Chef Michael Beltran
Born and bred in Miami, Chef/Owner Michael Beltran of Ariete, was raised in a traditional Cuban household surrounded by a family that took great pride in their heritage. Some of his fondest childhood memories were spent around the dinner table, where his family gathered every night for a home-cooked meal. A football player since childhood, Beltran attended Averett University in Virginia as a student-athlete, where he studied Criminology and worked part-time as a dishwasher at a local restaurant. His experience at the restaurant ignited his passion for the hospitality industry, and he realized he wanted to recreate the same family-friendly atmosphere in a restaurant of his own someday.
Beltran first learned the ins and outs of the restaurant industry at Casa Juancho in Little Havana, a Miami institution, as a bartender, then line cook. From here, the budding chef accepted an apprenticeship under Mango Tree Gang member and founding father of New World Cuisine, Norman Van Aken. Under his tutelage, Beltran learned the basis of fine dining, gaining firsthand experience from one of Miami’s greatest culinary icons. His determination and perseverance to keep moving forward eventually earned him the title of Sous Chef at Tuyo. He then accepted the opportunity to hone his skills alongside the opening team of Michael Schwartz’s Cypress Room.
It was during his time at Cypress Room that Beltran’s desire to open his very own restaurant took root and resulted in the inception of Ariete. The technique-driven, fine-dining Chef left Cypress Room to nurture his own brainchild, a quaint, New American style eatery in Coconut Grove. Since opening in 2016, Ariete has established a name for itself as one of the city’s most dynamic concepts. Here, Beltran creates innovative dishes that meld the flavors of his Cuban upbringing with New American cuisine. The ever-evolving menu reflects the bounty of each season and the boundless energy of his own creativity. Ariete has garnered rave reviews and collected an impressive handful of accolades like Eater’s “Restaurant of the Year”, Miami New Times “Best New Restaurant,” a feature in Bon Appetit magazine and in The New York Times.
A true jack-of-all-trades, Beltran can be found creating something new in the kitchen, running his notorious PIG Inc. apparel line, tackling industry topics on his podcast, “Pan Con Podcast,” or seen all over the Magic City partaking in community events to raise awareness and elevate Miami’s culinary scene on a national and global scale. Beltran is among a group of talented young chefs who are redefining the next era of Miami dining. At Ariete, the talented toque continues to raise the bar with his inventive cuisine as he aims to leave a lasting impact on the Magic City’s culinary landscape.
Chef Justin Flit
South Florida native Chef Justin Flit of Proof Miami and the highly anticipated Navé, boasts an impressive resumé with over sixteen years of experience in the industry. With an early introduction to the culinary scene, Flit was exposed to the ins and outs of a restaurant kitchen at the ripe age of eighteen. His unwavering passion and steely resolve allowed him to quickly rise through the ranks and create a name for himself in the Magic City.
A graduate of the famed French Culinary Institute in New York City, Flit has worked under several esteemed chefs including Daniel Boulud, Michael Mina and Oliver Saucy. After his stint in NYC came to an end, Flit transferred back to his hometown to continue working for Chef Michael Mina at his Miami outpost of Bourbon Steak. From there, Flit started as a line cook and worked his way up to Sous Chef before eventually relocating to San Francisco to assist in opening yet another Bourbon Steak. Upon his return to Miami, Flit accepted the Executive Chef position at Bourbon Steak.
Finally, Flit was ready to embark on his own venture and opened Proof – a neighborhood wood-burning pizza and pasta eatery in Midtown Miami. After its shutter, Flit reunited with an old friend, Chef Michael Beltran, and accepted a position alongside Beltran as Sous Chef at Coconut Grove eatery Ariete.
Soon after joining the Ariete team, Chef Flit re-opened Proof, a now permanent pop-up inside Taurus Beer & Whiskey House. At his new home, Chef Flit continues to raise the bar, taking the team to new heights with his inventive but comforting cuisine.