Executive Chef Jose Bessa
With over 10 years of experience in the restaurant industry, Jose Bessa is a passionate culinary professional. As Executive Chef at Grafton Street, Jose is reinterpreting the restaurant’s classic dishes with his own signature spin.
Born and raised in Brazil, food has always been a way of life for Jose. He knew cooking was his passion from an early age and eagerly began his culinary education at the Brasilia University Culinary School, an extension of Le Cordon Bleu School for Culinary Arts, as soon as he was old enough. After completing the program, Jose set his sights on America and moved north to Massachusetts in 2002. Starting small, he worked as a cashier for the deli counter at The Elm Street market in Stockbridge before taking over the market’s breakfast and lunch preparations.
Jose quickly rose through the industry ranks, working as a line chef at local Stockbridge restaurants and catering private functions. Having grown homesick after six years of working in The States, Jose returned to Brazil in 2008 and took a position as Head Chef at the Araujo Restaurant in Governador Valadares. While there, Jose had the freedom to experiment with recipes and develop his own culinary style. On occasion, Jose even took his love of cooking beyond the kitchen and gave live demonstrations for customers. A true one-man show, Jose juggled both the restaurant’s culinary and business needs, thriving as the leader of the sixteen-person staff. After a year at Araujo, Jose returned to Massachusetts to work as Executive Chef and General Manager at The Paramount Restaurant in Boston.
Jose thrived in the fast paced environment at The Paramount. During his three and a half year tenure, he created rotating menus that drew inspiration from fresh, local ingredients, and deepened his understanding of the American hospitality industry.
In the fall of 2013, Jose wanted to venture to new territory once again, this time across the river to Cambridge. Jose hit the ground running as a Sous Chef at Russell House, quickly learning the ropes and acclimating to the pace of Harvard Square. Another, smaller move brought Jose to Grafton Street, where he has confidently taken the reins as Executive Chef. At Grafton Street, Jose creates casual comfort food with a sophisticated approach, and simple ingredients that speak for themselves.
When he’s not working hard in the kitchen, Jose can be found soaking up even more culinary knowledge from The Food Network or revving up for his next outdoor barbeque.