It is no exaggeration to say that Miami has its own food culture. Whether you consider the origin of burger king or the Wine & Food Festival in the city, you cannot deny the popularity of its restaurants and such venues. Such a bustling place for tourism is also full of all types of eateries, from restaurants to take-outs to bars.
Needless to say, many peak-level chefs are dishing up the Miamian, Cuban, or other culinary art in the place. For that reason, I have gathered a list of top chefs in Miami. Some are here for a long time, while others are rising stars.
Michelle Bernstein- Full of Cooking Passion and Accolades
Ask any chef or food lover of Miami, and they can tell you about Michelle Bernstein. While she was just a regular chef in the local restaurant, she quickly became one of the big names. Her Latin cuisine received much praise from critics and judges throughout the years.
Bernstein’s primary goal was to become a ballerina. But unfortunately, she had to quit for an injury. I love how when people like her looses sight of a great goal, they find another one without delay. She went to Johnson & Wales University to study cooking. She also co-hosted many TV shows and was a competitor and a judge on different cooking shows.
Restaurants in Miami-
Michelle Bernstein owned many restaurants in her career. Some are close now. Currently, only four are open in Miami. They are as below-
- Sweet Liberty
- Café La Trova
- La Canita
- Little Liberty
Awards and Achievements-
- Her Michy’s won ‘Best New Restaurant’ from Food & Wine and ‘Top 50 Restaurants in the County’ from Gourmet in 2006.
- Her SRA restaurant got the Best New Restaurant in America title in 2009 from John Mariani.
- She also won several James Beard Awards.
- She won Iron Chef America against Bobby Flay once.
Michael Schwartz- Music Loving Chef
There are two reasons why Michael Schwartz is so praiseworthy. Firstly, his cooking skill is almost unmatchable within Miami and even outside. Secondly, he is an excellent businessman with strategies that lead his Genuine Hospitality Group to the top.
I also like his sense of humor and how he tackles many things simultaneously. He is the author of a couple of cookbooks and runs many restaurants. He admits that music is his favorite passion after cooking.
Schwarts opened the Genuine Hospitality Group of Restaurants in Miami, containing three eateries. They are-
- Amara at Paraiso- Popular for its Latin American Cuisine
- Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink- Located in Miami and another in Grand Cayman.
- Harry’s Pizzeria- One of the best Pizzerias in the USA.
- Michael Schwartz won the Best Chef: South from the James Beard Foundation in 2010.
- Harry’s Pizzeria was included in one of the 25 Best Pizzerias in the US by Food & Wine.
Aside from his own website, you can find his recipe in his cookbook, Genuine Pizza: Better Pizza at Home and Michael’s Genuine Food: Down-to-Earth Cooking for People Who Love to Eat.
Kevin Cory- Best Omakase-Dining Experience in Miami
Japanese dining is pretty popular worldwide, and Kevin Cory, in his Miami restaurant, Naoe, is delivering some top-class of it. He is a reliable and commendable chef for omakase dining. In case you don’t know Omakase, it is a style where the chef makes foods with ingredients he chooses for the day. But there is no worry if such a great chef picks your dish.
Two great chefs trained Cory, one is Nobuo Kase in Miami, and the other is his uncle, Yasushi Naoe. It was the former who actually put him into the career, though. Before, he was just a regular sushi chef.
By the way, besides his restaurant, he also owns a cookware store- Korin, selling Japanese cookware, knives, and tableware.
Restaurants of Cory-
Naoe is the eatery owned by Kevin Cory, after his uncle. As I mentioned, it provides excellent Japanese omakase-style dishes. Cory himself is an innovator of new dishes and constantly brings new items to the menu.
While I couldn’t find any accolades under chef Kevin Cory, many believe he is the best chef in Miami.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any cookbooks from Cory. But the book Japanese Soul Cooking can help many practice the custom.
- Dena Marino- The Italian cuisine expert famous for her Octopus roasts.
- Piyarat Arreeratn- Mostly known as Chef Bee, his place, Oishi Thai, offers mouth-watering exotic Thai dishes.
- David Bracha- If you want the pure local taste of Miami, visit either his Oak Tavern, a new restaurant serving home-cooking style meat and charcuterie, or River Seafood & Oyster Bar for its seafood.
- Jeffrey Chen- He is especially known for his delicious ramen. In fact, you most probably won’t find any other place in the city with as good ramen as his.
Among the numerous chefs settled in Miami, these three are my top picks. If you have any recommendations, feel free to comment down.
You cannot help but look with wonder how some of these chefs go from absolute nobody to some of the biggest names in the state. They drive every chef out there, including me.