By Mae Velasco, Custom Content Editor
This isn't the first time we've seen SUSHISAMBA on Foodable, and it won't be the last, especially now as that the newly appointed Executive Chef Cesar Vega is putting his creative culinary spin to this restaurant's already unique offerings. With each bite, guests aren't just enjoying flavor — they're enjoying three. Japanese, Peruvian, and Brazilian influences all fuse together for a one-of-a-kind experience at SUSHISAMBA.
Vega is just as charismatic as his hometown of San Juan, Puerto Rico, and relocating to the colorful and culturally rich Miami, Fla., only added to his vivacious personality and drive. As the only son in a huge family (growing up with five sisters must have been fun), his passion for cooking was ignited at a young age by his parents and siblings. Family has always been at the heart of his cooking, and to this day, he continues to create more than dishes in the kitchen — he creates new memories and aspirations.
From starting off as a server and gaining customer experience knowledge during his time at front of house, he made his way to the burners and climbed the ranks at Deering Bay Yacht and Country Club, where he was mentored by Chef Paul Gjertson. After eight years of refining his meticulous and clever work ethic, he opened his own restaurant called Komaki Sushi & Thai. Five years later, he sought a new challenge and joined the SUSHISAMBA team as chef de cuisine. From there, as they say, is history.
What makes Chef Cesar Vega tick? Read more and learn about what he had to say when we asked him six, quick questions.
The Quick Six
Foodable: Best time management tip?
Cesar Vega: As executive chef, you must lead by example. Every day in the kitchen is different. Whether it’s taking on a new challenge, reacting under pressure or demonstrating a technique, your team is expecting you to show them what a good leader would do.
Foodable: What's the most important lesson you learned (good or bad) in your first year of owning a restaurant?
CV: Your kitchen team becomes your family.
Foodable: What's your guiltiest culinary pleasure?
CV: Eating Cuban-style cheese flan at 3 A.M. with a Coca Cola.
Foodable: Who is one person you would love to cook for (that you haven't already)?
CV: One of my role models, Chef Alex Atala.
Foodable: What do you think is the biggest misconception about your role?
CV: Many believe that right after culinary school, chefs have enough knowledge to run a five-star restaurant. The years, the tears, the sweat and the passion are missing from this conception.
Foodable: Favorite kitchen hack?
CV: Using perforated pans and hotel pans as a steamer for my famous steamed buns.