Chefs named at new Miami restaurants Centro Taco, Laffa Mediterranean and Zest

Chefs James Seyba, Danny Ganem and Mike Frischetti

Three restaurants set to open in the coming months in downtown Miami have appointed chefs to lead their kitchens. They are: 

Centro Taco: Branching out from N.Y.-style Chinese (Blackbrick) and L.A.-style street food (Sakaya Kitchen), chef-owner Richard Hales will open a Mexican-style taco shop in July at 125 SE Third Ave.

At the stoves of Centro Taco will be chef de cuisine James Seyba (pictured, left). He had been chef of 27 Restaurant & Bar in Miami Beach when it received a 3.5-star review last fall; more recently he had joined the team of the new Cena by Michy’s in Miami but left before the restaurant’s opening this month.

Hales says he was impressed by Seyba’s melding of far-reaching cuisines with local sensibilities at 27 and hopes the two of them can translate that into tacos.

“We’re coming into the taco trend with the idea of giving it a true Miami style,” Hales says. “How can we fit Haitian influences and Cuban influences into our food, and do it in a real way, not a fusiony way? That’s our goal.”


Laffa Mediterranean Kitchen: The new fresh-casual concept from the My Ceviche team of Sam Gorenstein and Roger Duarte has tapped chef Daniel Ganem (pictured, center) to run the show at 1250 S. Miami Ave. 

Ganem’s cooking at Restaurant Michael Schwartz at the Raleigh Hotel earned a 3.5-star Miami Herald review in 2013. He then left that post to be chef de cuisine of the nearby BLT Steak at the Betsy Hotel, where Ganem had previously been sous chef under Gorenstein, pre-My Ceviche.

Ganem and Gorenstein join forces again as partners at the new Laffa, which has pushed back its projected opening to August.


Zest and Zest Mrkt: When Cindy Hutson and Delius Shirley of Coral Gables mainstay Ortanique on the Mile open their new restaurant and market this fall at 200 S. Biscayne Blvd., chef de cuisine Mike Fischetti (pictured, right) will be the day-to-day kitchen chief.

Fischetti, an Ortanique veteran, joined the team in 2008 as a sous chef in Coral Gables, working his way up to executive chef of the restaurant’s Grand Cayman location.

He has been chef de cuisine of Ortanique on the Mile since February, and Hutson says she will hand him the keys to Zest, where he’ll work closely with her on menu development, specials and other operational aspects.