Richard Bennett can’t help but feel like he’s been cooking his entire life. Growing up in Miami, he spent spring, winter and summer breaks working with neighbor and early mentor, Willy Flowers at his Kosher Market Place in Boca Raton, FL. These experiences taught him to love and appreciate fresh and local food.

Veteran in the industry for 12 years,...

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Richard Bennett can’t help but feel like he’s been cooking his entire life. Growing up in Miami, he spent spring, winter and summer breaks working with neighbor and early mentor, Willy Flowers at his Kosher Market Place in Boca Raton, FL. These experiences taught him to love and appreciate fresh and local food.

Veteran in the industry for 12 years, he ventured away from the culinary realm in his first several years of college at Florida A&M University, only to return to Miami with a little push from Flowers – again, joining him in the kitchen – while completing his studies at Le Cordon Bleu.

His next foray into the food world came in 2014 when he joined the culinary team at Cleo South Beach under the guidance of Chefs Arturo Paz and Danny Elmaleh. Their drive inspired Richard to work as hard as he could to use his knowledge and industry experience to become a better chef and to teach others.

As Chef de Cuisine at Cleo, Richard’s mission is to translate Elmaleh’s vision for the global Cleo brand while sprinkling in his own unique tastes and touches. His goal is to celebrate the food, the culture, and hopefully inspire others to be adventurous, learn something new, and get cooking!

When not throwing down in the kitchen, Richard spends time shooting hoops – a big sports guy – and plays chess with his three daughters and wife (his high school sweetheart!).

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