Paula DaSilva, executive chef
Since opening 1500°, the chic farm-to-table eatery located in Miami Beach’s beautifully renovated historic hotel, the Eden Roc in October 2010 executive chef Paula DaSilva (32) has won raves for her soulful, rustic cookery. 1500° was singled out as the only Florida restaurant in noted food critic John Mariani’s annual Esquire magazine feature, “The Best New Restaurants in America 2011.” A native of Brazil, DaSilva is a dedicated restaurant professional who has called America home for more than 20 years. From her early days in Massachusetts, peeling garlic and cleaning vegetables in her family’s Brazilian restaurant, DaSilva was hooked on cooking. After moving to South Florida, her parents opened two restaurants, for which DaSilva assisted in all aspects of operations, though her favorite moments were spent in the kitchen. Following high school, Paula attended the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, from which she earned an Associate’s degree in Culinary Arts and landed a job at the nearby Harbor Beach Resort & Spa. For two years she rotated through the kitchen, fine-tuning her skills at all stations.
In 2000, at only 21, talented chef and author Dean James Max opened 3030 Ocean, the hotel’s modern American seafood restaurant, and selected DaSilva as his Chef de Cuisine. Under Max’s tutelage, DaSilva secured a reputation as one of South Florida’s future culinary stars. A few years later, the rest of the country got a sample of Paula’s aptitude when the chef appeared on season five of the popular FOX reality cooking show Hell’s Kitchen with Gordon Ramsay. There, she was regularly spared Ramsay’s wrath by virtue of her talent, dedication, passion and lack of drama or attitude, which ultimately led to her near win. Soon after the show ended, she was named “Best Celebrity Chef” in the Broward/Palm Beach New Times 2009 Best Of issue. Later that year (November) DaSilva was honored as one of Broward County’s “40 Under 40” by Gold Coast magazine. Further solidifying her success, the talented young woman scored a national commercial for the International Culinary Schools at the Arts Institute, a tribute to her alma mater. She’s also received several awards for her efforts in supporting the local community, including the prestigious Women’s Circle of Excellence award given by the Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce for her services in hospitality. DaSilva was invited to be a guest chef at the James Beard House in New York City where she shared her innovative dishes with the sophisticated palates of their members and guests, and she is a seven-time participant in the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival in Orlando, Florida.
DaSilva was instrumental in creating the concept for 1500°, which deftly blends farm-to-table and classic steakhouse cookery. To execute its acclaimed cuisine she meets frequently with farmers and fishermen to obtain the freshest of ingredients and stay in touch with seasonality and even had a vegetable and herb garden planted on-site at the hotel. And her dedication has hit all the right notes with diners and critics alike. The restaurant was voted “Best New Steakhouse” by Miami New Times and, since opening its doors, has been featured in a slew of high-profile publications including CNN.com, Restaurant Hospitality, New York magazine’s Grubstreet blog, Ocean Drive and New York Resident. Most recently, 1500° was the only Florida restaurant to be named one of The Best New Restaurants of 2011 by Esquire magazine in its prestigious annual November feature of the same name, penned by noted food and wine author John Mariani. Mariani’s selection of 1500° and executive chef Paula DaSilva reinforces what locals and visitors have been raving about since the restaurant’s opening in October 2010.