Mountain Climber: David Guerrero’s Inspiring Journey to Opening Andes Cafe
David Guerrero has climbed a few mountains in his life, figuratively speaking. He’s opened and closed a couple of restaurants, survived joblessness and overcome a terminal brain tumor all before turning 30. So the name of his latest effort should come as no surprise to fans of the celebrity chef: Andes Café.
Named after the famed South American mountain range, the new casual dining restaurant pays tribute to the cultures that inspired Guerrero’s cuisine. Modern takes on Peruvian, Ecuadorian and Argentinian dishes, among others, can be found at the new eatery that opened earlier this month on Canal Street.
And with a renowned chef like Guerrero behind it all, it’s not shocking that Andes Café, just a week after opening, received a rave review from Zagat that highlighted the best the restaurant has to offer.
But the road to Andes Café has not been an easy one. Guerrero’s previous venture, Alma Cebiche and Bar, shut its doors last year, despite a three-star review from the Houston Chronicle’s Alison Cook.
It was a setback for Guerrero, but obstacles are nothing new to the popular cook. When he was just 27 years old, working as a personal chef to NBA star Tracy McGrady, he was diagnosed with a deadly brain tumor. He was told by the doctor that he only had months to live.
After consulting with another doctor who gave him more encouraging news, Guerrero underwent risky brain surgery to remove the tumor. On the operating table, the young chef suffered a stroke which caused severe brain damage, and left him partially paralyzed.
As a result, the man who made his living in the kitchen was left without the ability to taste.