Mario Tolentino has been named chef de cuisine at the highly acclaimed BLT Steak at The Betsy-South Beach. Tolentino (32), whose resume includes stints at numerous fine dining meccas, including Michelin 2 star Aqua, was a recent winner on the Food Network’s popular cooking competition show, Chopped. Prior to relocating to Miami to assume his current position, he was the executive chef at Juliet Supperclub in New York.
"We are excited to welcome Mario to the talented culinary team at BLT Steak," enthused The Betsy Hotel’s general manager Jeff Lehman. "He has the extensive fine dining savvy required to execute the acclaimed modern steakhouse menu created by Laurent Tourondel, and at the same time, his innovative approach to cuisine will be showcased on the restaurant’s daily blackboard menu."
Tolentino, a San Francisco native and graduate of the California Culinary Academy is no stranger to Miami – he got his start in the business working at the Coral Gables Mobil 4 star Norman’s (now closed) under the tutelage of one South Florida’s most renowned chefs, Norman Van Aken. Since that time, he’s crisscrossed the country, working in some of the nation’s top kitchens under chefs including Michael Mina and Laurent Manrique; exploring Catalan cuisine in Barcelona and developing his own personal chef business in Hawaii. From there, the chef relocated to New York, cooking at the Plaza Hotel’s Oak Room and Juliet Supperclub. Now, he’s excited about the opportunity to become part of Miami’s evolving culinary scene.
"I’m looking forward to delivering the consistently great steakhouse cuisine that has earned BLT Steak its standing as one of the top restaurants in Miami," offered Tolentino. "I can’t wait to get to know the local and regional farmers and immerse myself in the chef scene in Miami. Like most chefs my age, I’m a big proponent of fresh, seasonal ingredients and I plan to support local providers as much as I can."
Diners can expect the same top quality cuts of beef, seafood and signature sides to remain on the beloved menu, while the restaurant’s daily blackboard specials will reflect Tolentino’s unique, globally influenced cooking style.
BLT Steak at The Betsy is located in the lobby of the stylish boutique hotel at 1440 Ocean Drive on South Beach. Telephone: (305) 673-0044; www.thebetsyhotel.com/dining/blt-steak.