“I’m open-minded and like to try all cuisines,” González tells New Times. “My inspiration comes from things I see, dishes I try, and from talks with foodies and other chefs. Then I combine a traditional recipe with something I like.”
The Venezuelan native moved to Miami in 2002 and started his local culinary career at the now-closed Sushi Samba on Lincoln Road, working behind the ceviche and raw bar. It was there, he says, that he learned about “the organization and meticulousness that the Japanese employ in everything they do, including the food,” and how it could be combined with Latin flavors.
In 2014, González co-founded Bocas Grill and remained a partner until January 2018, when he bought Taikin with entrepreneur Heriberto Hernandez. Together, they remodeled the restaurant and reopened it with a menu more closely attuned to González's native South America.
(Along the way, the chef has amassed an enviable following on social media: Last year, he ranked as one of the most-followed food influencers on Instagram, where he posts as @co_cinero.)
With the food menu divided into nine sections, from ceviches through noodles and various permutations of sushi rolls, guests embark on what González calls "a homage to cultural integration."
“My staff is very multicultural and I like to involve them in the creation of dishes," he adds. "It is our way, through food, to promote inclusion."
picanha-filled bao buns ($17).
Sprawling over 2,600 square feet, Taikin (the Japanese word for "fortune") evokes a casual atmosphere, with an open kitchen and a décor done in red and brown. The dining room seats 120 between its indoor and outdoor areas, livened up by rotating DJ sets.
The chef says combining different cultures through food is simpler than many people imagine. “We put one dish together, realize what we can do, and then move on to the next.”
Taikin Asian Cuisine. 7450 NW 104th Ave., Doral; 786- 814-5605; taikinrestaurant.com. Open daily from 12:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.