UPDATED: Houston Chef David Guerrero Faces Major Brain Surgery Again
Chef David Guerrero of Andes Café surrounded by friends and staff at the most recent Houston Press Menu of Menus. To his left is his wife, Gillian, and on his right is Andes Cafe waiter Nico Galliardo and catering director Andrea Avila.
Photo by Chuck Cook Photography
Updated 4/29/15, 10:48 a.m. Chef Guerrero's wife, Gillian, posted a Facebook update that his surgery has been deemed a success with no complications. He is being transferred from the ICU to a regular room today and is doing well.
Last night, Chef David Guerrero of Andes Cafe sent out a note to several members of the Houston food media community letting them know that his brain tumor that he thought was under control has instead grown in size and he is facing another major surgery.
Following the surgery scheduled for Tuesday, April 28, the 32-year-old Guerrero will spend several months in recovery and away from his restaurant, he wrote.
At age 28, Guerrero faced one of the most serious health problems imaginable. Doctors discovered a six-inch tumor -- an oligodendroglioma -- in his brain. The surgery to remove it caused a stroke that temporarily paralyzed the left side of his body. In addition, he lost his sense of taste -- a serious disability for a chef. (His struggles are documented in a Houston Press article by former restaurant critic Katharine Shilcutt.)
Oligodendrogliomas have "fingers" that extend into the brain, and it's nearly impossible to remove them completely without damaging functional areas.
He was assured by doctors that he was in remission. However, he has told us that his tumor has doubled in size. Depending on the outcome, he says, his recovery may take four to six months.
Andes Cafe is a small, independent restaurant east of downtown serving dishes from seven countries: Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Perú, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina. Right now, Guerrero's biggest wish is for Houston diners to continue supporting his business during his treatment and recovery.
He wrote, "Andes Cafe is my dream, a dream that represents my life's work and passion. I am choosing for Andes to remain open while I work on my recovery. [...] This will be a rough transition, but one I believe we can do gracefully."
This weekend will be Guerrero's last stint in the kitchen for a while. He knows it will be a challenge for his staff to carry on without him, but believes they are up to the task. "It will be hard -- super hard -- to survive but it will be time for my guys to stand up and make me proud," he says.
We wish Chef Guerrero a speedy recovery and hope to update this story with happier news in the future.
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