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Justin’s first foray into the culinary arts was through the world of pastry having been influenced by his mother and her Mexican heritage which is known for vibrant ingredients and traditional preparations. Justin enrolled in the Wilton Baker’s Master Course in cake decorating at age 15 and was hooked leading him to find out about the programs offered at Johnson & Wales which helped Justin realize that cooking for a career was possible. After attending J & W in Miami, Justin’s career began working under one of Miami’s most iconic chefs, James Beard award winner Michael Schwartz at Michael’s Genuine. Justin then went on to work as the Pastry Chef at Meat Market, a restaurant known for their sexy, modern twist on the traditional steakhouse concept. Justin soon was ready for the challenge and switched over to the savory side of culinary working as a Sous Chef at Boxpark on Brickell before moving up to New York City in 2013. After arriving in New York, he began his tenure as sous chef at the Michelin-starred and James Beard awarded restaurant, Public under the direction of Brad Farmerie.
Justin came onboard to lead the culinary direction at Fox Lifestyle Hospitality Group where he currently serves as Executive Chef for White Oak Tavern, the newly opened Street Taco and the soon to open The Rag Trader (Fall 2017). Justin prides himself on innovative market fresh menus that pull from various childhood influences from Florida and Mexico. Justin is always educating himself on techniques, up and coming farms and using the most local resources available here in NYC.