In 2009, Miami born and raised Chef Daniel Bouza decided to make a change from engineering to pursue his passion and left for the culinary mecca, New York City. He attended the Institute of Culinary Education with an eye toward NYC’s famed Gotham Bar & Grill. Daniel got his wish, and locked in an externship at the famous New York spot, spending his first two months at the restaurant shelling chickpeas for no pay. Daniel then moved on to open BLT Bar & Grill in the Financial District. It was there that he met Chef Rodelio Aglibot, A.K.A. The Food Buddha. Daniel began working as a consultant with the acclaimed toque and opened multiple restaurants around the world.
After opening four restaurants in three years, Daniel decided to venture into the culinary corporate world. He accepted an offer to open Buffalos Restaurant at The Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch in Beaver Creek, Colorado, where he created and executed yet another successful menu. After a year working on the slopes of Beaver Creek Mountain, Daniel took a trip to Hawaii and was lured to stay by the beauty and magic of the island of Lana’i. During his time as one of the culinary brains at Nobu Lana’i, Daniel found a passion for Hawaiian-styled and Asian inspired foods such as the poké bowl and bao bun.
Daniel found his way back to Miami and after some time working as Sous Chef under Makoto Okuwa at the Chef’s upscale, Japanese namesake eatery in Bal Harbour, decided to concentrate on his dream project. Inspired by a tiny surf shack in Lana’i that served poké to guests lining around the block, Daniel had the idea to combine two delicious dishes – poke bowls and bao buns – and serve them in a chef-driven, fast casual environment. PokéBao is located in Coral Gables’ evolving Giralda Avenue, offering unique and inspired takes on two cherished dishes.