Honored by the James Beard Foundation as “Outstanding Chef America, 2023, semi-finalist” and awarded “Chef of the Year, 2022” by the New Hampshire Lodging & Restaurant Association, Chef David Vargas is a talented and respected leader in the kitchen and in the New England community with a mission to bring people together to the table. David is proud to share his Mexican heritage by featuring beautiful local seasonal product on every plate at his award-winning, nationally recognized Vida Cantina in Portsmouth, NH. He is also chef owner of the popular Ore Nell’s Barbecue in Kittery, Maine working with Chef Will Myska, and plans to open a second location Spring 2023. David’s community mission is to bring people together by sharing a respect and appreciation for all cultures and actively supporting those in need.
A James Beard nominated chef, (Outstanding Chef in America semi-finalist 2023; Best Chef Northeast semi-finalist 2022, 2020, 2019) David grew up in Southern CA and has spent a lifetime learning, living, and celebrating his Mexican heritage. David’s mother is from Guadalajara, his father from Jalisco; in CA his parents owned a taqueria and both were police officers. David grew up in the family’s taqueria cooking family recipes with fresh local ingredients while learning all he could about his Mexican culture; it was important to David’s parents that he deeply appreciate his Mexican heritage. Appreciate it he does indeed at Vida Cantina, where with each dish he is “elevating our understanding of what Mexican food is or should be, while elevating our understanding of what New England cuisine is or should be” The Portsmouth Herald. According to The Boston Globe, David prepares “the best Mexican food north of the MA Border” and is “nearly evangelistic about using local ingredients.” Boston Magazine declared “David Vargas, a James Beard award-nominated chef is making some of the best Mexican food on the East Coast at Vida Cantina in Portsmouth, NH.” Locally, regionally and nationally, the critics agree that Chef David Vargas is shining a bright light on Mexican cuisine, and his dishes at Vida Cantina are definitely “worth the drive” to Portsmouth, NH.
05-Feb-2024Culinary StageCulinary Demo - David Vargas