The chef, who had moved to New York to pursue a culinary career, was found unresponsive in his apartment, according to his longtime friend and mentor, Jose Mendin. An official cause of death has not been announced.
Pubbelly's Mendin, who met Concha when they opened the original Nobu Miami together in 2001, called Concha his brother. "He was a true cook. He wanted to be at the stove all the time."
Mendin said the two lost touch for a while but reconnected right before Pubbelly (now Pubbelly Noodle Bar) opened. "He disappeared, but when I was about to open Pubbelly, he said there was no way I was opening a restaurant without him — even if I gave him a job as a dishwasher."
Mendin did one better, hiring his old friend to work alongside him. "When we opened, it was me, Sergio [Navarro], and myself in the kitchen. He was one of the most passionate food people I've met in my life."
Concha went on to work with Mendin at several Pubbelly (now Food Comma Group) ventures, including PB Steak and PB Station, where he served as executive chef.
Funeral services for Concha were already held, but Mendin is planning a memorial gathering November 8. The event, held at Pubbelly Noodle Bar from 7 to 11 p.m., will help raise money for Concha's family.
Pubbelly Noodle Bar. 1418 20th St., Miami Beach; 305-532-7555; pubbellyglobal.com.