"I’m Cuban and I’ve lived in the US for 10 years. I arrived with the dream of accomplishing the goal I was denied in Cuba, which was becoming an important Chef.

While living in Cuba, I won a scholarship and I had every intention of studying what I loved most, which was culinary, but I was denied the opportunity. Instead, I was forced to study something with computers. Once my studies were completed, I was automatically enrolled in the military, as is customary in Cuba. I was forced to spend two years serving as a guard for the Communist party. If I refused, they would put me in jail, or my family would suffer. As soon as I finished my service, 5 months later, I escaped because, in the end, I couldn’t study what I wanted, and I couldn’t be who I wanted to be. I was tired.

I left Cuba in a balsa, along with 24 other people. The motor on the boat wasn’t good and the trip took us 19 hours. During my first few days in the US, I sold flowers at a traffic light until I got my work permit.

For the first 6 years, I worked in restaurants in South Beach and Miami Beach that specialized in Cuban cuisine. I enjoyed working there and along the way, I met a lot of people, but there came a point where I felt I wasn’t advancing. I felt stuck. I really wanted to accomplish this dream of mine, but at the same time, I couldn’t picture it anymore.

Currently, I work at Kaori, a place I feel proud to work at. I love my job. Every day I arrive with passion and the desire to give the best of myself. I found a second family here that I appreciate and with whom I’ve learned a lot. To this day, I feel very fortunate for all I’ve accomplished and for leaving Cuba. Even though I came in a balsa (raft), the difficult journey to the US has been well worth the effort and sacrifice. Every day I feel closer and closer to fulfilling my dreams."


"Four years ago, I left Venezuela due to the situation and because I wanted to pursue my dream of becoming a Chef.

I’ve loved cooking all my life, and the dream to become a Chef started when I was a child. I studied Social Communications. Afterward, I became the CEO of an Advertising Agency for five years, working on campaigns with international brands. Unfortunately, I didn’t see myself working in Communications forever, and in 2014 I decided to take the leap and headed to culinary school. That’s when my passion took off.

While growing up, working in a kitchen wasn’t seen as a real job in Venezuela, so I studied Communications. During that time, I didn’t know that I could make my dream a reality. However, soon after, new schools and restaurants started making an appearance, creating a new movement that encouraged me to pursue my dreams.

Even though I switched careers, Communications helped me in the world of marketing as I worked as a Private Chef. Learning more about myself, my cooking style, and how to demonstrate my value to clients has been essential, and it’s been fantastic to see how my experiences in communication helped me along the way.

In 2016, I created a franchise-style brand starting with two branches titled Amanda Cookies Venezuela. Then in 2018, after traveling for a month in Asia, I moved to New York and started my gastronomic career, taking my first kitchen job.

When Winter came, I moved to Miami and started working in different restaurants.

In 2020 I decided to merge my passions: Digital Marketing applied to gastronomy, my passion for service, and the psychology behind a plate. I created a Vegan Pop-up with Middle Eastern notes aimed at a younger audience.

At this moment in time, I’d like for more people to learn about my food, and I think working in a restaurant grants more opportunities for people to get to know about it than working as a Private Chef

I think hard work is a fundamental factor in this career. My satisfaction in cooking is the pleasure of my diners; it is to add to their lives in the experience, flavors, aromas, and textures."


"This is my first job inside a kitchen. I used to be a housekeeper in a big hotel chain.

I can’t tell you it is an easy job, but walking up and down seven floors while cleaning the mess in different hotel rooms, especially in Miami, was pretty high-demanding.

I feel much better here! I got my station cover, and when I don’t have anything to do, I can learn something new in the kitchen. I believe that after years, I have found my place; now, I'm planning on attending a Culinary School and becoming a professional cook!"


I’m Cuban-born. I came here as an 8-year-old with my immigrant parents.

I went to culinary school in 2016; from there, I went straight to Zuma, started from the bottom, and became the Sous Chef in two years. I remained there two more years as Sous Chef, and then I moved up to open EST.33, a new concept here in Miami. Smoked and Thai Fusion. Now I’m here with Chef Ray working on this beautiful Asian Mediterranean food.

I think Fusion is the future because, throughout all of civilization, we’ve been pretty much eating the same thing in every place. Now, with the power of the internet, people have so much culture and understanding of food that they’re developing combinations— to create new dishes, new flavors, new colors, and things that you’ve never seen before.

Zuma was very Chef-driven and corporate, which is vital to learn. You must understand the corporate side. When you go to a small restaurant that is more Chef-driven, you can step away from the business and worry more about the culinary side and your creativity. This industry is both a business and art.

Here, now I have more time to create, more time to work on details. In corporate restaurants, Most of the work is done by the corporate chefs instead of having the people in the restaurant create the dishes.

In the future, my plan is to open my own restaurant where my name is going to be remembered for 100 years after I die. It’s going to be a family-owned restaurant and because of my Cuban ancestry, I’d like to create some Caribbean and Asian fusion.


I’ve always loved the kitchen and pastries. My mom cooks divine and everything I know I’ve learned from her.

My story starts when I wanted to make my boyfriend a gift and I asked my mom to help me make tequeños (a fried, breaded cheese stick typical of Venezuela). When he received the gift, he told me they were delicious and that we could make money with them because it was something people were missing out on.

That’s how we started @quetequenosc in Venezuela. Thanks to God and our persistence, our business grew.

Unfortunately, due to the situation in my country, I had leave behind everything I’d worked for with so much love, discipline, and persistence. I arrived at the United States with many illusions and a desire to learn more about the kitchen. Thanks to @eatpizzella I now make delicious pizzas when 3 months ago I’d never done one in my life.

I’m grateful to Larry because he taught me with much patience and dedication. He also taught me many other recipes and I love being in a state of constant learning.

Right now, I’m doing my third pastry course and soon more kitchen stuff!

Thanks to the people who share this passion with me, immigrating has been less difficult. We have lots of stories and different events each day. I’ve even burnt my eyelashes with the pizza oven for getting too close! But aside from that, I enjoy every lesson I learn each day.

I believe the kitchen is about feeling and even knowing how the climate is because that will affect how the dough works daily. It’s also about improvising and acting quickly, lots of burns and cuts, but also lots of love and satisfaction when a customer tells you they love your food and that makes me want to get better and keep learning.


I was born in Jamaica, and I’ve lived in Miami, Florida for 20 years now. I’m currently 29 years old and I visit Jamaica every 2 to 3 years.

I started culinary around 2013 here in Miami and I’ve worked at Earl’s Kitchen and Bar, Capital Grill, and Toro Toro in Intercontinental Miami. I’ve also done schooling at Florida International University where I got my Bachelor’s in Hospitality Management.

My vision is to work well as a Chef and to become a consultant in the future. I want to help restaurants better themselves and become very successful.

As for what I like to cook, I like going back to my Jamaican roots. I like oxtail, curry goat, to name a few. Within my schooling, I’ve become Americanized since I’ve cooked at Steakhouses. So, tomahawks, fillets, skirts, chucks, those are all my specialty.

Currently, I’m now getting into Asian Fusion style cooking because they are more technical based with different techniques and different styles of how they plate versus working at the steakhouse, which, not to demean it or anything, is more generic. It’s still good food, but there is more artistic flavor within Asian style, within Mediterranean style, within Caribbean style, kind of like the Eastern Hemisphere.

Daniel Andi

I'm from Indonesia, especially Central Java.

I am very proud and grateful to be in the culinary industry as a cook because cooking is an art that has no end, so you always have to explore!

The most valuable thing I learned when studying cooking is that I can do many things I have never done before, and now I am proficient. All you need is the love of being able to put your personality into all the dishes that you cook and love.

In the future, I want to be a blessing to more people through my abilities.


I was born in Long Island, New York.

I realized I wanted to work in the kitchen when I was a child watching my grandfather cook for my whole family by putting together family-style Italian plates for everyone by himself. I always gravitated toward him when he was in the kitchen, trying to sneak in and help out.

What motivates me most to remain in this industry is knowing the best is yet to come. Also, the people and community push me every day to get out the bed and cook. People wait in line for our food. It’s on their mind all day. To have a positive effect on someone through food is a blessing.

The kitchen has taught me dedication, sacrifice, and work ethic. Do what you love, love what you do. Also, do it right or do it twice.

I advise future chefs that are starting today to keep pushing. There are many ups and downs in this industry. If the kitchen life is something you really want, just keep going. Always try new things, ask questions, and find a good mentor.

Photo by @52chefs


My journey into cooking started in my adolescence because I didn’t like anything else. Honestly, I didn’t think I was good at anything. I didn’t like the conventional careers, except for mechanics, I tried my luck in two universities, but it just wasn’t for me. I began studying Business Administration just to
please my family but halfway through the career I realized that cooking was path. Knowing that, after graduating I started studying culinary.

I began working for free for other Chefs and little by little I learned. Since then, I haven’t stopped. So far, I’ve been cooking for 12 years. It’s what makes me happy.

My decision to make pop ups was born from my desire to have my own restaurant. To have my own place where I could create and do my own thing. Even though I worked for other Chefs and learned a lot, I realized I needed something that was for me and that no one could ever take away. When you’re a Chef for a restaurant you might be able to create and do things but at the end of the day, the restaurant isn’t yours. Everything you do—the praise, the money—all of it stays there.

I didn’t have the money to open my own restaurant, so I decided to start small. I had doubts, I didn’t know what to do, but I had a good friend from childhood who’s a Chef. He was a pro making arepas and with the whole topic of corn and he inspired me to do something with corn. No one was doing it here and I thought why not? Why not recover the real way of doing the arepas from my Venezuelan heritage.

I started investigating and testing the corn, making tests, and wow! Incredible! I knew I needed to show others in Miami, the whole of Florida, the people from the United States what a real arepa was, even to remind the Venezuelans.

So, I went for it. I started making the arepas. The journey has been hard. At the start, there were days where I only sold one arepas. There were other days where it rained, and I got soaked. But I didn’t let that bring me down. The days things didn’t go well, I would always say it didn’t go that bad. I would tell myself that it wasn’t bad, that it went well. We learned, we met new clients. It went well.


"I was born and raised in Huntington Beach, California- where I am lucky to still call my home.

My love for food began at a young age with my mother. My earliest memories are sitting on the counter and learning from her. Being taught the "family recipes" and learning that food is what nurtures the soul. Food is the focal point of my family and everything we do. Events, holidays, birthdays, you name it- my family puts food and the power it has to feed the soul, first and foremost. Now, being a father to my five-year-old daughter, I feel responsible to pass down the love and passion I have for food to her. It’s my turn to return the favor and instill the same recipes and memories that I had for food at that age. I want her to know that this isn't just a job, but a burning passion. Being a chef isn't something you just wake up and choose to do. I believe it’s something that is inside of you. And it's my responsibility as a father and chef to build and nurture her relationship with food the same way my family did for me.

It was the support of my family that brought me to the kitchen. As a senior in high school, I felt lost and had no clue what the future held for me. One thing I did know for sure was my love for food and the burning desire to learn more about it. I spent months with my mother practicing my classic French cuts and decided to enter into a knife skills competition. After surprising myself and winning, the rest was history- I was hooked.

What continues to drive me is the fact that no one day is ever the same as a chef. I get excited to see what every day in this industry holds. Seasons change, I encounter new ingredients, I meet new cooks; every day is a new day to learn something new and evolve. We should never feel stagnant. And there is no better feeling than feeding someone's soul and mind. As a chef, I feel it is our job to invoke emotions through food. Food is so powerful and can not only feed your stomach but your soul as well. "