Juan-Carlos Cruz began his culinary career at California Culinary Academy, where he graduated in 1993. He began his culinary odyssey as an apprentice at the Amillios Restaurant in San Francisco, California. In 1994, Juan-Carlos moved on to the Stanford Park Hotel as Pastry Chef and then as Pastry Sous Chef at the Hotel Bel Air in 1996.
During his five years at the Hotel Bel Air, Juan created desserts for Gary Oldman, Jack Nicholson, Nancy Reagan, Will Smith, Oprah Winfrey, Jim Carrey, Joe Namath, Prince Phillip, Julia Roberts, Russell Crowe, and many others. Juan-Carlos was part of the team that represented the illustrious hotel at the James Beard House. He received so many high praises for his pastry work at the hotel, that in 2001 he decided to spin off on his own and begin Pastrydude.com in Los Angeles. Pastrydude.com is now one of Los Angeles’ premiere wedding cake destination, where Juan-Carlos’s decadent creations are made to order.
Juan-Carlos appeared on the premiere season of the Discovery Health Network’s Body Challenge for six episodes. On the program, Juan-Carlos lost a total of 43 pounds with an additional 17 lbs lost after the show wrapped. After his appearances, Juan-Carlos’s attitude towards food altered as well. He began running Calorie Commando Catering with the mission of providing the best heart-healthy food in Los Angeles. Juan-Carlos still runs Pastrydude and teaches at the Chefs Inc School of Culinary Arts in West Los Angeles, where his classes include pastry, bread making, advanced cooking techniques, and healthy "spa" cuisine.
Juan-Carlos also appeared on Discovery Health Network’s Body Challenge 2 as Calorie Commando. Juan-Carlos then appeared on the Body Challenge 3 as the host/weigh in coordinator.
Other recent appearances include Soap Center for the Soap Opera Network, The Modern Girls Guide to Life for the Style Network, and Cooking School Stories on the Food Network. He has also made appearances on the Countdown to the Academy Awards on E!, Celebrity Diets on VH1, and is the host of Calorie Commando and Weighing In on Food Network.
His first cookbook "The Juan-Carlos Cruz Calorie Countdown Coookbook: A 5 -Week Eating Strategy for Sustainable Weight Loss" was released in December 2006.
When not in the kitchen, Juan-Carlos volunteers at Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles as a member of Love on 4 Paws with his Norwich terrier, Maggie. Juan-Carlos is married and lives in Los Angeles, California.