CHEF ALAN HUGHES

 

Argentinian-born Chef Alan Hughes (48) is more than just a classically–trained, seasoned restaurateur and private chef with over three decades of culinary experience.  The versatile culinarian has honed his skills in kitchens worldwide, cooked for celebrities and world leaders including Nelson Mandela and Rigoberta Menchu Tum,  developed an online culinary curriculum for an international cooking school and contributed to award-winning cookbooks. In 2016 he closed the quaintEuropean restaurant--  The Embassy, (short for The Embassy of Wellbeing and Debauchery) located in the northern end ofMiami’s Design District.  Here, the charming and hospitable chef worked his magic out of a miniscule kitchen for a nightly parade of grateful diners. 

Passionate about food and cooking since childhood, Hughes began an apprenticeship with one of Argentina’s most distinguished chefs, Francis Mallmann, at age 18. Under Mallmann’s tutelage, the young chef explored haute-cuisinecooking techniques which sparked his passion for food and a desire to learn and explore more.

After a short season in restaurants in Madrid, Hughes relocated to New York in the late 1980s to attend culinary school and after graduating from the French Culinary Institute (now the International Culinary Center headed by Jacques Pepin) in 1989, he began his career in some of the New York City’s most acclaimed restaurants including The River Café, Bistro du Nord, Follonico, Audrone's,  Sarabeth’s  and the Union Square Café.   He also enjoyed a stint as private chef at the New York City mayoral residence, Gracie Mansion, where he cooked for former New York City mayorsEd Koch and David Dinkins as well as a slew of dignitaries including among others Nobel Peace Price Nelson Mandela.

A change was in order and in 1994,  Hughes relocated to Miami to work at Italian favorite Fellini (since closed) before signing on as opening pastry chef at the award-winning Nemo Restaurant on South Beach, from 1995-1997. 

 

The travel itch set in again and it was off to Mexico where he became the executive chef at El Sibarita in Posada del Tepozteco, an exclusive small hotel in Tepotzlen catering to diplomats and movie stars. Hughes remained in Mexico through 2002, when he returned to Miami with the intention of opening his own restaurant.  He found a great space on a side street in what was then an area featuring very few restaurants, Miami ‘s Design District.  One Ninety, a quaint 40 seat restaurant, became a gathering spot for Miami’s arts community, with great music,  a reasonably priced menu featuring fresh organic product, fantastic ambiance and fantastic food. The restaurant moved several times – first to the Albion Hotel on South Beach and then to Little Haiti, before closing doors in 2008.

 

In the years to follow, while continuing a career as a successful production caterer and private chef, Hughes operated a guerrilla underground restaurant, and began his relationship with Citi Church Miami’sHigher Ground, a community outreach program in Allapattah, working to help underprivileged children receive a culinary education, as well as providing networking and employment opportunities.   In 2007, Hughes was asked to contribute his recipe for fennel bisque with aged goat cheese toast for the French CulinaryInstitute cookbook The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Cuisine; one of only a handful of students who were approached.   The cookbook went on to win a James Beard Award in 2008. 

Hughes also completed an online series for Yahoo en Espanol entitled Cook N’ Rock where he empoweres bachelors how to entertain and learn how to prepare delicious yet easy recipes. 

 

The Embassy of Wellbeing and Debauchery (a.k.a. The Embassy) – debuted in November 2012 and closed it’s doors in March 2016. The laidback, contemporary American gastro-pub in Miami’s Buena Vista neighborhood had a menu that changed weekly and featured composed plates as well as Pintxos, Basque-style tapas.  Menu mainstays included cod cakes with aioli, sunflower seed-crusted salmon with bok choy and caramelized onions; and roasted tomato and goat cheese phyllo tart. 

Hughes’ most recent venture All of The Above an online cooking show in his youtube channel Chef Alan Hughes is due to be launched anytime soon.