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Jim Pastor

Rusty Pelican

Born in the Big Apple and now making a splash in Miami, Chef Jim Pastor was destined to be in the kitchen. Pastor was raised by Costa Rican parents, whose love of food and natural ingredients were instilled in him at an early age. 

Pastor attended Johnson & Wales University (JWU) in both Rhode Island and Miami, learning about the different seasonal produce and cultural diversity that contributes to modern American cuisine. He graduated Cum Laude from JWU, but while still completing his Bachelor of Science degree in Food Service Management, Pastor embarked on his culinary career at The Ritz-Carlton, Key Biscayne in 2004. It was here that Pastor was part of a dynamic team that was awarded the AAA Five Diamond Award, one of only four hotels in Miami with that distinction. 

In 2005, he joined the award-winning team at Atrio in the Conrad Hotel, where the fusion of Latin and Asian flavors in his dishes won the restaurant the distinction of “Best Fusion Restaurant” and “Best Pan Asian Restaurant” by the Miami New Times in 2005 and 2006.

With a hunger to continue rising in his profession, Pastor switched coasts in 2008 to become the Sous Chef at the Hyatt Regency in Newport Beach, California. There, he oversaw the hotel’s signature restaurant and catering department, crafting new menus and improving the overall quality of food and beverage. This experience would prove vital as Pastor was asked to return to Miami in 2009 to spearhead the opening of the W South Beach and served as Banquet Chef. Under his leadership, the hotel’s banquet department was named one of the top five banquet departments throughout Starwood Hotels North America. 

After two years there, Pastor decided to return to Key Biscayne to embark on the most challenging position of his career to date — Executive Chef for the iconic waterfront destination, Rusty Pelican. Over the past six years his strong leadership and passion for innovative cuisine has been integral in rebranding the restaurant, making it one of the preeminent dining spots in South Florida.

More about Jim Pastor

What is your ultimate comfort food?I love eating a great sandwich with some spicy mustardIf you weren't a chef, what would you be?Fish and wild life officerWhat three things are always in your pantry?Garlic, white wine, and a great olive oilIf you could cook with anyone in the world, who would it be?Marco Pierre White