Miami’s restaurant scene is constantly growing and changing. These five chefs, some more established, some just rising stars, are well worth checking out on your next trip down south.
Originally from Puerto Rico, Jose came to Miami to follow his love of food. He got a great deal of experience in the Asian realm by working at Nobu (both here and in London) and at SushiSamba, where he added a Latin twist to the Japanese menu. Since helping found the Pubbelly Restaurant Group, Mendin has received nothing but praise from the community. He has been a nominee for Food & Wine Magazine People’s Best New Chef (nation wide) for the past four years, and he has also been a semifinalist for Best Chef in the South by the James Beard Foundation for the last four years. His flagship restaurant, Pubbelly, and its nextdoor cousin, Pubbelly Sushi, are two incomparable Miami Beach restaurants.
It almost goes without saying that Michelle Bernstein is one of the top chefs to watch in Miami Beach. The local chef’s list of accolades goes on and on: She won the 2008 James Beard Award for Best Chef in the South, has appeared on several television cooking programs (Melting Pot, Top Chef), and beat Bobby Flay on Iron Chef America! In addition to her bakery in the design district, Crumb on Parchment, she has just opened up a fresh project, CENA by Michy, a New American comfort spot. Seagrape Restaurant, however, is her stamp on Miami Beach with art deco design and Florida-inspired cuisine.
Growing up all over Europe, Votano got to experience some of the best food this world has to offer. More importantly, she developed an appreciation for high quality ingredients and produce fresh from the farm. After getting her start in San Francisco, Votano came to Miami to cook at the right hand of Michelle Bernstein. She later went to cook at Fooq’s, a globally inspired farm-to-table spot. And now, Votano is Chef de Cuisine at DIRT in Miami Beach, serving fast, casual and healthy food at a fair price while sourcing as many local ingredients as possible.
At the age of 29-years-old Chef Tafur has just become executive chef at The Dutch. Another homegrown talent, he spent time working in Michelin star restaurants in Spain before returning the US where he worked in high end dining establishments all over the country from LA to New York under James Beard award-winning chef Alfred Portale. He plans to open his own place one day so keep you’re eye out.