalo Plaza Commercial Center.
"That part of the country is ready to explode and I wanted to get in on the ground level," J.R. explained about why he decided to buy at Hacienda Matapalo and invest in the commercial center. "I see the potential that is there and so I know it's a good investment."
The fifth and last child of a first generation Italian American family, J.R. Cifrese started cooking as a small child making Sunday morning omelets for his big family, including his parents Leonard and Barbara. The house was always full of family and friends and of course being Italian that meant there was always lots and lots of great food. "It's a cultural thing," he said with a smile.
"Sunday afternoons were spent helping to prepare all the food as we would sit down to a traditional Italian feast complete with wine my grandfather made," J.R. explained. "Of course the wine was always mixed with 7-Up for us kids."
As fate would have it, food was to be in his future.
During his freshman year of high school, J.R. sought employment at a local gas station. But when he arrived to apply, the service station was closed, so he walked across the street to an Italian catering delicatessen, where he was hired on the spot and began his incredible culinary journey.
When the owner of the deli saw J.R.'s gifts, he suggested that the aspiring chef should apply to the acclaimed Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y.
"Working in the deli throughout high school and learning all of the basic cooking skills - sautéing, baking, pastry making, sausage making, knife skills, catering skills, cutting and weighing deli meats - was the foundation on which I was able to build a career," he recalled. "My mentor knew what it would take to be a successful student and classically trained chef and I'm thankful he saw the full potential in me."
Just like J.R. has seen the full potential in Hacienda Matapalo.
"Back in January of 1982, when I started at the CIA, I immediately fell in love with the culinary field. Well, even though I had been to Costa Rica three times prior to visiting the South Pacific Coast, once I stepped foot on the property, I immediately fell in love with Hacienda Matapalo and knew this is where I wanted my future home to be. Like I said, I saw the full potential here just like my mentor saw the full potential in me."
After 21 months of school and graduating in the top 10% of his class, J.R. was off to New Orleans where he spent two years working in the pastry shop of a 5-star hotel in the French Quarter. He also worked in various classic New Orleans restaurants, learning the Creole and Cajun styles of cooking.
Looking to diversify his experience, J.R. moved to Killington, Vermont where he helped with the start up of a restaurant as the sous chef. Skiing and cooking was the recipe for a successful experience and his next stop was Nantucket, Mass., where he worked as the pastry chef in the finest restaurant of his career.
"Spending the summer there was a great experience for me," J.R. recalled as that was his first managerial position.
Moving west to Colorado, J.R. spent 15 years in the Rocky Mountain state, working at the Breckenridge Resort as the executive chef responsible for overseeing seven restaurants, a $4 million a year operation and a staff of more than 100 employees. He then moved to Denver and for the next five years owned and operated a successful catering company.
Selling the catering company, J.R. went further west and was the head chef on an 85-foot private luxury yacht in Marina Del Rey, California for eight years. When the yacht was sold, J.R. stayed on as the family's private chef where he is currently working out of their Beverly Hills mansion.
Having traveled and cooked up and down both the Western and Eastern seaboards of the U.S., it was only natural for an international extension for J.R. to take place.
"Along with my latest adventure - 'Coast 2 Coast Cuisine' - being able to bring my cooking and baking skills to Costa Rica is a real thrill for me," he said. "And knowing that most of my customers will also be my neighbors will certainly keep me on my toes. It will be like cooking for the family on Sunday mornings all over again. And that means only one thing ... there will always be lots and lots of great food."
To learn more about J.R. Cifrese, you can visit his Web site at http://www.coast2coastcuisine.com.
For leasing inquiries or more information about the project, contact Marcy Seay at 954-548-3000, or marcy(at)costaricaforme.com.
To learn more about Hacienda Matapalo and the Matapalo Plaza Commercial Center, you can visit Hacienda Matapalo at http://haciendamatapalo.com.
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