Miami's Top Ten Chefs
6. Kris Wessel
Kris Wessel, chef of Florida Cookery at the James Royal Palm Hotel.
Frogs' legs, alligator empanadas, and grilled squab breast are all staples at Kris Wessel's Florida Cookery at the posh James Royal Palm Hotel. But Wessel didn't always run a ritzy SoBe kitchen. For years, the chef owned Red Light Little River, a dingy yet charming restaurant on Biscayne Boulevard. At times, the service staff was composed of Wessel, a dishwasher, and a single waitress. After closing Red Light, the chef opened Florida Cookery. There, the local cuisine is inspired by a late-'40s pamphlet about Sunshine State cooking that belonged to his grandmother. Florida Cookery is more than just a restaurant; it's a symbol of a chef's dedication to our state's native cuisine.
5. Sam Gorenstein
billwisserphoto.com Sam Gorenstein brings fresh fish to Miami with My Ceviche.
Sam Gorenstein is only 29 years old, but that matters little. Even if he were older, his resumé would still be impressive. His history features stints under Laurent Tourondel in New York and Michael Schwartz in Miami, a post as chef de cuisine at BLT Steak, a nomination for James Beard's Rising Star Chef of the Year, and a position as executive chef for the Raleigh Hotel. In 2012, though, he gave it all up to open a seafood shack next to a hostel in SoFi. Since then, My Ceviche has triumphed due to its fresh, affordable fish. Gorenstein is scheduled to open a second location in Brickell. (Additional locations will probably follow soon.) For ditching haute cuisine for tacos and ceviche, and for his remarkable talent, this chef is number five.
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