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About Us

About us

Cielo Rojo is a family owned fine-casual Mexican restaurant in the heart of Takoma Park, MD. David Perez & Carolina McCandless first met in 2012 at a well-known Mexican restaurant in San Francisco. 

They proceeded to fall in love over their shared passions for Mexican food, mezcal, movies, and the outdoors. The name Cielo Rojo (red sky) was born from one of their favorite mariachi songs but also stems from their love of sunsets. From Fort Funston, California to the beaches of Mexico & Chile, the sunset represents the moments of clarity & calm that have been shared with family & friends over the years. After the birth of their daughter, Shiloh, they moved back east to be closer to family, and when a restaurant space opened up in the heart of Takoma Park they felt it serendipitous. Carolina's parents own Amano, a clothing boutique that has been in Takoma Park for over 20 years. Knowing how special the community of Takoma Park is they felt it the perfect DC-area home for their California-inspired traditional Mexican cuisine. The community's progressive & family-focused environment aligns perfectly with the mission for their restaurant, a place where friends & family can come together to nourish themselves with the beauty of food, community & mezcal. 

Our Team

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Executive Chef (Owner)

Chef David Perez, born in Mexico City, immigrated to the US when he was 17 years old. He has worked in kitchens ever since. His passion for Mexican cuisine is rooted in his mother's cooking and a childhood spent enjoying street food in Mexico City. He has a passion for authentic Mexican food that is reminiscent of childhood memories but also getting creative with dishes, while still paying homage to his roots. He loves to experiment with different regions of Mexican cuisine, while also sharing memories of his childhood through his food.

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Jazmine, General Manager

Jazmine has worked in the hospitality industry for 17 years. 


She is a strong-willed empath that never settles for anything she doesn't believe in whole heartedly. 

Her passion for her Mexican heritage (her family is from Jalisco & Michoácan) & building relationships with the community makes her the perfect match for our family run restaurant in the heart of Takoma Park. 

Fun fact: Her fave book is "How to do the Work"

                    by Dr. Nicole LePera


Hugo, Executive Sous Chef

Hugo has worked for our restaurant since it's early days (over 4 years!) and has always been a steady, consistent hand in keeping our plates looking & tasting good due to his extreme attention to detail. 

He is a positive person who is passionate about cooking, an excellent friend, loyal to his core, and is a strong person who goes after his dreams. Cookbooks intrigue him and he loves to exercise. He considers his failures as drivers to success. 

Fun fact: his favorite phrase is "Practice makes a master"

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Juan Carlos, Assistant General Manager

Born in Oaxaca, Mexico. JC has 15 years experience in the hospitality industry. He started as a barista in a local coffee shop and moved into managing their cafe. His passion for the hospitality industry started there. He has worked for Cielo Rojo for 2 years prior to moving into management. Always being a steady, helpful and dedicated staff member who is loved and respected by his peers. You will see him always handing a helpful hand around the restaurant. 

Fun fact: I will eat al pastor tacos for the rest of my life! 


Ops & Creative Director (Owner)

Carolina was born in Chile and raised in Cabin John, MD. She lived in San Francisco for the last 13 years while getting her B.S. in Dietetics from SFSU. During her studies, she worked in restaurants & bars as a server, bartender and manager. Prior to moving back east she worked as Head of Operations for a corporate catering start up overseeing 3 markets in the bay area.  She then decided to come back to her true passion, the restaurant industry. She is passionate about design, and you will see her choices throughout the space.

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Rachel Bindel, Chef de Cuisine

We are thrilled to have Chef Rachel Bindel on our team. She joins us after honing her skills at renowned DC restaurants including Tail Up Goat, Lutèce, and Gravitas. Rachel brings tremendous passion for food and a keen eye for detail to her role. She is excited to leverage her background and creative vision to take our menus to the next level. Her passion for the culinary arts shines through in the care she puts into crafting each dish. Rachel's experience at high-volume restaurants will bring new energy and talent to our kitchen. 

Fun Fact: She loves going home to her Black Lab, Jack

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German, Sous Chef

Born in Quintana Roo Mexico. German has worked in the restaurant industry for over 15 years. He has gained most of his experience working in restaurants throughout Baltimore, MD. And while he has experience working with a variety of cuisines, Mexican cuisine is rooted in his heart because it reminds him of home. He is very passionate about  learning new things in the kitchen and always seeking improvement. He is jovial and responsible, always bringing positive vibes to the workplace with his infectious smile.


Fun Fact: He is inspired by his family.

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Luis, Bar Manager

Luis was born in Chiapas, Mexico and moved to the US at age 9. He is a very hard-working person, with big aspirations and dreams, always interested in a career in hospitality. He started working in restaurants at the age of 18, always taking notes and learning from the best in the industry, which helped land him a job at a beloved (now shuttered) restaurant, Espita Mezcaleria, where the love of mezcal was born. His passion for agave spirits stem from its bold and intricate flavors that have helped him discover new ways of combining and balancing flavors, something that he hopes to bring and share now in his new role.

Fun fact: he loves 80's rock and roll



Bienvenidos A Su Casa! We want people to feel at home in our restaurant, this means choosing quality ingredients that we would be comfortable serving to our own family. We believe that we can support both the planet & our bodies by sourcing carefully and consciously. Our tortillas are made from 100% organic non-GMO corn. Our meats are hormone-free & humanely raised. We believe in sourcing as much local & organic food as possible.

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