Two of downtown Miami’s hottest new restaurant openings, Marion, a Mediterranean restaurant and open-air market, and El Tucán, a modern-day cabaret reinvigorating the old dinner and show concepts of Havana, Cuba, have announced the appointment of culinary extraordinaire Jean Paul Lourdes as their executive chef. Lourdes brings with him an impressive culinary pedigree, having worked at three-star Michelin restaurants in Paris, Tokyo, London and Hong Kong. He will oversee all aspects of the menus for both Marion and El Tucan, from ordering the finest ingredients and products from a variety of purveyors to conceptualizing the presentation of the dishes.
“Jean Paul Lourdes is a seasoned chef who has worked at some of the most revered restaurants in the world,” said Michael Ridard, COO of MR Hospitality, the company managing both restaurants. “His unique background, extensive culinary experience and worldly travels shine through in his food and will set the tone for both establishments. He has tremendous talent and we are proud to have him on our team.”
Prior to joining Marion and El Tucán, Lourdes worked in culinary research in New York with restaurateur Stephen Starr and in various capacities for the luxury group Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts. He has also worked at several reputable restaurants around the globe, earning himself a collection of rave reviews from The New York Times, Forbes and The Star Ledger, to name a few. One of his proudest moments in his career was being invited to cook at the James Beard House in New York and also at their annual Chefs & Champagne event in the Hamptons.
Before beginning his culinary journey, Lourdes explored the world of science, completing his bachelors in biochemistry from the University of Paris XI and working five years in the fragrance industry in France. During this time he began to discover a hidden talent for cooking, and decided to pursue a career in the culinary world by receiving a dual masters degree in Food Science and Nutrition from the University of New South Wales in Australia.
Lourdes gleans inspiration from various avenues including Mother Nature, the world of haute couture fashion and his travels. He is heavily influenced by fashion renegades, such as Alexander McQueen, Jeremy Scott & Issey Miyake, for ideas on colors, composition and texture of dishes, even once creating a dish entitled “Savage Beauty” paying homage to McQueen.
“It is a pleasure to join the Marion and El Tucán teams,” said Chef Jean Paul Lourdes. “It is an exciting time in Miami; it has been going through a cultural renaissance over the years and food has been at the forefront with a variety of international cuisines exploding in the city. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to be able to make my own mark on Miami’s burgeoning culinary landscape and bring my own ideas and creations to life.”
Marion will be a breezy Mediterranean sit-down restaurant and market offering food and products of the highest caliber handpicked by Chef Jean Paul Lourdes. Upon entering the charming and expansive establishment, there will be beautifully arranged hanging breads, elegantly arranged pastries on an open-air counter, charcuterie station and a cafe. Once inside, patrons can either choose to sit down and dine on exquisite Mediterranean fare or grab-and-go one of its savory rotisserie chickens or its variety of pastries and other gourmet food items. Complemented with superb service, Marion combines a Mediterranean restaurant atmosphere with a traditional European market ambiance bringing a wholesome and healthy dining option that Miami foodies will enjoy, whether they are there to shop or simply dine.
El Tucán will be a place like no other, transporting revelers to the bygone era of glitz and glamour that is a new modern-day cabaret. Located in Brickell, the venue will feature a range of musical styles from Afro-Latin to Parisian pop, bringing international DJs and emerging acts to center stage and creating the ultimate nightlife experience. In addition to an eclectic musical lineup, El Tucán will house a resident 12-piece orchestra, carefully curated by Grammy award-winning pianist, composer and producer Marlow Rosado, that is reminiscent of the big bands from the jazz eras of the 40s and 50s. Food will also be a mainstay at El Tucán, featuring lux libations and Caribbean and South American fare that will include hints of Amazonian ingredients created by Chef Jean Paul Lourdes. The intimate, theater-style venue will also be open late night so partygoers can continue fêting after-hours.