Student Success Stories - Meet Will

Will Ortez first started working in kitchens at the Tropico Inn Hotel in San Miguel, El Salvador, where he was Kitchen Administrator and supervised 35 employees. Since then, Will has wanted to create his own business.

The Carlos Rosario School is the place where Will Ortez’s business, Casa Tequila Catering, took off. In 2003, he enrolled in the school’s beginner English classes. “At that time, I could only speak very limited English. I was not able to explain in English my idea to start a business,” he said.

After taking English classes, Will completed the School’s Culinary Arts program, as well as the Small Business program. Will is proud of his instructor Raul Medrano. “He is a great guy. His advice helped me a lot with my project,” Will said.

Before starting his own business, Will learned more about the industry while working in several restaurants in D.C.. From 2003 to 2010, he worked as Kitchen Manager at Lauriol Plaza Restaurant, and later on became a part-time member of Union Kitchen, a food and beverage business accelerator in D.C. In 2012, Will started Casa Tequila Catering, which focuses on Central American and Mexican cuisine for weddings, banquets, birthdays and other events. In 2017 Will acquired a local commercial kitchen to help expand his business. Will’s goal is to start a small restaurant.

Meanwhile, he wants to pay back all that the Carlos Rosario School gave him by allowing students to work in the kitchen space that he rents. “I am helping now six current students from the Culinary Arts program who are starting their own business. I do not need money from them but just want to help like others did for me,” Will said.