Full Circle: Student Becomes Teacher at Miami’s La Mar

La Mar by Gaston Acuiro, Instagram

La Mar by Gaston Acuiro, Instagram

Peru native and culinary mastermind Diego Oka knew at 21 years old that he wasn’t ready to be a chef. What he wanted, and needed, was a mentor to continue teaching him until he perfected his craft and could teach others.

That decision, that honesty with himself, has come full circle and led Oka to where he is today — executive chef at Peruvian restaurant La Mar by Gastón Acurio in the Mandarin Oriental on Brickell Key in Miami. The job was offered to Oka by Gastón Acurio, who he met during one of his culinary school internships.  

Now, Oka is the teacher. In this “Table 42” episode, he shows viewers how to make tuna tataki using a Japanese method — covering the tuna in salt and burning it. 

“Our menu here in Miami is very traditional,” Oka said. “We like traditional flavors, but with a twist.”