Neighborhood Kitchens

Meet Taranta Chef José Duarte

Chef José Duarte at Taranta (Patricia Alvarado/WGBH)

It wasn’t hard to predict that José Duarte would end up working in the hospitality industry. Growing up in Peru, he was often the first to greet family guests, whom he would show inside and offer refreshments. From there, he and his family moved to the Venezuelan town of Acarigua, which had a large population of Italians who had left Europe after World War II. By making and canning Italian sauces each year after the harvest, Duarte got his first taste of the culture he would later use to create the Peruvian-Italian fusion for which Taranta is known.

Chef José in the kitchen with Margarita. (Patricia Alvarado/WGBH)
Duarte’s professional training began at the Universidad Nueva Esparta in Caracas, Venezuela and, after a short stop in Boston, continued at the Hotel and Restaurant School at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida. A string of successful internships and jobs—including one as food and beverage director for the Royal Caribbean Classic Golf Tournament in Key Biscayne and another as catering director for the Philadelphia Distance Run for three years—eventually led Duarte back to school to pursue his MBA in food service operations, which he received in 1998, again from Lynn University.
In July 2000, Duarte returned to Boston, the city where he began his American journey, to open Taranta in the North End. In 2007 he began the transition to green operations, which increases sustainability while reducing carbon emissions and overall costs. Taranta is now one of the few “green” restaurants in the world, and has received the 2008 City of Boston Green Business Award and the 2011 Massachusetts Recycling Award. Among other professional honors, Duarte has also been named the 2011 Massachusetts Chef of the Year and one of the Top 100 “Most Influential” Latinos in Massachusetts.


Watch Neighborhood Kitchens online to find out more about Taranta in the North End.


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About Neighborhood Kitchens

Building on a 35-year history of producing Latino and multicultural programming, WGBH’s award winning La Plaza team has a new offering — Neighborhood Kitchens, a series about the exploration of culture through food. Every week the show offers a unique window into immigrant communities in New England.

Saturdays at 4pm on WGBH 2
Fridays at 7:30pm on WGBH 44

About the Author

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In each episode, host Margarita Martínez visits a different ethnic restaurant and learns three delicious recipes from the chef. She also explores the restaurant’s neighborhood, discovering hidden gems along the way. Join her as she learns about new ingredients, new cultures, and new neighborhoods. ¡Hasta pronto!

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Find a Neigbhorhood Kitchen
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Margarita's Neighborhood Visits

»Boston: Bristol Lounge
»Boston's South End: Orinoco, Teranga and Oishii
»Boston's Back Bay: Casa Romero
»Boston's North End: Taranta
»Roxbury: Merengue
»Boston's Beacon Hill: Scampo
»All Around Boston: Mei Mei Street Kitchens
»Cambridge: Muqueca, Oleana, and Sandrine's
Somerville: Dosa Temple
»Lawrence: Cafe Azteca
»Lowell: Simply Khmer

»Fresh from the Fish Market
»Jamaica Plain: Tres Gatos
»Dorchester: Pho Le and Cafe Polonia
»Medford: Bistro 5
»Portland, ME: Emilitsa
»Newport, RI: Tallulah on Thames
»Pawtucket, RI: Rasoi


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