Marcos Leal was born in Monterrey, Mexico but considers himself a Texas native, having come to Houston with his family as a child. Initially, Marcos had a promising future as a fighter, a passion he pursued while washing dishes. Marcos remembers fondly the nights spent watching his mother cook meals for the family. It was she that sparked an interest in culinary and instilled a strong work ethic in him. After graduating high school, he decided to pursue the family trade professionally and enrolled in the Art Institute of Houston, obtaining a Culinary Arts degree. He worked his way through line cook and butcher jobs before landing the lead cook position at the Wolfgang Puck Express in Houston. He then transitioned into an executive sous chef position at the renowned Hotel Galvez in Galveston, where he garnered a number of awards with his team, including “Best Restaurant in Galveston.”

Leal considers building and leading teams an essential skill for a chef, and a particular passion of his. He honed this skill while assembling the launch team for Kent Rathbun’s award-winning Jasper’s. He moved on to corporate recipe development for many years, continuing to work side gigs, like smoking meats with the likes of David Welch of FireCraft BBQ. Marcos went on to serve as executive and sous chef for a variety of restaurants and kitchens throughout the U.S., including Topgolf, where he worked in one of the highest volume kitchens of the company.

Joining the team as Chef de Cuisine at Loro Heights represents the culmination of his culinary journey, allowing him to build a team from the ground up; to continue his passion mentoring a culinary team; and ultimately to come back to Houston, his hometown.