Brian Nasajon, Executive Chef/Owner, Beaker & Gray
A Miami native, Brian Nasajon was born into a family where a love of food and an appreciation of culinary arts were household values. Exposed to global flavors as a young boy, Chef Nasajon’s favorite memories include observing his grandfather’s every move as he expertly grilled asado – a staple of any Uruguayan household.
Chef Nasajon was pursuing a degree in Philosophy at New York University when he decided to officially embrace kitchen life and left school to begin his true vocation. After a one-year apprenticeship at Lure Fishbar in Manhattan, he returned to Miami in 2009 where he got his first paying job as line cook at Wish at The Hotel of South Beach. Chef Nasajon would go on to fill the role of sous chef and chef de cuisine before moving on to join SUSHISAMBA in 2011 as executive sous chef of their Miami Beach location. He eventually became cxecutive chef of both SUSHISAMBA locations in Coral Gables and Miami Beach before deciding to go out on his own.
Now, backed by the support of his family, Chef Nasajon embraces a new role as chef/owner of Beaker & Gray in Wynwood. With complete creative control, his vision is to offer diners elevated global dishes in a fun, approachable environment. The concept focuses on an ingredient-driven menu and global dishes with unique spins.
What is your favorite thing about living in Miami?
Ev.Ery.Thing. The weather, the people, the culture, the growing trends. I was born and raised here, so seeing its transformation for the last 30 years has been pretty amazing.
What are the staple ingredients in your pantry?
Too big a list to mention all! My musts are sugar, white distilled vinegar, and garlic. These gems work so well as enhancers. They essentially give body and balance to almost any dish without compromising its integrity. I left salt out because, duh.
If you had to pick one food item to best describe yourself, what would it be and why?
I am without a doubt a pickled chili. Or at least I really want to be identified as one! It’s sweet, acidic, spicy….literally throw it on anything and make it better.
Who is your biggest culinary inspiration?
This may be too common of an answer, but I have to say Thomas Keller. He’s been at it so long, and I’m still mind blown at everything he does.
Other than your own, what are some of your favorite bars and restaurants in Miami right now?
I love Hy Vong (small Vietnamese hole-in-the-wall), The Broken Shaker, Alter, and looking forward to the all the great things still to come.
What are your favorite and least favorite food trends right now?
The element of surprise through simplicity to me is very important. Giving someone a simple dish while introducing a new, but not overwhelming take on new flavor profiles can make a dining experience really fun and exciting. That said, while I tremendously respect innovation, sometimes using too many ingredients and flavor profiles can overwhelm a palate and lend for a confusing meal.
If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
Grilled skirt steak, sea salt, bread. Cuz who needs more?
What is your all-time favorite food/cocktail pairing?
Maybe because it’s the culture I was raised around, but scotch on the rocks and some good ol’ BBQ always does it for me. But I guess BBQ would go well with anything.
Describe the Beaker & Gray menu in three words.
Surprising, elegant, approachable.
What can we expect to find on the Beaker & Gray menu?
Shrimp and chorizo churros, fried bread with guanciale and castelvetrano olives, and sushi rice risotto with clams and uni butter are a few of the things I want everybody to try.
You’ll be participating at FLIPANY’s Chefs Up Front event on September 18th. Why did you decide to get involved and what can diners expect from you?
From my past experiences doing this event, I’ve found the attendees all are looking for a unique dining experience. It gives me a chance to really push my boundaries and give adventurous diners a chance to try really cool things. Plus, it’s not every day you get to talk to people about your food. As a chef, it’s really great to get to interact with the people trying your food.