Neighborhood Kitchens

Meet Orinoco Chef Carlos Walter Rodriguez

By Margarita Martinez

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Carlos Walter Rodriguez, chef at Orinoco, with Margarita (Patricia Alvarado/WGBH)
When I met chef Rodriguez at his restaraunt in Brookline Village, he told me his favorite Orinoco meal, aside from his required arepa Gringa in the morning, is the Panela-Marinated SalmonChurrasco Adobo, the Seared Tuna and a glass of Torrontes wine or a Mojito-Cojito.


Carlos began his culinary journey at an early age, literally pulling at his grandmother’s apron to help. At 14, he started working with his first culinary mentor, Chef Franz Conde in the kitchen of Seasons in Caracas. Still in his teens, he worked as an apprentice for some of the most revered chefs in the capital. In 1994, Carlos was granted a full scholarship to study in the U.S. and earn a degree in Culinary Arts.
After returning to Caracas, Carlos ran a consulting company that opened new restaurants in the city. He also consulted for leading companies including Nestle Latin America, McCormick, and Coca-Cola, and helped established three culinary Schools: the Venezuelan Center for Gastronomical Studies, La Casserole du Chef, and the High Educational Institute for the Culinary Arts.

Carlos moved to Miami in 2001 to become a private chef de cuisine. He soon met his second culinary mentor-- chef Douglas Rodriguez, the renowned Cuban chef and the father of Nuevo Latino cuisine, working as sous chef at his famous OLA Miami restaurant.
In 2003, Andres was introduced to Carlos via family and they were soon discussing how to best develop the not-yet-named restaurant’s menu. It did not take long for Carlos to begin dreaming about the excitement of the concept and the collaboration soon took hold. Andres and Carlos began visiting Latin restaurants in Miami, New York and Chicago to gain first-hand experience and insight. Carlos moved to Boston in 2004 and joined Andres and his friends in building Orinoco, literally from the ground up. 
While working tirelessly in the open kitchen at Orinoco South End, Carlos’s artistry was quickly noticed.  Beyond the accolades and numerous honors he has received from Orinoco guests and critics, his artistry has also been recognized by academia, having been awarded an honorary Master Degree in Culinary Science from Northeastern University in 2007. Like all great chefs, Carlos is continuously innovating, improving and expanding his creations to delight and surprise his guests – on each and every visit.


Watch Neighborhood Kitchens online to learn more about Orinoco and the South End.


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About Neighborhood Kitchens

Building on a 35-year history of producing Latino and multicultural programming, WGBH’s award winning La Plaza team has a new offering — Neighborhood Kitchens, a series about the exploration of culture through food. Every week the show offers a unique window into immigrant communities in New England.

Saturdays at 4pm on WGBH 2
Fridays at 7:30pm on WGBH 44

About the Author
Margarita Martinez Margarita Martinez
Margarita Martinez grew up in the Bronx, NY and Ossining, NY with a Puerto Rican father and a Franco-American mother. She now calls New England home. Margarita has always had an insatiable appetite for travel and food. She made her first empanada as a teenager visiting Argentina, satisfied her sweet tooth with poffertjes and stroopwafels while studying in Holland, engorged herself on Thai street food for a month in Bangkok, and continues to search for authentic international cuisines in the Northeast. Margarita loves to discover new ingredients, flavors, and cooking approaches that she can bring to her own home kitchen.

On the Go

In each episode, host Margarita Martínez visits a different ethnic restaurant and learns three delicious recipes from the chef. She also explores the restaurant’s neighborhood, discovering hidden gems along the way. Join her as she learns about new ingredients, new cultures, and new neighborhoods. ¡Hasta pronto!

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Find a Neigbhorhood Kitchen
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Margarita's Neighborhood Visits

»Boston: Bristol Lounge
»Boston's South End: Orinoco, Teranga and Oishii
»Boston's Back Bay: Casa Romero
»Boston's North End: Taranta
»Roxbury: Merengue
»Boston's Beacon Hill: Scampo
»All Around Boston: Mei Mei Street Kitchens
»Cambridge: Muqueca, Oleana, and Sandrine's
Somerville: Dosa Temple
»Lawrence: Cafe Azteca
»Lowell: Simply Khmer

»Fresh from the Fish Market
»Jamaica Plain: Tres Gatos
»Dorchester: Pho Le and Cafe Polonia
»Medford: Bistro 5
»Portland, ME: Emilitsa
»Newport, RI: Tallulah on Thames
»Pawtucket, RI: Rasoi


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