S2 EP 1: JuanMa Calderón & Maria Rondeau Know How to Throw a (Dinner) Party

CREDIT: Gaby Manrique-Villari

Before they opened Union Square Peruvian spot Celeste, JuanMa Calderón and Maria Rondeau hosted popup dinners in their Cambridge home. Neither had previously helmed a restaurant; Calderón, originally from Peru, was a filmmaker; Rondeau, of Guatemala, was an architect and ran an artist residency workshop. But opening the Somerville restaurant felt like an extension of those projects—yet another collaborative venture involving experimentation and creativity. Plus, the 24-seat eatery is tiny enough that it almost feels like a house party. Pairing that cozy, welcoming atmosphere with Peruvian recipes from Calderón’s mother and grandmother has proven to be a successful formula: The spot was named Eater Boston’s Restaurant of the Year in 2018, and was a James Beard Foundation Semifinalist for Best New Restaurant in 2019.

When friends say, “You should open a restaurant!” just because you throw a great dinner party, they’re usually wrong. But that wasn’t the case for JuanMa Calderón and Maria Rondeau, whose Somerville restaurant Celeste started as a supper in club in their Cambridge home. We sat down with the couple to hear how a filmmaker and an architect with no prior experience in the industry opened one of the hottest spots in town, and how they plan to keep the party going.

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Don’t miss our upcoming Galentine’s Day Party at OAK Long Bar + Kitchen on February 13th from 6-9PM. Join us for a night of sipping, snacking, and sweets to celebrate the ladies – all while supporting Women’s Lunch Place, a local charity that helps homeless women. For more information, click HERE. We hope to see you there!

Weeknight dinner stress is cancelled! Catherine’s company, not just co., helps you get a healthy, delicious meal done fast with modern pantry staples and easy recipes – perfect for those nights you aren’t hitting the Boston restaurant scene. Use code TFL20 for 20% off your order.

Thank you to our season two sponsors, Winestyr and Image Unlimited Communications.

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