Miguel Aguilar

In the summer of 2011, Miguel Aguilar was appointed to helm the kitchen at Goldman Properties’ artistic Miami dining destination, Wynwood Kitchen & Bar (WKB), by co-owners Jessica Goldman Srebnick, and her partner and dad, Tony Goldman. Born in Venezuela, Chef Aguilar came to WKB from Philadelphia, where he served as executive chef at Doug Rodriguez’ Alma de Cuba; catering chef for the venerable Stephen Starr and opening chef for El Rey Restaurant, dazzling Philadelphia’s food enthusiasts with his vibrant Nuevo Latin flavors and flawless cooking technique. For Wynwood Kitchen & Bar, he has created a new menu and concept, incorporating great ingredients, superb technique, and the subtly layered Latino flavors he loves. Aguilar graduated from Walnut Hill College in Philadelphia with a degree in culinary science in 2003; he also received a Bachelor of Arts degree in architecture from Universidad de los Andes, in Merida, Venezuela, in 1994. A native of Venezuela, when he was ten years old his family relocated to Philadelphia where his mother earned her master’s degree. His family returned to Venezuela in the early ’90s, and he worked for a tourism company, providing tours of the local farmer’s markets. Here, the vibrant, natural produce beckoned him and he began preparing family meals using the finest produce available, perfecting classic Latin dishes and improvising on his own. He loved his time in the kitchen and recognized this was his natural career path. With that in mind, in the mid-90s he moved back to Philadelphia to pursue his dream, earning a culinary degree while working part time at a variety of neighborhood restaurants, learning every aspect of the business. He evolved into a fine chef, landing a gig in 1999 as a line cook for Philadelphia restaurateur Derek Davis, owner of the acclaimed restaurants Sonoma, Kansas City Prime and Arroyo Grille. From 2001-2005, he was chef de cuisine at Alma de Cuba, where he supervised kitchen operations under the watchful eye of chef/owner Doug Rodriguez, and served as the restaurant’s executive chef, from 2006-2008. From 2008-2010 Aguilar was event catering chef for the legendary Philadelphia restaurateur Stephen Starr and part of the opening team for El Rey restaurant. At Wynwood Kitchen & Bar, Chef Aguilar is showcasing his take on global small plates with an innovative Latino spin, using exquisitely fresh local and organic ingredients and French technique. “Working with fine ingredients and making each dish vibrant and memorable, is what I’m about,” says Aguilar.

More about Miguel Aguilar
What is your earliest memory involving food or wine? One of my earliest food memories, that certainly shaped my path as a chef, was when I first moved to Venezuela in 1991. I went to a local market and immediately my senses were overwhelmed by the color and vibrancy of the fruits and vegetables. This being a third world country, the fact that produce is naturally organically grown had to do with how beautiful and delicious the produce was. It left a big impression on me, which has become part of how I approach cooking-only using the best and freshest ingredients. My favorite SOBEWFF® memory is: My favorite memory from SOBEWFF was in 2013. I had the opportunity to go to an event where Michael Syman was the host. Getting to meet him was great, as I find him to be one of the most funny and outgoing chefs out there. If that wasn't enough, after meeting Michael Syman, I turn to the right and see Gordon Elliott, whose various food shows I've been following for years. Being able to talk to Gordon about Follow that Food, a favorite show of mine, was surreal. Another charity/non-profit cause important to me is: No Kid Hungry If I could collaborate with anyone in the world on a project, it would be: I would like to collaborate with Albert Adria. The restaurants he is rolling out each have a different cuisine but they all have a small plates concept like we do at Wynwood Kitchen and Bar. Since we fit a similar mold I feel a collaboration between us would be amazing. I never leave home without my: game plan for the day.