Camille Becerra is a chef, food stylist and recipe developer in New York City. With close to 20 years of restaurant experience, her menus have evolved to showcase Becerra’s commitment to healthful, seasonal and local ingredients and her affection for approachable yet refined New American cuisine.
Born in San Juan, Puerto Rico and raised in Elizabeth, New Jersey, Becerra began cooking after high school and attended the Academy of Culinary Arts in Cape May, NJ. After studying macrobiotic cuisine and cooking for cancer patients in Philadelphia, Becerra moved to a Zen monastery in New Mexico, where she cooked vegetarian meals for the monks, sourcing ingredients from the on-premises garden. After a brief stint in Los Angeles Becerra came to NYC where she found herself cooking at renown vegetarian restaurants like Angelica Kitchen.
In 2005, Becerra opened her first restaurant in Greenpoint, Brooklyn named Paloma, after her daughter. The restaurant, in a former stable-turned-parking garage, served an ever-evolving menu of seasonal fare, which she described as “Brooklyn New American.” Two years later, Becerra competed on Top Chef Season 3, where she was introduced to the fun and challenges of cooking on camera. Becerra lost her restaurant to a fire in 2008. Immediately after, she began working with some of her favorite chefs Paul Liebrandt, Sean Rembold, Rene Ortiz and Damon Wise, all the while waiting for the right opportunity to get back to lead her own restaurant kitchen.
In 2014, Becerra joined partners to open Navy in Soho, the maritime aesthetic reflected in its seafood-focused menu, while Becerra’s passion for seasonal vegetables also dominated with produce sourced solely from the Lancaster Farm Fresh Co-op, underscoring Becerra’s commitment to responsible farming.
In 2016, she was invited to do a one month chef residency at Café Henrie with artist Andre Saraiva, the menu she designed included the Dragon and Tiger bowls reflective of her vegetarian and natural foods roots. With the residency’s success the intended 2 week collaboration went on for an 8 month stretch.
In 2017, she helped conceptualize and open the Nolita restaurant DeMaria. She played a key role in the design, bringing in the newly established designers Anna Polonsky and Amy Morris, and collaborating on the style of this downtown all-day cafe. DeMaria went on to receive a James Beard award for design. As executive chef and consultant she stayed on with the group for a year, designing the menu, setting up systems and training staff.
Later that year, Casa Pueblo in Tulum, Mexico tapped her to design the menu for their hacienda style hotel. The menu consistedc of the food Becerra is now known made but with the local and wild ingredients common to the Yucatan.
Currently Becerra continues working as a food stylist, food contributor at Domino Magazine and partners with brands that fit her food and travel aesthetic, all while working on her first published cookbook Bright Cooking, out Spring 2023 with Chronicle Books
Awards & Press
- James Beard Award