Food News

Ceviche Parlor's Juan Carlos Lopategui Creates Ceviche with a Twist

Juan Carlos Lopategui has a long culinary background that started back in Puerto Rico on his family's fishing boat. JC,as his friends call him, "grew up on the water sport fishing. I think that's why I am obsessed with ceviche." It's easy to become a ceviche fanatic with the fresh flavors and unique combinations he creates at the Ceviche Parlor. Be it mahi-mahi and pineapple, scallop and honeydew or a mushroom ceviche, the flavors, colors and textures all scream fresh and delicate.  A one man show that grew out of necessity has turned into a money-making business for this budding entrepreneur.

JC's resume is long and reads like that of a culinary explorer. His degree from the Culinary Institute of America landed him at Raco de Can Fabes in Barcelona, Spain. This 3-Michelin star restaurant is known for the innovative and inspiring cuisine of chef Santi Santamaria, and JC learned to combine flavors and ingredients in extraordinary ways. But after two years, the Napa Valley beckoned. A three-year stint with Sterling Vineyards not only got him lots of experience, but also an oenology and vinification degree.

Then JC made his way back to Miami to be closer to his family. A long cross-country trip worthy of the Amazing Race landed him on the steps of Nobu and then Barton G where he was allowed to put his skills to a test. "We were always looking for something unique and eye-atching," he says.

After a few years the entrepreneur inside him busted out and " I wanted to open a ceviche parlor (hence the name) on the beach." But the deal fell through. All things happen for a reason and today JC, rather than being tied to one location, beams as he tells us about the wholesale, catering and farmer's market opportunities he's created. His favorite? "I love it all, but the farmers markets are great because I get to interact with people and get inspiration for my next flavor combinations," he says while chatting, serving and selling like the ringmaster of his own personal circus. " I am working on some new recipes now- what flavors do you like?" he asks us with a wink.

You can find JC and his Ceviche Parlor at the following farmer's markets around town:
  • Saturday: Grove Glaser Organic Farms
  • Sunday: Mary Brickell Village Farmer's market, Pinecrest Farmer's market
  • Thursday: Jackson Memorial Foundation Green Market

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Christina Staalstrom