Chef Camilo Velasco was born and raised in Cali, Colombia. Upon moving to the United States in 2004 he was inspired by the accessibility and diversity of the food and culture the states had to offer. Fueling his interests, Velasco began his culinary journey in 2008, when he enrolled in Valencia College’s culinary arts program.
Velasco knew that focus and hard work were the two ingredients needed to make his way up the ranks of the metaphorical “kitchen hierarchy” and so, while in school, he took a side job as a dishwasher and prep cook at The Bistro in the Courtyard by Marriott on International Drive. He had set his standards high and so within one year of working at The Bistro, transitioned to Commis at Orlando’s AAA Five Diamond Award-winning restaurant, Victoria & Albert’s where he trained directly under James Beard Award-nominee, Chef Scott Hunnel.
Velasco quickly learned the inner-workings of how a kitchen dedicated to culinary excellence should run, and after 2 years he was offered the Sous Chef position at NORMAN’S at the Ritz Carlton, Grand Lakes. Committed to giving it his all, Velasco immediately stood out and after a short four months was promoted to Chef de Cuisine. Velasco has also worked for Miami restaurant Tuyo, as a Chef de Partie.
Ripe for his return to Central Florida and to his growing family here, Velasco ran the kitchen at Barnie’s Coffee Kitchen before coming to Mount Dora to lead the Central Florida restaurant, 1921 Mount Dora. Here Velasco focuses on the culinary traditions of the area while adding a modern twist to the varied menu. Velasco aims to create a true Florida culinary experience for restaurant guests with a menu that changes regularly to fit the local food and flair of the area.
Chef Velasco’s love for the culinary arts has led him to pursue other intriguing aspects of the industry including becoming an Introductory Certified Sommelier and participating in culinary demos, conferences and symposiums. When he’s not in the kitchen, he’s enjoying time with his family and can be found running after his children.