Dining with Barbi

Ecuadorian Sushi Chef makes a splash at this Five Star Resort


At the Ritz Carlton in Bal Harbor, Miami Beach, Fernando Vargas, is an Executive Sushi Chef. At the age of 18, he left Ecuador to move to the US to study Business Administration, but found his true passion in the kitchen.

” I had the opportunity to work at a Japanese place here in Miami, it was a sushi bar. I started as a dishwasher and moved on to be a server, food runner, and then they gave me a part time as a sushi prep. With time, I fell in love making sushi.” says Chef Fernando.

Fernando loves to include passion fruit, mango and avocado into his dishes. The South Beach Sushi Roll has its pop of South American flavors with fresh salmon, tuna, yellowtail, jalapeño and the chefs tropical homemade sauce.

The Chef also says, “Many of our guests are looking for Peruvian and Japanese fusion but I’m from Ecuador so I mix the Ecuadorian and Japanese cuisine together. We have to be creative as Chefs.”

South Beach Sushi Roll

The great part about this Sushi restaurant is you can sit outside, relax and enjoy your food and drinks by the pool while the kids are splashing away.

Speaking of drinks, they also offer delicious tropical drinks like this bubbly Agua Fresca made by Argentinian Mixologist, Ezequiel Doe.

Agua Fresca

Ezequiel says, “One of my favorite drinks and also very popular here is the agua fresca. Which is made with fresh watermelon, fresh cucumber, fresh mint, and lime juice. We top it off with handcrafted gin and when you put it all together, it’s extra special.”

Fernando has been working at the Ritz Carlton for over 5 years and says they have become his family. He wants everyone to know that even if you come from a modest background, you can work your way up with hard work and you can implement your food style in fine resorts like the Ritz Carlton.