The founder of Night Owl Cookie Co. was named one of Forbes' "Top Young Chefs in the Nation" at the magazine's annual Under 30 Summit.
Thirty chefs, each one a past Forbes "30 Under 30" honoree, competed for prizes in four categories: "Sweet — Judges' Pick," "Sweet — People's Choice," "Savory — Judges' Pick," and "Savory — People's Choice."
Gonzalez, who was inducted into the "30 Under 30" family in January 2017, won the judges' hearts this year. Last year, he nabbed the people's choice prize in the same competition.
The judges — Boston Urban Hospitality chef/owner Chris Coombs, Sweetgreen CEO Nicolas Jammet, Forbes editor Randall Lane, and South Beach Wine & Food Festival founder Lee Schrager — were presented with Gonzalez's Miami-centric creations. They included the Plantain Papi, a plantain-and-Nutella cookie topped with a Nutella drizzle; and the Ave Maria, made with guava, Maria cookies, and white chocolate chips.
To finish the presentation, Gonzalez handed each judge a cookie shot — a chocolate chip cookie shaped like a shot glass and filled with Havana Club rum.
On the heels of the win, Gonzalez plans to open two additional Night Owl Cookie locations. A Wynwood shop is slated to debut in the next six months across from Britto Central on NW 25th Street. The 2,000-square-foot shop will also include a 1,200-square-foot patio. Says Gonzalez: "This will be even larger than the current shop we have." He doesn't want to divulge exact details yet, but he says the Wynwood spot will be more than just a place to get cookies.
He also plans to expand into Broward with the opening of a Pembroke Pines store next summer. The cookie entrepreneur is deciding between two prime locations.
Gonzalez says of his sweet success: "To be honest, a couple of years ago I dropped out of college to bake cookies, and people thought I was crazy. I'm just thrilled by how far we've come in such a short time."
To celebrate, Night Owl will offer complimentary Plantain Papi cookies all day Monday, October 8, at the SW Eighth Street shop. Simply show the Night Owl Instagram post of the Plantain Papi to receive the freebie.
Night Owl Cookie Co. 10742 SW 24th St., Miami; 786-282-7864; nightowlcookieco.com.