Sam Gorenstein's Leap of Faith Has Paid Off at My Ceviche
Sam Gorenstein began with breakfast. As a kid in Barranquilla, Colombia, the chef and owner of My Ceviche would step into the kitchen every weekend morning and cook omelets and frittatas for his entire family. "From the moment I was tall enough to reach the knobs on the stove, I started playing around with cooking," says Gorenstein, now 29 years old.
My Ceviche Sam Gorenstein has been cooking for a long time.
At 14, his family relocated to Miami. When he graduated from high school, he enrolled in the business program at Florida International University. But a few weeks in, he dropped out. "It wasn't the right move for me," he says. The chef switched business for cooking and attended culinary school at Johnson & Wales University in North Miami.
The move launched a pattern of risk-taking for the gentle, sable-haired chef. And these precarious decisions are precisely what would hurl him to success.
In 2004, Gorenstein took another chance. While honing his cooking skills at school, he also worked at a French restaurant called Les Halles in Coral Gables. When Gwen LePape, the chef at the time, landed a gig in New York, he invited Gorenstein to tag along. "Within two weeks of receiving the offer, I'd already quit school, convinced my parents that it was the opportunity of a lifetime, packed my stuff, and moved to the city," Gorenstein remembers.
A few months after moving to Manhattan, Gorenstein accepted a position at Laurent Tourondel's BLT Fish -- a critically acclaimed restaurant that garnered a three-star review from the New York Times. Still, the chef aspired to something greater: a job as an executive chef.
The offer came soon. Gorenstein returned to Miami to lead a Brickell restaurant named Centro. "I knew it was my opportunity to start making my own name and push the envelope," he says. He launched a lucrative career in South Florida, which included stints as the sous-chef at Michael Schwartz's Michael's Genuine Food & Drink, chef de cuisine at Laurent Tourondel's BLT Steak, and executive chef of the Raleigh Hotel. In just a few years, Gorenstein received two James Beard Award nominations and snagged a spot in Forbes' "30 Under 30" list.