Chef Julian Garriga At Seawell Fish N' Oyster

Chef Julian Garriga

Chef Julian Garriga

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Once you learn a little bit about Miami-based Chef Julian Garriga, it will seem only fitting that he’s the captain of the kitchen at the newly-debuted Seawell Fish N’ Oyster. As someone who counts Jacques Cousteau among his personal heroes and “Jaws” as one of his favorite films, Chef Garriga is the perfect fit for the Miami Beach seafood restaurant, a casual spot that’s already garnered serious attention. A Miami local who’s been paying his dues in the restaurant industry for over a decade, Chef Garriga is now making a splash as one of the city’s biggest and brightest culinary talents.

A Love for Cooking Honed in Kitchens All Over the Country

From a young age, cooking was a foundational part of Garriga’s family life. Early on, he learned the joy of creating delicious meals and sharing in the enjoyment that was felt around the dinner table. His very first job was as a dishwasher in a local barbecue joint, where he learned the necessity of all of a kitchen’s moving parts (and people). After spending time working in BBQ pits throughout northern Florida, Garriga stepped away from the culinary field to enlist in the Marine Corps.

Although the years following his military service would take him on various career journeys, he soon realized that his vision for his professional future centered around a single dream: to begin cooking again. In 2006, he relocated to New York City, where he graduated from the acclaimed French Culinary Institute in 2007 – a definitive contrast from the casual barbecue spots of his youth. Garriga then began building his culinary experience in The Oval Room Restaurant, a high-end, modern American restaurant in Washington, D.C.

Luckily for the people of Miami, it wasn’t long before South Florida called Garriga back. By 2008, he had returned to his home state and taken a position as a line cook at Michy’s, one of Miami’s best-known restaurants. There, he worked under James Beard-awarded chef Michelle Bernstein, and continued to expand his impressive array of culinary skills, nurturing his deep-seated passion in the process.

The next several years would see him in renowned Miami restaurants, including Area 31, Martinez, and Macchialina. With an open mind and determination to learn as much as possible, Garriga absorbed a wealth of knowledge that helped propel him to his newest role as one of Miami’s most respected culinary leaders.

Mussels
Mussels

Captaining the Ship at Seawell Fish N’ Oyster

After spending years learning from the best, Chef Garriga was ready to take the helm as executive chef at one of Miami’s newest seafood restaurants, Seawell Fish N’ Oyster. With a menu that combines creative takes on American cuisine and regional seafood favorites, the South Beach restaurant has quickly garnered a loyal following of locals and critics alike.

It’s easy to see Garriga’s influence in nearly every inch of the menu he helped create, from the rustic coastal inspiration to the delicious, no-fuss flavors. There’s no shortage of creativity either; dishes like the Crabby Patty and Everything Monkey Bread are among the fabulously fun favorites, as are Chef Garriga’s inspired takes on poutine, baked oysters, and the beloved classic, the lobster roll.

Minnow Bar
Minnow Bar

Interests as Diverse as His Culinary Talents

When asked about his favorite hangout spot in Miami, Chef Garriga can’t help but laugh – “[I have] no time to hang out these days,” he says. Considering how busy Seawell Fish N’ Oyster has been since its highly-anticipated opening, perhaps it’s not surprising that Garriga isn’t exactly overwhelmed with free time at the moment.

But when he does have a spare morning or afternoon, you can nearly always find him spending it with his wife and daughter. For a day of exploration, they’ll head to the Frost Science Museum, or even the Miami Beach Botanical Garden. When Garriga and his wife steal away for a date night, they like to relax at The Standard or sip craft cocktails like the Plátano old-fashioned at the Regent Cocktail Club. Given the opportunity, Garriga is always ready to pack up his family and hit the road, exploring America’s lesser-known towns and their burgeoning culinary cultures.

When it comes to choosing where to eat in Miami, it should come as no surprise that Garriga is always up for oysters in any shape or form. Seafood aside, he also loves pasta and what he calls “true American BBQ” – a passion that might just have been sparked by his early years spent in BBQ pits. If you’re dining out in Miami, you might just see Chef Garriga enjoying a meal of his own at one of his all-time favorites: Macchialina, Jaguar Sun, and the newest addition to his list, Society BBQ at the Citadel Food Hall.

Scallops
Scallops

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