Chef Masamoto Hamaya —
Dragonfly Izakaya and Fish Market
Chef Masamoto Hamaya was born and raised in Japan. He went to college in Arizona, but returned home to Tokyo to go to culinary school. He came back to the United States to embark on an impressive culinary career: Hamaya was Head Sushi Chef at Uchi, James Beard Award Winner Tyson Cole’s restaurant in Austin, Texas, and he has played key roles as Executive Chef at Ozumo and Executive Sous at the Michelin starred Ame in San Francisco.
Welcome to this week’s edition of Foodie Friday! We’re so excited that the weekend awaits and that we’ll have some down time to relax and eat at leisure. Maybe we’ll make a beach visit and odds are we’ll be cheating on our diets a time or two. April is slowly coming to an end and the summer feels like it’s just around the corner. Do any of you have any fun summer plans? Apart from eating tons of ice cream, we’ll be working on a few fun things we can’t wait to share with you over at MMTM. In the meantime, we leave you with a few fun foodie links from around the web. Enjoy!
Chef Jose Mendin —
Founding Partner & Chef,
The Pubbelly Group
As the child of “food enthusiast” parents and a great-grandmother who was a cooking instructor, Chef Jose Mendin was born into a heavy food culture, though it wasn’t until he went off to college and needed to prepare his own meals that he realized his adoration for cooking. To that end, Mendin left his home in Puerto Rico to go to cooking school at Johnson & Wales University in Miami. After graduating in 2001, his continued passion for food and learning carried him into an extremely successful career. He was part of the opening team at Nobu, Miami and later Nobu, London, and used these foundational Asian influences to parlay the opportunity into a job at SUSHISAMBA Miami. After two years, he was appointed to Assistant Corporate Chef, overseeing all of the brands U.S. locations, which included the 2008 opening of the award-winning SUSHISAMBA, Las Vegas at the Palazzo.
While recognizable U.S. concepts like Mosaico adorn Mendin’s resume, his pursuit to learn in an international kitchen is perhaps what he regards as most influential in his culinary training. Stages in Spain, working under chefs like Jesus Ramiro and Juan Pablo Felipe, were creative processes that forced him out of his comfort zone and later played a role in the menu development at Mercadito, as opening chef of their Chicago and Miami outposts. While in Spain, he worked in Michelin-starred restaurants, cooked for the prince of Spain, and learned how to revitalize ancient recipes, by maintaining the integrity of a dish’s roots and infusing it with modern touches.
Today, Mendin is a hometown hero in his native San Juan and adopted Miami. Alongside his business partners Sergio Navarro, Andreas Schreiner, and Juan Fernando Ayora, he has taken numerous culinary concepts to critical acclaim and has been a recognized semi-finalist of the James Beard Foundation’s “Best Chef South” for five consecutive years from 2012-2016. When not in the kitchen, you’ll find Chef Mendin spending time with his fiancé Ali and his two sons, Ian and Noah.
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.