Arturo Paz joins the Lobster Bar Sea Grille team as Executive Chef and brings a rich and diverse background and a passion for good food. Born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Executive Chef Arturo Paz came to the United States at the age of 17 after being accepted at Cornell to study architecture. However, finding winter in New York unbearable, Paz transferred to Tulane University in New Orleans, a move that would propel him into some of the most respected kitchens in the country. Paz spent his days at a drafting table at Tulane’s school of architecture and his nights working as a prep cook at Commander’s Palace under Chef Emeril Lagasse and Jamie Shannon in the late 1980s when Creole Cuisine was first entering the national spotlight. But Paz’s passion for cooking didn’t end when he earned his degree in architecture, and several years of quietly designing buildings for an architectural firm left craving the excitement of the line.
Paz decided to pursue his passion and set his sights on Miami, an international food capital, where the familiar Latin American ingredients of his youth were mainstream. “Chefs were coming from all over the nation and using ingredients that I grew up with but elevating them to the level of fine dining. It was incredibly eye-opening.”, Paz recounts. His passion for cooking only grew as he moved to several acclaimed restaurants, taking on greater roles with each move, and eventually earning the position of Executive Chef at BANG in South Beach. For Paz, each move represented new learning opportunities, and he attributes much of his success to his passion for learning, a quality shown clearly by his decision to formally study cooking at Johnson & Wales in Miami even though he already held the Executive Chef position.
After graduating from Johnson & Wales in 1993, Paz held the position of Executive Chef at nationally acclaimed restaurants like Ocean City’s Phillips Seafood, Hollywood’s Republic Restaurant & Lounge, and Miami’s Karu & Y, Baleen, and most recently Cleo. For Paz, each dish is about creation and harmony, something he learned as an architect, and with each plate you see a glimpse into Paz’s broad life experiences. For Paz, cooking represents the ultimate art form and as he explains, “It’s the only form of art that you can taste, smell, see, and feel.”
Paz credits his original love of cooking to his grandfather, who loved cooking and would clip recipes from magazines and newspapers and paste them on index cards. Paz still has that box of index cards today. When he isn’t in his chef whites, Paz can be found spending time at the beach with his wife Stephanie and son Arturo.
A glittering restaurant in the heart of South Beach, Lobster Bar Sea Grille showcases world-class seafood, prime steaks, and unparalleled service in a vibrant, up-scale setting.