Chef Ernesto Rio Azul Mexican Bar & Grill

When it comes to traditional Mexican dining, you won’t find better than the fresh flavors of Palm Springs’ Rio Azul Mexican Bar & Grill. Both tourists and locals flock to this vibrant locale, voting it “Best Mexican Restaurant” and “Best Margarita” by Palm Springs Life readers in recent years. The man behind the success of this Palm Springs hot spot is Executive Chef Ernesto Gastelum. 
Raised in San Benito, Sinaloa, Mexico, Chef Ernesto’s passion for food began at a young age as he helped relatives create dishes from scratch with the freshest ingredients. After moving to Los Angeles at 13, Gastelum continued honing his culinary knowledge under various chefs, aspiring to become Head Chef one day. 
“It has always been a dream for me to open a restaurant,” said Chef Ernesto. “With the support of friends and family, I was able to open Rio Azul Mexican Bar & Grill. I’m very blessed in so many ways,” he said. 
His passion for both culture and cuisine has led him to create a wide range of eclectic and delicious dishes. Many of Rio Azul’s dishes follow the chef’s own family recipes, like the Albondigas Soup and Green Corn Tamales. Despite having such tried-and-true dishes on the menu, Chef Ernesto still enjoys experimenting and creating new Mexican dishes that haven’t been seen before. 
“I’m not afraid to try new things and create new entrees,” he explains. “So many of my customers prefer me to create new dishes and they embrace change.”
Above all else, Gastelum believes that each plate must be prepared with the freshest ingredients to provide exceptional taste and create a memorable experience at Rio Azul. Chef Ernesto explains, “that’s how every dining experience should be – isn’t that why we dine out?” 
For more information and to schedule your own experience at Rio Azul Mexican Bar & Grill, visit

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