Velazquez set his sights on attending The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in culinary management with a concentration in farm-to-table practices in 2014. While earning his degree, he worked under chef Jose Andres as an intern at Zaytinya in Washington D.C., and under Chef Larry Forgione in Napa Valley, California. Following graduation, he returned to Napa Valley to work for Chef Cindy Pawlcyn, where he learned the importance of a strong relationship between a restaurant and its farmers and developed a greater understanding that local ingredients are best in their purest form.
In 2017, driven by a strong desire to explore the culture and origins of Southern food, Velazquez accepted a position with The Neighborhood Dining Group as Sous Chef on Husk Greenville’s opening team. He quickly realized the connections between the philosophy of Husk and his upbringing in Puerto Rico, both of which celebrate the relationship between culture and cuisine, the preservation of ingredients at their peak, and the food traditions passed through generations. After spending a year and a half at Husk Greenville, Velazquez moved to Charleston to become the Executive Chef at the Delaney Oyster House, the newest restaurant concept from The Neighborhood Dining Group. Honoring the Lowcountry’s significance as a coastal region and inspired by America’s traditional oyster houses, the restaurant features fresh, sustainable seafood in a casual-chic atmosphere. Located within a quintessential historic Charleston home, Delaney Oyster House showcases the bounty of coastal and inland waterways combined with the charm and hospitality of the Holy City.
Velazquez’s love for cooking translates into his hobbies, which include mastering the art of sharpening knives, discovering the best unknown food spots during his travels, and shopping for vintage cookbooks and spoons. When he’s not working, he spends as much time outdoors as possible by golfing, fishing, or just spending time in nature.