Chef Roberto Dubois —
Vagabond Kitchen and Bar
Chef Roberto Dubois became passionate about food by learning to cook from his grandmothers and working as a teenager in his father’s restaurant. He learned the art of butchering and the finer aspects of organic gardening, which led him to later open his own restaurant. He enrolled in culinary school in El Salvador where he graduated as Valedictorian of his class. After graduating, Chef Dubois traveled around the world learning different types of cuisines, continuing to gain experience through stints at restaurants like Juvia, Makoto, Juniper on the Water, Klima, and Azul at the Mandarin Oriental. Since June 2016, Chef Dubois has brought his talent to Vagabond Kitchen and Bar, where he focuses on giving guests quality food with the freshest ingredients and aims to enhance the MiMo district with amazing food, drinks and ambiance.
We’re officially in to Week 2 of 2017, but we’re not quite ready to say goodbye to 2016 just yet and are taking one final chance to reminisce about our “Year in Food” in 2016. In looking back at some of our best bites (and sips) across Miami this past year we’re adding in a few more opinions this time around, with some favorites from our new contributing writers as well. 2016 was a great year of growth for us here at MMTM Headquarters and we couldn’t have done it without them. We’re excited to let you get to know them even better in the year to come. And, of course, we couldn’t do any of this without you… Thanks, as always, for following along on our foodie adventures.
Zia Yusuf is the co-founder and co-CEO of Velocity, the leading premier digital hospitality service providing users with direct access to a curated selection of the world’s best dining experiences. Originally established in London in 2014, the mobile app is now dually headquartered in New York and has expanded to several other cities in the U.S. including Los Angeles, San Francisco and Miami.
Prior to Velocity, Yusuf was an executive director at Goldman Sachs. His experience as a valuable member of the equities department provided him with the skills to identify key ingredients that make successful business and how to enhance their bottom lines.
Yusuf currently spends his time in between London and New York. We recently caught up with him to learn a little more about Velocity and why he set his sights on the Miami market.
Tatiana Nessier, Brand Ambassador & Sommelier, Alamos Wines
Tatiana Nessier was born in Northern Argentina’s remote and breathtaking Salta region, well known for its concentrated wines and rugged landscape. Partway through her university studies is when her passion for wine took root, and what began as a casual interest in the topic soon blossomed into an all-consuming course of study. Tatiana stepped away from her formal university coursework for two years to dedicate herself to sommelier studies at the Escuela Argentina de Sommeliers, where she learned the science of deductive tasting and mastered subject matter covering global wine regions, varieties, classic producers and trends. In 2012 she began working with the wines of Catena in Mendoza, hosting trade guests at the winery, and today represents Alamos wines at home and internationally.
After living and traveling in many places, Tatiana finds her current home in Mendoza—overlooking the spectacular Cordón del Plata with the Uco Valley just beyond—the perfect place. She enjoys gathering there with friends for asado, traditional Argentine BBQ, with which she frequently pairs Alamos Special Selection Malbec. When cooking, another favorite pastime, Tatiana likes making empanadas salteña, a classic dish hailing from her homeland which finds a terrific accompaniment in the crisp, refreshing character of Alamos Torrontés.
Jeff Latulippe, Co-Founder & General Manager, DIRT
Jeff is a former Wall Street private equity executive and a health enthusiast who after embracing a healthy lifestyle lost a third of his body weight. After years of helping others successfully grow their business, he got the entrepreneurial bug and decided to pursue his passion of healthy eating with his own venture. We met Jeff a few weeks back when we dropped by DIRT to check out their much talked-about menu. He was attentive and incredibly detailed about DIRT’s seasonal menu, locally sourced ingredients and nutritional value. He’s one of the reason we love coming to DIRT so much and why we approached him about participating in our Tastemakers series.
Read more to learn about the DIRT menu from the founder himself in the interview below. You’ll discover what talent he’d most like to have and why pizza makes the top of the extravagance list.
Adam Garfield, Co-Founder & CEO, SpeedETab
Born and raised in Miami, Adam is a University of Florida alum that moved to Boston for work in the corporate finance sector. Frustrated with poor customer service at bars and restaurants, Adam and his co-founder, Ed Gilmore, set out to build SpeedETab in late 2013. As CEO, Adam oversees and directs the overall management and strategic responsibility for the company as well as operational, staffing, and fundraising efforts.
Julia Ning, Chef/Owner, Station 5 Table & Bar
Chef Julia Ning’s affinity for the culinary arts was forged in the kitchens of her grandmothers, as a young girl in Boston, Massachusetts. Of Chinese and French-Canadian descent, it was alongside her Chinese grandmother, “Ngin Ngin,” that Julia learned her undying hospitality. She would watch in awe as “Ngin Ngin” transformed her kitchen into a non-stop hub of cooking and entertaining for the Chinese-American community in Boston. It was at the knee of her French Canadian grandmother, “MeMe,” that Julia discovered her love for braising, charcuterie, and pickling; and experienced the consuming comfort, warmth, and love that can exude from a home cooked meal. With the help of “Ngin Ngin” and “MeMe,” Julia developed a passion for artfully seasoned and creatively executed comfort food.
Wolfgang Birk, Executive Chef, Area 31
Wolfgang Birk joined Area 31, a Kimpton restaurant, as executive chef in August 2013. A nationally accredited culinary expert with strong ties to the south Florida community, Birk brings his European training, vast international knowledge of sustainability, finesse with local ingredients and passion for vibrant, healthy cuisine to the kitchen of Area 31.
Sara Liss is a Miami-based freelance journalist, who has pretty much done it all. She has worked as a journalist in the Middle East, reporting for the Associated Press Jerusalem Bureau and Time Out Istanbul, she was the co-founder and editor for UrbanDaddy Miami, and she regularly contributes articles related to the Miami dining and design scenes to local and national publications. She has been published in Miami Modern Luxury, 944 Magazine, The Miami Herald, miami.com, Florida Travel + Life, Home Magazine, and About Travel, among others. She’s also the co-founder of the Saffron Supper Club, a roving pop-up dinner club exploring the food and culture of the Middle East.
Francisco Anton, Chef/Owner, Cardón y el Tirano
A native of Isla Margarita, Venezuela, Chef Francisco Anton moved to the U.S. when he was 16 years old. After growing up between Louisiana and earning a business degree in Orlando, he decided to follow his passion for cooking and went to live and work in NYC. After stints in Brooklyn and Manhattan, he came into his own under Maximo Tejada who taught him how to merge his flare for Latin cuisine with French technique. After a few years, Chef Anton moved to Miami and, before opening Cardón y el Tirano, worked alongside Michael Shikany at SHIKANY and was also heavily recruited to work with Alex Chang at the Vagabond. Instead of continuing on a path of working for others, however, Chef Anton decided to follow his dreams and open his own restaurant, offering a contemporary take on more traditional menus from all over Latin America.