Chef Alejandro Duran
As Executive Chef and Co-Owner of one of Austin’s most beloved restaurants, Alejandro Duran’s beginnings in his family’s home in Madrid, Spain and throughout Mexico may seem a distant past. Yet that past, rooted in the rhythms of the seasons, produce fresh from the fields and fine home cooking, as demonstrated by his grandmother and mother, paved the road to Duran becoming one of Austin’s leading culinary powerhouses.
After graduating with a degree in Business Administration and Finance from the University of San Diego and pursuing a lucrative career in real estate investments, Duran became disenchanted with the business world and longed to return to his roots and his passion, cooking.
Initially honing his skill at business ownership in the bar industry in Dallas, Texas, Duran relocated to Austin in 1997 after he fell in love with the beautiful Texas Hill Country and the laid-back atmosphere of Austin. He quickly immersed himself in the culinary scene, joining the team at Heart of Texas Gourmet foods where he played a key role in evaluating, sourcing and procuring gourmet and specialty foods for chefs in the Austin and Central Texas region. In 1998 he was recruited by serial restaurateur Greg Schnurr to serve as General Manager of Good Eats Café, a well known Austin eatery, specializing in American Comfort Food.
In 1999 Duran left Good Eats to open a gourmet barbeque and grill restaurant, Five Star Barbeque & Grill, where he earned the rating of 2nd best barbeque in Austin (a truly prestigious ranking in Central Texas) as documented in Richard Troxell’s Barbeque Around Texas (aka “the barbeque bible”).
2000 was an important turning point for Duran, the year in which he realigned with Greg Schnurr and took over the kitchen and the operations of the newly established restaurant, Malaga Tapas & Bar in Austin’s Warehouse District. Here, the foundation on which he has continued to build his career, his inspiration, has been the traditional Spanish ingredients supplied fresh daily by dedicated local purveyors and served in true Spanish tapas style. Since its opening, Malaga Tapas & Bar has been the recipient of numerous accolades including “The Best Of” by Tribeza, Rare Magazine, Citysearch, Austin Chronicle and Yahoo. Further, for the past eight years, Chef Duran, also a Sommelier, has received Wine Spectator’s “Award of Excellence” for his 300 plus wine list, and the restaurant has been designated as “One of Austin’s Top Destinations” by Food Network, Zagat Guide Book, Bon Appetit, Texas Monthly, and many more.
After nine successful years, the chef-restaurateur has relocated Malaga Tapas & Bar to a new setting in the hot new 2nd Street District, adjacent to the soon-to-open W Hotel and the newly relocated Austin City Limits venue, a location sure to garner Duran ever greater national attention and accolades.
Duran is a highly coveted personality and guest chef at such local gourmet food venues as Central Market, Williams Sonoma, Crate and Barrel and Whole Foods. He’s a regular crowd pleaser at annual venues such as the Texas Hill Country Wine & Food Festival and the Wine & Food Foundation of Texas.
TELEVISION, RADIO & PRINT PERSONALITY
- News 8 Austin
- KXAN TV Austin
- Fox 7 News Austin
- The TV Food Network
- Mix 94.7 Austin
- Magic 95.5 Austin
- KGSR 107.1 Austin
- Austin American Statesman
- Austin Chronicle
- Bon Appetit
- Eat & Drink Austin
- Rare Magazine
- Texas Monthly
- Zagat Guide Book
CHARITY DONOR & ORGANIZER
Duran serves as a donor and organizer for many local and national organizations including:
- Capital Area Food Bank
- Kids Café Program
- American Cancer Society
- American Heart Association
- Big Brothers Big Sisters of America
- Share Our Strength
- Food for Thought
- Communities in Schools Lance Armstrong Foundation
- Livestrong Lifeworks
- Planet Cancer
- Share Our Strength
- Susan G Komen Breast Cancer Foundation
In addition to the consistently sold-out cooking classes hosted at his restaurant, Duran also instructs at a variety of schools and organizations including:
- Central Market Cooking School
- Center for Foods of the Americas
- Crate and Barrel
- Whole Foods Market Culinary Center
- Williams Sonoma Cooking School