SUSHISAMBA Coral Gables Executive Chef David Sears
"As chefs and artists, we have the ability, and honor, to work with the greatest medium in the world: food. A musician plays a sonnet and it may be beautiful, but you can only listen to it. A painter paints a gorgeous portrait and despite its beauty, you can only look at it. Food on the other hand, has the ability to touch every sense!"
Executive Chef David Sears brings energy and charisma to SUSHISAMBA's newest location in Coral Gables at the Westin Colonnade Hotel. Born and raised in Nassau, Bahamas, Sears grew up within a stone's throw of the freshest seafood. At the ripe age of 5, he prepared his first dish for his mother, fondly recalling that "while it was inedible, the love and adoration I received for try-ing had me hooked." While Sears had an early passion for cooking, he never conceived that he could do what he loved for a living. Before putting on his toque blanche, he earned a degree in Aerospace Engineering and Business Management from Georgia Institute of Technology. Number equations and calculations came easy to Sears, but he found them uninspiring. It was Sears' fa-ther, who changed his son's life through a simple piece of advice: "there is only one difference be-tween a job and a career: a job you do, a career you live."
Following this epiphany, Sears pursued a career as a chef, seeking the gratification and in-tensity he had always felt behind the burners. He entered the Culinary Arts program at the prestig-ious Johnson & Wales University, where he received a formal education in cooking techniques and preparation. Shortly thereafter in 2000, Sears accepted a private position as a personal chef for the former Mayor of West Palm Beach, Patricia K. Pepper, while simultaneously starting a per-sonal catering company: Davinity by David. After a year of success, Sears was ready for his next challenge. He began working for the Ritz Carlton in Key Biscayne as Garde Manager Sous Chef, supervising all kitchen affairs and preparing smoked products, pts, rillettes, terrines and charcu-teries on a daily basis. At the Ritz, Sears met two of his greatest mentors, Andrew Litherland and Jeffrey Vigilla, whose individual passion for cooking and appreciation for kitchen camaraderie be-came models to which Sears would aspire.
Inspired by the scale and refinery of 5-star hotel dining, Sears moved to the Mandarin Oriental in Washington, D.C., where he quickly climbed the ranks from Garde Manager Chef to Chef de Cuisine at Caf MoZu, an Asian concept with European and Mediterranean influences. There, he collaborated with James Beard winner Eric Ziebold and Christian Schmidt, who demon-strated the importance of being not only being a chef, but also a businessman. Returning to Florida in 2006, Sears became the Chef de Cuisine at Ginn Reunion Resorts. As a partner in the open-ing of The Grande Hotel and Forte fine-dining steakhouse, he managed purchasing and food cost, while overseeing the kitchen. In 2010, Sears accepted an Executive Chef position at The Waldorf Astoria in Orlando. At The Bull & Bear, he received numerous awards and accolades, including two AAA Four Diamond Awards for 2011 and 2012 and the approval of Paul Bocuse, the founder of the most prestigious award for chefs in the world: the Bocuse D'Or. Prior to moving to SUSHISAMBA in 2013, Sears was a private consultant for luxury resorts and clubs, while working as Chef de Cuisine at Temple Orange, a "farm to table" experience, in the Ritz Carlton West Palm Beach.
As Executive Chef of SUSHISAMBA Coral Gables, Sears' expertise, precision and passion complement the brand's unique blend of Japanese, Brazilian and Peruvian cuisine. Since joining the team in 2013, he has welcomed the opportunity to adventure into new culinary terrain, devel-oping a robust lunch menu in addition to signature dishes. His appreciation for the restaurant's inventive culinary approach, from the diverse flavor profiles to the playful presentations, has won over the palates of South Florida diners and inspired many of his daily specials, including Warm Escargot served with manchego infused oqui, black garlic, hon shimeji mushrooms and uni cream or the savory Seared Hotatgai Scallops with roasted heirloom cauliflower, braised unagi, shaved fennel, and white chocolate velvet.
Learn More About David Sears
What is your earliest memory involving food or wine?
My earliest memory of food was me at 5 years old trying to make brownies for my mother. Worst brownies on earth, but the reaction from my mom is what inspired me at such an early age to pursue the culinary field.
If you've participated in the Festival before, what is your favorite SOBEWFF memory to date?
SOBEWFF 2015 Grand Tasting Village was a great experience. From the support of the staff to the energy in the crowd, definitely a positive and memorable moment.
If you could cook with anyone in the world, who would it be?
I would love to cook with Rene Redzepi. I feel his approach to food and more importantly his integrity for the product he utilizes speaks volume. Many chefs these days lose sight that something died, whether it be a plant or an animal, in order for us to create something beautiful. Pay homage to that product's life by respecting how it is handled, prepared and presented.
I never leave home without my:
I never leave home without my knives. Our knives are the tools of our trade. How good of a carpenter would you be without a hammer and a saw........ not very good.