Chef Adalberto "Al" Diaz Labrada joined the Harmons Cooking School team in November 2011. He played a huge part in the successful opening of Harmons City Creek in February 2012 and set a strong foundation for the Cooking School at the store. Chef Al now serves as the Executive Chef and works on a variety of projects including recipe development, chef training, special events, and more.
Born in Havana, Cuba and raised in a big family, Adalberto was always interested in cooking. Adalberto's two grandmothers taught him the tricks of the Cuban traditional cuisine and how to find his way in the kitchen. Helping them to whip eggs here or rolling dough there. At 10 years old he started to actually do his owns creations. His first steps in the kitchen lead him to realize that people actually liked the way he cooked. After one year in the Army Service, Adalberto went to college in 1992 to study Informatics (Computer software development) but had to stop after three years because of the Economic Crisis. Adalberto attended a Tourist Entertainment School (International School for Tourism Entertainment in Havana, Cuba) and graduated as a Tourist entertainer in 1996. Adalberto worked as a tourist entertainer for two years and at the same time opened his own bakery.
In the fall of 1996, Adalberto went to Germany for 3 month for a German Language Intensive Course. This also enabled him to pick up some new German cuisine ideas and helped broaden his culinary horizon. In 1997, his sales in the bakery were so high that he decided to make it a full time job. Since private businesses are forbidden in Cuba, Adalberto ran into challenges and had to leave his homeland. With the help of some friends, he made his way to Salt Lake City where he has been working in various restaurants, delis and hotels. At the same time he catered private parties and weddings. He worked as a full time baker and Chef at Granato's for almost 7 years and has been the Executive Chef for Roth Concept Center in Salt Lake where he has been teaching public cooking classes for the last 8 years most Wednesday evenings. Adalberto has done cooking demos and shows for local television stations as well as cooking shows at the Home and Garden Show. He had a Latin Cooking show on AmericaTeve, a Spanish speaking network in Miami for 2 years.
Adalberto was a full time Chef Instructor at the Culinary Arts Institute of the Utah Valley University from 2008 through the end of 2011. He certified as a Certified Executive Pastry Chef (CEPC) and now in the track to certify as a Certified Master Baker. He trains and coaches students that participate in competitions like SkillsUSA and donates time to more than one charitable organization in Utah, including the Big Brothers and Sisters, Chef and the Child and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. He is also active in supporting local schools and churches, with donations of time and private cooking classes, to help raise funds for their causes. He is an active member of the American Culinary Federation.
Adalberto received the Utah Pastry Chef of the Year award in 2009 and 2011 and has won Gold and Bronze medals in various ACF sanctioned competitions. In July 2012, Chef Al competed in the American Culinary Federation's Pastry Competition where he earned the title of Pastry Chef of the Year.