Ricky Cruz

Houston, TX
Grotto Ristorante

Ricky Cruz’s love of cooking began at an early age. When growing up in El Salvador, one of the highlights of his day was family dinner. Coming to the United States at age 16 with his parents, brothers, and sisters, Ricky attended high school and was hired as an assistant to the pastry chef and baker at the renowned restauranteur Tony Vallone’s original Tony’s on Post Oak Boulevard. Eager to learn, Ricky built his skills as he worked through every position in the kitchen. After less than a year, he was ready to move ahead. He accepted the position of sous chef at a new Vallone restaurant, Grotto, where he continued to excel. In a matter of a few years, he was named Executive Chef of that highly successful operation. When Landry’s acquired Grotto in 2004, Chef Ricky’s responsibilities grew as he helped recruit staff and supervise training at each new location. This work took him to The Woodlands, Dallas, Las Vegas, and most recently Palm Beach, Atlantic City, and Galveston, Texas. Ricky has had the privilege of working with and being influenced by well-known chefs Mark Cox and Marco Wiles. He is adept at team building, corporate catering, and handling special events for My Table and the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.
In his career, he has prepared meals for high profile guests including former President George. H. Bush, Barbara Walters, Larry King, Joseph Prince, John Boehner, Mark Burnett, Roma Downey, Gabrielle Giffords, Mark Kelly, Tommy Mottola with wife Thalia, and a dream lunch for Oprah Winfrey.
In his free time, Ricky enjoys his family, church, and travel adventures.