Chef Michael Diaz de Leon was born in El Paso but spent most of his childhood and adolescence in Denver, Colorado.

He returned to his hometown when he was in college and has been here ever since.

He attended and graduated from El Paso Community College’s Culinary Arts Program with an Associates Degree in Culinary Arts in 2013. SInce then, he has held several positions in the kitchens of local restaurants and bars and recently had the opportunity to work at Old Major restaurant in Denver and 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 a unique style of cooking, which he would describe as elevated Mexican cuisine incorporating Asian ingredients and his love for southern cooking from one of my first cooking jobs at Tom’s Folk Cafe.

Currently he is one of the Chef’s de Cuisine at Taft Diaz Restaurant in the Stanton House Hotel, the first locally-owned and operated boutique property in downtown El Paso. Their focus is on casual fine dining, his love for the border region of El Paso/Cd. Juarez has inspired me to embrace our culture and its cuisine. He’s taken some of the region’s best ingredients and techniques and transformed them to create his own cooking style.

When he’s not in the kitchen, he 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.