Jimmy Shaw, founder and executive chef of Lotería! Grill, didn’t take the traditional path to being one of most successful restaurateurs in Los Angeles. Born in Mexico City, Jimmy’s interest in cooking began with the marvelous food he enjoyed during his childhood. His mother is a magnificent cook and entertainer, and instilled in Jimmy and his siblings the passion to cook the traditional regional cuisines of Mexico.
While he was a student at the University of Pennsylvania, he began working in restaurants and as a personal chef and caterer. Frequent visits home to Mexico gave Jimmy a new arsenal of recipes, techniques, and ingredients, constantly broadening his flavor repertoire in the kitchen.
Jimmy moved to Los Angeles a few years after university to work in the growing Spanish-language advertising industry before getting the opportunity to open his acclaimed taco stand at the Farmers Market in Los Angeles. His goal was to feature the complex and soulful dishes he grew up eating in Mexico. Since opening in summer 2002, Lotería! Grill has grown to include five restaurants. “Our food is about proper ingredients and techniques—no short cuts—the way regional food is prepared in Mexico, and the setting is a contemporary rendition of the elegant central patios of great Mexican houses,” he says. “We love it when our guests discover a new connection to the delicious dishes of Mexico.”
Jimmy travels frequently to Mexico, where he continues to study regional cooking, ingredients, and customs—bringing many of his discoveries back to his guests at Lotería Grill.