About us"Dreaming is easy, accomplishing something is a challenge and doing it is a goal"
"Projects like that don't usually appear"
Juan Ruiz Henestrosa, the director of Aponiente's hall and the national award for Gastronomy, leaves Haute Cuisine to start his dream business, Little John, a hamburger restaurant in the center of his hometown, Rota.
Since he was little he dreamed of running a hamburger restaurant, perhaps because of the ties of the city of Rota, perhaps because he wanted to express a concept that goes hand in hand with a touch different from what we all know.
Cadiz hostelery school
Juan Ruiz (1981) was born in Rota, a coastal town in the province of Cádiz with an agricultural, fishing and tourist tradition.
At an early age he began working at Bar Bahía, at first as a DJ in the kitchen, later attending the bar and dining room of the establishment, owned by his uncle Juan Jose Campos.
After finishing his baccalaureate studies, he decides to study at the School of Hospitality in Cádiz, graduating from the Restaurant and Bar Services (Restoration) branch, he practices at the Mercure Hotel Panorama **** Freiburg and La Hacienda Benazuza ELBULLIHOTEL *** ** Sanlucar La Mayor.
At just 20 years old, he took over the opening of the Sixto Hostel, being Head of the restaurant.
In Santceloni, with Santi Santamaría and Abel Valverde
Un año más tarde se marcha a Madrid y entra a trabajar en el Restaurante Santceloni ** Michelin, asesoría gastronómica del chef Santi Santamaría y bajo las órdenes, del que es para Juan su mentor, Abel Valverde. Es aquí donde le dan la oportunidad de realizar el curso de sumillería de la Cámara de Comercio de Madrid y empieza a desarrollar su interés por el vino de una manera más profesional.
After a couple of years in Madrid, his bosses from La Hacienda Benazuza decided to recover it and returned to ELBULLIHOTEL as manager of La Alquería ** Michelin and second manager of the hotel.
A couple of years later, Santi Santamaria trusted him again, encouraged by Abel Valverde, and proposed that he become the maître d 'Hotel Valdepalacios ***** and its restaurant Tierra * Michelin.
Prophet in his land
The years away from home began to weigh and at that moment he received the proposal of Ángel León to join Aponiente *** Michelin as maître d 'sommelier. Chef del Mar's project brings him back to his native land where he develops the last stage of his professional career.
He regularly collaborates with the Basque Culinari Center as a trainer and speaker, also in conferences such as Madridfusion, Andalucía Sabor, Forum de Girona, San Sebastián Gastronómica and BBVA Bilbao Food Capital, among others. For the past three years he has served on Jancis Robinson's tasting council.
With the passage of time, this is Juan.
In 2015 he received the Prix au somellier by the International Academy of Gastronomy as the Best Sommelier in Europe. In 2016 it is the Royal Academy of Gastronomy of Spain that awards him the award for Best Sommelier. That same year, the ABC newspaper awarded him the Salsa de Chiles award for Best Room Professional, as well as the Excelencias Award for Best Room Professional awarded by the Latin American and European Academies of Gastronomy. The Andalusian Academy of Gastronomy and Tourism names him Best Room Professional in 2018.
Como profesional ha sido capaz de fusionar el clasicismo y la disciplina de la escuela Santamaría-Valverde y la frescura y dinamismo de la escuela Adriá; añadiendo, por su procedencia andaluza, la cercanía y la complicidad tanto dentro de la sala como con sus equipos.
His greatest passion as a room professional is team building and generating a feeling of belonging to a project, seeking that style that he considers unique and adapting it to each situation.
Team and Concept
LittleJohn is Juan Ruiz's project but at the same time of many who have been hooked on the idea over time.
Victor Nieto and Nacho Lobato, young entrepreneurs from Rota and owners of Utopía Tapas, join from the beginning. They share many concerns with Juan and fall in love with Juan's passion and commitment to the idea of the hamburger restaurant. With the union of the three, your dream comes true.
Time passes and Juan takes control of a team with experience in the sector, who is passionate about the philosophy that is being forged. But a critical, sincere and professional point of view is missing and that's where Curro Noriega comes in to play. We could call him our gastronomic advisor but he is something else: a friend who has finished making sense of this madness. You have understood LittleJohn's idea of cooking, here you eat rich and cook like at home with our grandmother.
LittleJohn es un sueño compartido con amigos que al final se convierten en familia.
THIS IS THE WAY