Chef Sonia Arias ’90, A Dream of Their Own

Sonai Arias '90 Owner and Executive Chef of Jaso
Sonia Arias ’90 Owner and Executive Chef of Jaso

 CIA Alumni Bio

In success, as in many things, timing often plays a major role. You could say that Sonia Arias is blessed with impeccable culinary timing. From the instant she and Jared Reardon met and fell in love while students at the CIA to the moment they opened the doors of their restaurant, Jaso, they have made well-timed and well-thought-out career choices that lead to success.

Building Their Skills

While Sonia was finishing up her Bachelor’s degree, Jared spent a year in New Orleans, LA, at the Commander’s Palace. Then, for the next two and a half years he worked under Certified Master Chef George McNeill at the Marriott Marquis in New York City. Building on what he learned at the CIA, Jared paid particular attention to budgeting, forecasting, and purchasing, knowing that he would need those skills down the line. Then it was off to work at Bouley for the next three years, where he developed his skills and his understanding of modern French cuisine.

Once she graduated, Sonia joined Jared in New York City and spent a year working at Daniel under Pastry Chef Tomas Haas. From there it was on to Danube and, finally, working side-by-side with Jared at Bouley. Though she’s a pastry chef, Sonia thought it would be good to round out her experience, so she opted to work as a waiter and captain in the front of the house. While having wonderful experiences honing their skills with some of the nation’s top chefs, Sonia and Jared never once took their eyes off the prize—to open their own establishment.

Going Home

When the time came to make the move, it was to Mexico City—Sonia’s hometown—where they opened an upscale contemporary American restaurant with a classical influence. And as always, their timing was perfect. Even five years ago, the city would not have taken to the type of elegant, sophisticated food and wine they offer. But, citizens of Mexico City have become more well traveled, sophisticated, and open to Jaso’s meticulous approach to food. From making their own butter and ice cream to populating an award-winning wine cellar, Jared and Sonia pride themselves on the culinary quality and sensorial experience they offer their patrons.

Such commitment to excellence leaves them little spare time for themselves. With the restaurant closed on Sundays, Sonia and Jared watch movies, eat out at other restaurants, and visit the markets. But they are content. Jaso has developed a strong word-of-mouth following and they close up each night knowing that for them and their dream—the time is right.

Chef Sonia Arias majored in baking and pastry arts management at The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY. She is the executive chef and owner of Jaso in Mexico City, Mexico.