Behind the Line: La Marea at the Tides South Beach

Categories: Behind the Line
Jacob Katel
La Marea's executive chef, Gonzalo Rivera, in the kitchen.
Chef Gonzalo Rivera says Miami is on its way to becoming a real food city. The well-traveled Michael Mina protégé from Northern Cali says, "Homestead is the new California."

Rivera is from Chico, "about an hour north of Sacramento, a real small town." But after graduating from California Culinary Academy in San Francisco, going from line cook to sous chef at Michael Mina Restaurant, touring the country training chefs, and running the show at Nemi for four years in the Polanco district of Mexico City, he has now made his home in Miami.

Rivera is the new executive chef at La Marea restaurant at the Tides
Hotel on South Beach (1220 Ocean Dr., Miami Beach). He says, "My grandma lit the
fire for this -- she's the inspiration. I used to just watch her cook. My
family moved here from Mexico, Michoacan, in the '60s and harvested all
up and down the California coast.

"When I was about 23, I was running an auto upholstery shop with my uncle. I had a couple of buddies -- Robinson Lando and Jimmy Medina -- who were like, 'Let's go, let's get out of here. You can go to culinary school in San Francisco,' who I owe the world to because if I didn't listen to them, I'd still be in Chico doing nothing."

Grilling tomato and onion for mole sauce.
Chef shows one of the dried chile peppers he will use to make chocolate mole sauce, a Mexican specialty.
Some of the freshly oven toasted ingredients for chocolate mole sauce include cinnamon stick, garlic, and sesame seeds.
Chocolate for mole sauce.
Colorado Rack of Lamb - cinnamon and dried bing cherry quinoa salad, stuffed zucchini blossom with goat cheese, dark mole sauce. $32

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