Chef Nelson Fernandez, a beloved chef who worked at some of Miami’s best restaurants, has died.
The 44-year-old chef died on April 5. His family did not want to discuss the details.
Fernandez was born in Bogotá, and he learned his love of fruits and berries early from his native Colombia. The chef, who committed himself for life to the pursuit of learning about food, began his career in London. There, when he was twenty, Fernandez trained with several hard-working chefs, including Jamie Oliver.
Fernandez’s career took him to Canada, where he worked in several kitchens before being given the role of head chef indoors Nyood Restaurant and Salon in Toronto.
Fernandez moved to Miami in 2014 to run a kitchen in Byblos on South Beach. There he created a menu inspired by the eastern Mediterranean and the Maghreb region in northwest Africa. Fernandez also went on to study culinary arts, earning the title of Certified Executive Chef from American Culinary Federation and served as assistant dean of the Cordon Bleu School of Culinary Arts in Miami.
In the middle of a pandemic, Fernandez opened up Kitchen Tour, a Mediterranean restaurant in Coral Gables. The chef parted ways with the restaurant and created several tasting meals before his death Capricorn, a cheese factory and a restaurant that will soon open in Miami.
His sister Angela Fernandez recalls her passion for cooking. “Nelson put all his heart into everything he did,” she says. “His goal was to reach the very top of the culinary world. He wanted to earn a Michelin star and was working hard to make his dream come true.”
He describes his brother as a beloved family man who loved his daughter (25) who lives in Colombia and his niece. “My daughter loved him so much. It’s very difficult.” Fernandez, according to his sister, also cared deeply for his employees and colleagues. “He was very demanding but a good boss. He supported his people and was very honest. In return, people loved and respected him.”
She believes she will remember him most for her love of food and passion to share her talents with the world.
“Nelson tried to delight everyone with his food,” she says. “That was his life. When he cooked, he was happy. He was in another world.”
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