Diego Oka, Executive chef of La Mar
Why he’s in the Food 50: Diego Oka is putting Peruvian food on a pedestal at La Mar, a showstopper of a restaurant at the Mandarin Oriental in Miami. Oka, who is Peruvian-Japanese, has worked nearly his whole career for Gaston Acurio, his mentor and the prolific chef-restaurateur behind La Mar. Their relationship began when Oka, at the time a culinary student, bumped into Acurio at a supermarket in Lima and asked for an internship. It has blossomed into Acurio tapping Oka to open La Mar locations across the globe, most recently Miami. Oka has a natural skill for bringing out the best of Peru’s flavors, especially its Asian influences (his fried-rice Chaufa Aeropurto with Chinese sausage, roast pork and egg is not to be missed). Here’s hoping Acurio keeps him in Miami.
Where to find him: La Mar, 500 Brickell Key Dr., Miami.