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Chicago Gourmet - bio: Fernando Navas
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Fernando Navas



“Simplicity is one of the hardest things to achieve brilliantly. You must have a respect and understanding for each ingredient - and allow these ingredients to speak through the whole”.                                                                                                                         - Fernando Navas 

Born in the bustling port city of Punta Alta, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Fernando Navas grew up surrounded by the warmth of family, the spirit of South America and an abundance of international influence. Inspired by his grandfather who worked as a cook in a casino for military officers, and his father who brought the entire family together for Sunday feasts, Fernando was exposed to both the rigorous pace and genuine passion of a culinary lifestyle.
“Everything was made at home on Sundays - from homemade pastas and asados to lentil stews. And, when we’d visit my mother’s family, at the foot of the Cordilleras, we would roast a baby goat over an open fire,” Fernando recalls, “Food was a celebration of being together.”
Building from this foundation of family recipes and culinary curiosity, Fernando took his career to the next level through an intense culinary training program at the Escuela de Gastronomia in Mar del Plata, Argentina. Following completion of his studies, he delved into quick pace of catered events at the posh Sheraton resort in Mar del Plata. His next move would expand both personal and geographical boundaries, making the leap to Miami and beginning his international career at Grass Restaurant and Lounge - and shortly after - Nobu Miami. It wasn’t long before Nobu, which had received much acclaim in Florida and internationally, promoted him to Sous Chef and entrusted his skill in the opening of Nobu Paradise Island in 2006.
With the energy and experience her garnered at Nobu, Fernando’s culinary career took flight. He joined the SUSHISAMBA team in New York City and, just months later, was awarded a prestigious externship opportunity at elBulli, Ferran Adria’s world-renowned restaurant in Spain. Only 50 chefs were selected from a pool of over 6,000 applicants to gain first-hand experience cooking with the master chef. Fernando cooked 12 hours each day to help prepare the restaurant’s rotating tasting menu of 36 plates. Immersed in the company of passionate cooks, and with mentors such as Oriol Castro and Adria himself, Fernando gained seminal culinary insight that he has since incorporated into the menu at SUSHISAMBA park. His dishes are playful juxtapositions of temperature, technique and color.
Today, as Corporate Chef, Fernando brings an acute knowledge of the flavors and dishes that are inherently SUSHISAMBA. His talent and insight was integral to the smooth and successful opening of SUGARCANE raw bar grill in Miami. This year, in preparation for an all-new 2011 menu debut, he will embark on a rigorous research trip to SUSHISAMBA’s countries of inspiration: Japan, Brazil and Peru to breathe new life into the brand’s culinary concept.
“I invite everyone to join us on our adventure in discovering a ‘new taste’ for SUSHISAMBA,” Fernando explains, “For me, inspiration is everywhere - from the roots and history of our cultures and the exciting twists of our travels - to those ‘everyday’ details of life that sometimes go unseen. I’m excited for what’s to come.”
Family, friends and the culinary curious can follow Chef Fernando Navas and the SUSHISAMBA Culinary Team at

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