By Santi Cardona
Pubbelly Sushi (8970 SW 72nd Pl, Kendall) is one of my personal favorite restaurants. If you’re familiar with the Miami dining scene, then you surely know about Pubbelly Sushi as well. The sister restaurant of the iconic Pubbelly, whose first location was opened in South Beach back in 2010, is an Asian-inspired gastropub where notable chef and restaurant owner Jose Mendin adds his hispanic flare to approachable and non-fussy food. Now, Chef Mendin and his partners have expanded their sensational sushi concept to Kendall. Yes, Kendall. And in the heart of Downtown Dadeland, no less, which has become the home for a bunch of notable Miami restaurants such as Ghee, Harry’s, and Barley (another Santi favorite).
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.
By Mitchell Nover, Melanie Galarce, Santi Cardona, Monique Gonzalez, and Mahogani Jones
Despite the fact that the South Beach Wine & Food Festival has been held in Miami for 16 years now, it hasn’t always represented the local chefs, restaurants, and flavors that our city has to offer. In recent years, however, we’ve noticed a shift towards the highlighting of more of the best and brightest of the South Florida foodie community. Never has that been more evident than this year’s Festival. Instead of events being all about Food Network stars, most events are now fronted by our local culinarians with the celebrity chefs playing the role of supporting players. And, you know what? It’s a beautiful thing.
Add to that the expansion to more neighborhoods and communities off of South Beach and the growing number of “unofficial” ancillary events, and it seems that SOBEWFF has officially gone local. With so much ground to cover this year, here at MMTM Headquarters we also felt the need to activate part of our own local team of foodies to help us cover multiple aspects of the weekend’s activities. The below is a team-effort recap of our 2017 SOBEWFF experiences. We hope you enjoy our take on the 2017 South Beach Wine & Food Festival!