Matt Candelaria, Sous Chef
Oceano Kitchen, Lantana, FL
What made you decide to become a chef? What is your culinary background?
My dad is a chef, so early on I would be in his restaurants and kitchens and I knew it was something I wanted to do. He flipped a pancake in front of me when I was about 5 and I was astonished.
I’ve been in the restaurant biz since I was 14. I started running food and bussing tables, but always stuck my head in the kitchen looking for something else to do. I never went to school, just learned in the field. I’ve worked just about every type of restaurant from dive bars to white table cloth.
What inspires you in the kitchen?
I get inspired by the product. When I see a fresh beautiful piece of fish or rows of greens growning or a beautiful heirloom tomato it makes me want to turn that into a dish that people will love.
What is your food crush / guilty pleasure of the moment?
I’ve really been loving the tacos from Lost Weekend lately. ‘Loko’ is doing an amazing job out there.
What’s one thing you would love for people to know about Oceana Kitchen?
I want people to know that Oceano is a fun place to try some local and unique dishes. We only have a wood fired oven and a smoker that all of our dishes come from, we source our products as close to home and as responsibly as possible, we love what we do and nothing makes us happier than seeing our customers enjoy what we have created.
What advice do you have for local aspiring chefs?
I’d tell anyone that is trying to become a great chef to work with other great chefs, you only get better by surrounding yourself with people who are better. Eat out as much as you can afford, and keep a journal of what you’ve eaten and cooked. Don’t chase money, the money comes when you put in the time. I’ve made the mistake of going where the best paycheck was and didn’t learn anything where I was.
201 E Ocean Ave, Lantana, FL 33462