Miami’s Spicy Chefs

Rocco Carulli, R House

Rocco Carulli, R House

r house

R House

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By: Ian Maloney

For the nation’s LGBTQ community, summertime means one thing: PRIDE! Greater Miami and the Beaches is marking more than 50 years of Pride by highlighting the culinary genius of two chefs that call the region home. Make sure to check them out, your taste buds will thank us later.

Rocco Carulli, Executive Chef –
R House

Chef Rocco’s parents come from Puglia, at the southern tip of Italy. “Food and gastronomy have always played a huge role in my life,” says Rocco. “From my mother I learned about fruit and vegetables perusing the local markets and from my dad I learned my butchering skills,” he adds. The influences of his Italian heritage can be seen in the R House menu. As a young adult, Rocco started his career in accounting and banking, but soon realized that he couldn’t stay out of the kitchen. After spending some time on the New York and San Francisco restaurant scenes, he settled down in Provincetown, Massachusetts where he owned and operated a restaurant called Edwige At Night for 13 years.

After many visits to Miami, Chef Rocco decided he wanted to open a new venue that would be open year-round, in contrast to the seasonal business of Provincetown. To our luck, he came across Wynwood and immediately knew that he wanted to be part of the Wynwood movement, and what was an empty warehouse was transformed into R House. “It is so exciting to be part of the cultural, artistic and gastronomical explosion that the neighborhood has become,” says Rocco.

R House opened in January 2014 and, soon after, its Drag Brunch was born. “What makes our drag brunch so special is that we not only have a huge LGBTQ following, but an equally enthusiastic straight customer base also,” says Rocco. R House is a place where everyone comes together to kick back, indulge and be entertained. 

Chef Alex Rodil, Chef/Owner - On the Fly

Chef Alex Rodil has made a name for herself as she has risen through the kitchen ranks. This Cuban American, true blue Miami native has really found her niche after taking on the Food Network’s “Chopped,” as well as “Cut Throat Kitchen.” She also spent a year on the high seas working as a personal chef on a yacht. She operates On The Fly, where she continues her work as a private chef at private events throughout the region.

When asked about how she got interested in cooking, she mentioned that she’s been reading cookbooks and trying new recipes on her family since she was little. “I think I've always been interested in food and cooking. I can remember back to when I was younger, buying little simple cookbooks and trying those recipes out on my family. I must have been about eight or nine years old. As the years went by, I started to develop my own cooking style, swaying away from the traditional Cuban food and heading more into the realm of other cultures. I started my career, actually, a little late in the game. I finally decided to go to Culinary School back in 2007 at the advice of another chef friend, who had noticed that I had some real interest in cooking for others. Now, my favorite dish to make has to be my short ribs—they are rich and homey, but refined and elegant. I put a few spices in the braising liquid and freshen it up with citrus zest that ends up balancing the dish so beautifully. I also love that it's one of my favorite cooking methods, the slow and low. You can give a lot of TLC when you're developing and building layers of flavors over hours.”

These days, Chef Alex is marching to the beat of her own drum and she loves every minute of it. “I'm a private chef now and so I have the luxury of being able to work in kitchens that actually have windows and beautiful views. When I'm on location doing a gig, it's great to get out and explore the area. When I'm home, I like to actually be low key and spend time with family and friends usually eating, it’s so much fun. I still love the feeling of finding a great place to eat. I did say I'm a bonafide foodie, right? I love to find the dives and eat the food the locals make. There is no better way to learn authentic cuisines then watching how others make their dishes come to life. Here in Miami, I would say Dragonfly Izakaya & Fish Market in Doral is amazing. Also, I love Beaker and Gray in Midtown. The great thing about Miami is that amazing food is all around.”

Check out Chef Alex on Instagram or for inquiries, drop her a line at

When it comes to creativity and originality, Miami stands at the vanguard and Chef Rocco and Chef Alex are really representing the LGBTQ community as they lead us into a future that is sure to be delicious!

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