ANGEL LEON, EXECUTIVE CHEF
Leon was born and raised in Miami from Cuban descent. His interest in culinary arts sparked while working in Cuban bakeries during his adolescence. In his early twenties, Leon work under renowned Miami, French Chef, Pascal Oudim, where he gained a foundation that helped him expand his creativity and build new expertise in the culinary arts.
Leon was part of the opening team with Michelle Bernstein for Azul Restaurant at the Miami Mandarin Oriental Hotel. In 2009, he lead the opening of Sugarcane Restaurant in Miami, as Chef De Cuisine with Chef Timon.
His experience created the perfect foundation to join the team at Seaspice. His ability to modernize classic dishes with new gastronomic techniques has surpassed expectations through their taste, presentation, and variety.
BENJAMIN GOLDMAN, CHEF DE CUISINE
Goldman, never had childhood aspirations to become a chef. In fact, similar to most chefs his memories extend back to his mother as the most influential person in his cooking career. Goldman professes a love for his mother’s famous braised brisket with sweet prunes and potatoes. Goldman has always had a fond appreciation for food and attributes his travels as inspirational and life changing experiences pursuing cooking as a career.
Goldman began his studies at University of Central Florida studying molecular and micro-biology. Little did he know his studies would come full circle when he joined the Clio/Uni team as an apprentice, where the basis of the food created would thrive off manipulation of ingredients using scientific transformations. He graduated from Johnson and Whales University (2010) in Miami and began his career under the direction of Chef Andrea Curto-Randazzo at her long-standing Talula restaurant. However, the Florida native was intrigued by the seasonality of the northeast and when his request to stage at Clio under the tutelage of Chef and Restaurateur Kenneth Oringer was accepted, off he went. Oringer owned five of the city’s most acclaimed restaurants and took a swift liking to Goldman, and within days he was offered a job at the brands sister concept, Uni.
He quickly found himself consumed by the kitchen, as an apprentice at Uni under Chef Chris Gould. He recounts the obvious, that he worked hard, but was most appreciative of the experience to hone in on proper techniques and the combination of flavors.
Inspired to branch out and a true Floridian at heart, Goldman returned to Florida in 2012 to work at a small fine dining concept called The Hunter’s Grill. Starting as a Sous Chef and later promoted to Executive Chef for the brand, he most enjoyed creating the restaurants’ seasonal menus. Goldman found a fondness in the freedom of expression the daily special gave him – the dish a paradigm for his surroundings and state-of-mind.
In 2013, when a position at the soon-to-be-open Shikany restaurant presented itself, Goldman jumped at the opportunity. Goldman has been with the Seaspice team since November of 2014. He brings his global influence and knowledge of food to all of his dishes.
JILL MONTIOLA, PASTRY CHEF JILL
Montinola attests that cooking is in her blood; through the use of three distinct senses – taste, sight and smell – she produces desserts that are as delicious as they are soulful. Her cross-continent experience affords her a greater understanding of the fusion of cultures and cuisines.
Montinola’s sweet imagination started with a first lesson in the kitchen of her childhood home where she was the “official taste-tester” of her mother’s prized desserts. Having grown up in the Philippines, she recounts the kitchen being a place of family togetherness.
Montinola started her culinary career at New York Restaurant, Sushisamba, in 2003 followed by a relocation to Las Vegas (2005) to learn from 20-year Alain Ducasse-veteran, Pastry Chef Frédéric Robert, at Okada and Wing Lei Restaurants at the Wynn Resorts. In 2008, it was with excitement that she returned home to SUSHISAMBA to open their Las Vegas location in The Shoppes of The Palazzo as head pastry chef. Continued growth with the brand brought her to Miami (2011), where she became the Regional Pastry Chef for Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill and Sushisamba.
In November 2015, Montinola started working as the Executive Pastry Chef at Seaspice. She has stood out with her exquisite desserts, one of her most popular desserts is the Ganaja Chocolate Cremoso. This dessert was inspired by childhood nostalgia, an epitome of a delicious and creative combination of sweet, salty, creamy, and crunchy textures. The Guanaja Chocolate Cremoso has dark chocolate cremeux , cocoa mib crumble, seaweed snow, and toasted rice mousse.