Michelle Bernstein taps Steven Rojas as Seagrape's chef de cuisine

Steven Rojas photo by Michael Pisarri.

The firepower in the kitchen just doubled at Michelle Bernstein’s new Seagrape, set to open next month in the Thompson Miami Beach.

Bernstein, whose cooking earned a James Beard Award for Best Chef: South in 2007, has tapped Steven Rojas, whose cooking earned a Michelin star in 2008, to be chef de cuisine of her latest restaurant project.

“Steven is a great fit for our culinary team because he’s not out to ‘change’ the culinary scene in Miami with his talent,” Bernstein tells Miami.com. “He’s here to do what he does best: Cook good food! I think that will really translate well and leave a lasting impression on each of our guests when the property opens.”

The two chefs are collaborating on a menu for Seagrape that will include crispy sweetbreads with confit grapes and braised chard, squid-ink spaghettini with uni and brown-butter dashi, and cooked and raw vegetables with citronette and puffed grains.  

Rojas, who nabbed his Michelin star while cooking at Saddle Peak Lodge in California, previously led the kitchens of George’s in midtown Miami and, most recently, The Island Bistro on Brickell Key. He says he’s honored to be working with Bernstein, who he called “an inspiration.”

“When I was approached by Michelle and the Thompson team to help develop the ‘Floridian brasserie’-style menu at Seagrape, it was an opportunity I couldn’t turn down,” Rojas says. “As we get closer to opening, I can’t wait to share what we’ve been conceptualizing in the kitchen with our hotel guests and South Florida foodies.”

In addition to the 267-seat Seagrape, Bernstein will oversee food at the new hotel’s 1930s House, serving a selection of crudos and tapas to complement a cocktail program by Thompson beverage director Michael MacDonnell and drinks consultant Julio Cabrera (cardamom-lemongrass daiquiri, anyone?). 

The property also features the Crown Room for classic cocktails and “a second, star chef-driven restaurant” to be announced soon.