José Andrés Appoints Sam Bakhshandehpour As CEO

RockCreek Makes Significant Investment in Leading Hospitality Company's Growth

WASHINGTON, May 30, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — José Andrés today announced key leadership appointments reflecting a dynamic stage of domestic and international expansion for the leading hospitality and media company, coupled with a growth investment by RockCreek.

Sam Bakhshandehpour will now serve as the Global Chief Executive Officer of José Andrés Group (JAG), working closely with Ron Parker as President & Chief Operating Officer and Nestor Nova as Chief Financial Officer to run daily operations.

José Andrés continues to serve as the Founder and Executive Chairman of José Andrés Group, the creative force who continues to inspire the growing company’s teams worldwide, lead culinary innovation across its restaurants globally, and create award-winning books, television and content platforms through José Andrés Media.

“Sam understands the power of restaurants to transport us, for food to be the language of connection, and how we can be a part of communities in a meaningful way, all over the world,” said José Andrés.

“José’s vision of food as an agent of change has had an undeniable impact globally,” said Sam Bakhshandehpour. “Staying true to our higher purpose is crucial at this inflection point in our growth trajectory, which is what unites our talented team and attracts like-minded partners.”

Long-standing JAG culinary leaders Chef Rick Billings will become Chief Culinary Officer and Chef Carles Tejedor will be Chief Creative Officer.

Newly joining the Board of Directors will be Justin Heyman, Managing Director at global investment firm RockCreek, and Carlota Andrés, Senior Associate of Partnerships at the fast-growing food tech start-up Wonder.

“RockCreek is excited to partner with José, Sam, and the rest of the JAG team to support this next phase of the company’s growth,” said Justin Heyman. “JAG is a model of how the food and hospitality industry can both be a great business and change the world for the better, and we are looking forward to working with the company to help it grow.” In addition, EagleBank is leading a debt refinancing for JAG.

With almost 40 restaurant concepts across the country and internationally, José Andrés Group began 2024 unveiling significant expansion in key markets with prominent strategic partnerships brokered by JAG business development partner, Cultivate Hospitality.

JAG recently announced its first development project with Hyatt Hotels by managing all of the food & beverage of the debut of the Andaz brand in Miami Beach, Florida.

Additionally, JAG newly revealed plans to partner on its first luxury waterfront residential development project in West Palm Beach at Olara managing all of the food & beverage.

This summer will bring the first in a series of openings with Simon Property Group, starting with the debut of Bazaar Mar and Bar Centro at The Shops at Crystals on the Las Vegas Strip, later at The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, and then Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto.

With its launch over 30 years ago, JAG brought to America the Spanish art of sharing small plates. 30 years later, while rooted in Spanish cuisine, the spirit of sharing continues with JAG’s multi-cuisine and multi-price point format.

JAG will continue to expand its wide-ranging concepts from its Signature Collection (The Bazaar by José Andrés and barmini) to Small Plates Collection (Jaleo, Zaytinya, China Poblano, Oyamel and China Chilcano) to JAG fast casual division, FastGood (Beefsteak, Butterfly Tacos, Pepe and more).

In the last two years, JAG has significantly broadened its footprint by opening highly acclaimed restaurants and bars in partnership with esteemed hotel brands including Conrad Los Angeles, Waldorf-Astoria Washington DC, The Ritz-Carlton New York, NoMad, and The Ritz-Carlton South Beach. José Andrés Media has garnered critical acclaim for its Emmy-Award winning TV show, José Andrés and Family in Spain, as well as its recently released New York Times-bestselling cookbook ZAYTINYA: Delicious Mediterranean Dishes from Greece, Turkey, and Lebanon.

For more information about José Andrés Group, go to:

About José Andrés Group
José Andrés Group (JAG) is the creative team behind renowned dining concepts and the dynamic media company named for Chef and Founder José Andrés. Originally conceived as ThinkFoodGroup with co-founder Rob Wilder, and now led by CEO Sam Bakhshandehpour, the newly named company reflects the breadth of its mission to change the world through the power of food, through its innovative restaurants and thoughtful storytelling across multi-media platforms. With almost 40 restaurant concepts in Chicago, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, Orlando, and Washington D.C, The Bahamas and Dubai, José Andrés Restaurants offer culinary experiences that span from food trucks to world-class tasting menus, including the two Michelin starred minibar by José Andrés in Washington, D.C.  Formed in 2021, José Andrés Media was created to share how food connects people around the world. The production company specializes in unscripted and scripted television series, books, podcasts, and digital short- and mid-form content with a focus on food-related stories and characters, and the culture of food. José Andrés is an internationally recognized culinary innovator, New York Times bestselling author, educator, television personality, and humanitarian, twice named one of Time’s “100 Most Influential People,” and awarded “Outstanding Chef” and “Humanitarian of the Year” by the James Beard Foundation as well as the inaugural “American Express Icon Award” by the World’s 50 Best Restaurants. For more information, visit

About RockCreek
RockCreek is a global investment firm that with over $17 billion in assets. RockCreek partners with corporations, pensions, and other institutional investors to mobilize capital to create long term value and create a more sustainable future. RockCreek is led by its founder and CEO, Afsaneh Beschloss, and invests directly in high-growth companies and in funds across asset classes.