Los Dos founder David Sterling was born in Oklahoma City, OK. Describing himself as “weaned on chili,”Sterling grew up in the Southwestern culinary environment that included everything from chicken fried steak and sausage gravy, to cheese enchiladas and other TexMex dishes. Sterling studied a range of cuisines since he was a teenager, but was most experienced in classic French techniques. After traveling to Mexico in 1972 for the first of many visits, he focused primarily on Mexican cooking. He credited one of his best friends, a teacher of Mexican cooking in Canada, for sparking that passion as well as teaching him many Mexican recipes.
Studying art and languages as an undergraduate, Sterling held a Master of Fine Arts in design from Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. During the two year program, Sterling also worked as a pantry chef at the highly acclaimed French restaurant Le Bijou, in the nearby Detroit suburb of Southfield. He subsequently continued to hone his knife skills in his own small catering business in the late 1970’s. After graduation from Cranbrook, he relocated to New York City, which he made his home for 25 years before moving to Mérida in 2003 to open Los Dos, which features the kitchen of Chef Sterling’s dreams. Sterling authored two books on Mexican gastronomy published by The University of Texas Press, the first, YUCATAN, Recipes From a Culinary Expedition was published in 2014 and won two James Beard awards. The second, MERCADOS, was released posthumously in 2019. Mario Canul, Sterling’s sous-chef, and right-hand-man took over as head chef for Los Dos upon Sterling’s death in 2016.