Acurio settled on Diego Oka (pictured above), a Peruvian native with Japanese roots who has worked with him for the past 13 years. Oka most recently worked at La Mar in San Francisco but previously worked at restaurant outposts in Peru and Colombia.
“Diego Oka is an incredibly talented chef, who has been a vital member of our team and a devoted contributor to the success of La Mar restaurants,” said Acurio in a statement. “Given his achievements in the international culinary scene, Chef Oka’s eclectic menu is sure to captivate the palates of local residents, visitors and food enthusiasts alike shaping Miami’s burgeoning gastronomic landscape.”
La Mar is set to open next month at the Mandarin Oriental located in the city's luxurious Brickell district. The restaurant's modern Peruvian fare will range from upscale novo-Andean fare to Asian-Peruvian fusion and traditional seafood ceviches, according to a press release.
Oka will have an opportunity to shine as the executive chef at La Mar. It remains to be seen whether he will join the ranks of other Acurio protégée's like Virgilio Martinez who branched out on his own to become an international Michelin-starred sensation.