Food News

Bocce Bar Announces New Executive Chef; Timon Balloo at Sugarcane Full Time

Samba Brands Management (SBM) has announced a personnel change at some of its Miami restaurants.

The company, which operates Sushi Samba, Bocce Bar, and Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill, has announced that Daniel Tackett will take on duties as executive chef of Bocce Bar, replacing Timon Balloo as top toque in the kitchen.

With a major brand expansion planned for the near future, key players are being secured in key spots.

See also: Timon Balloo on Bocce Bar: "I Have a Deep Infatuation With Italian Cuisine"

That frees up Balloo, chef/partner of Sugarcane, to give his full attention to the popular midtown restaurant. Sugarcane opened in early 2010 to instant raves. In an April 2010 review, New Times critic Lee Klein called it a "great deal" and "a great restaurant."

In a city where diners flock to the next new thing and restaurants sometimes have the same shelf life of the seafood they serve, Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill continues to please. In fact, the restaurant was named Best Raw Bar 2014 by Miami New Times.

Samba Brands Management CEO and founder Shimon Bokovza says, "We are excited to welcome Daniel to the SBM family."

Bokovza also explains the strategic personnel move. "With that same enthusiasm, we are excited for Timon [Balloo] to return to Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill and give his full attention to the kitchen while working on some exciting plans for the restaurant group's growth." A source called Balloo "the heart and soul of Sugarcane."

Chef Tackett has an extensive resumé, with tenures at some of the best Italian restaurants in New York City, including Alto, where he worked as executive sous-chef under James Beard Award winner Michael White.

Tackett then spent time in the kitchen of Scarpetta New York before working with White again at Marea. The chef, who now brings his talents to Miami, attributes the success of his dishes to two concepts -- keeping ingredients at the forefront and using the overlap in flavors to give simple food dimension. Tackett is looking forward to cooking and learning in Miami, saying, "I can and will spend my entire life exploring and looking to grow."

Bocce Bar opened in December 2013. The restaurant, which boasts barrel-aged negronis and its own bocce court, was named Best Restaurant in Midtown 2014 by Miami New Times. The chef plans to rework the menu, although those changes haven't been announced yet.

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Laine Doss is the food and spirits editor for Miami New Times. She has been featured on Cooking Channel's Eat Street and Food Network's Great Food Truck Race. She won an Alternative Weekly award for her feature about what it's like to wait tables.
Contact: Laine Doss