Michael Diaz de Leon

Chef Michael Diaz de Leon was born in El Paso but spent most of his childhood and adolescence in Denver, Colorado. He returned to El Paso to attend college and has remained ever since. Chef Michael holds an Associates Degree in Culinary arts, which he earned in 2013 as a graduate of El Paso Community College’s Culinary Arts Program. Since graduation, he has held several kitchen positions at local restaurants and bars. Though he remains local to El Paso, he recently took the opportunity to temporarily work abroad at Old Major in Denver, and at Pujol in Mexico City (No. 12 on the 2018 World’s 50 Best Restaurants and No.1 on North America’s 50 Best Restaurants). 

His travels and eating experiences have given him the perspective and desire to create his unique style of cooking, which he describes as elevated Mexican cuisine, incorporating Asian ingredients and southern cooking. His love for southern cuisine stems from one of his first cooking jobs at local staple, Tom’s Folk Cafe. 

Today, Chef Michael is one of the Chefs de Cuisine at Taft Diaz, a restaurant located inside of Stanton House,  El Paso’s first locally-owned and operated boutique property in downtown El Paso. Taft Diaz’s focus on casual fine dining, along with Chef Michael’s love for the border region of El Paso/ Cd. Juarez has inspired him to embrace his culture and its cuisine. He’s successfully taken some of the region’s best ingredients and techniques and transformed them to create his signature cooking style. 

When he’s not in the kitchen, Chef Michael loves to spend time with his two daughters, Olivia and Luna, and his patient and supportive wife, Ryan. His hobbies include yoga (fun fact: he is a certified yoga instructor!), muay thai and motorcycles.