David Vargas, chef/owner of Vida Cantina, brings his Mexican heritage and appreciation for local seasonal New England product to every plate at Vida Cantina in Portsmouth, NH. David first learned his craft in his family’s Mexican restaurant, and then in the kitchens of Chefs Mark Gaier and Clark Frasier at Arrows and MC Perkins Cove. David chose to stay in New England and open Vida Cantina, his first restaurant, in 2014. He serves as owner of Ore Nell’s BBQ, as well as operations manager for Dos Amigos Burritos. He is also the co-founder with Anneke Jans’ Executive Chef Lee Frank of the Chefs After Dark Series. He’s also gained local recognition for the volunteer work he does in the Kittery School District cafeterias, providing students with locally-sourced, fresh meals when he has a free morning or afternoon. He most recently was named a 2019 semifinalist for Best Chef: Northeast by the James Beard Foundation.