If you’re under 30, Forbes magazine thinks Miami is a great place to get your start.
Two Miami restaurant owners were named to Forbes Magazine’s 30 Under 30, an annual list of the country’s top young talent that “continues to spotlight the impressive, the inspiring and the [genuinely] enviable.”
This year, David Foulquier, 27, owner of Fooq’s restaurant in downtown Miami, and Amanda Pizarro, 25, co-founder of Wynwood’s Salty Donut, were named to Forbes’ 30 Under 30 in the category of food and drink. The publication chooses 30 individuals in 20 different industries, including food and drink, for a total of 600 new names to know.
“This is a big deal for me,” said Foulquier, a University of Miami graduate. “This is such a boost for my restaurant, for my staff, for my team. I’m really proud to be part of this list.”
Pizarro founded the Salty Donut in 2016 with her husband, Andy Rodriguez, and, together with former pastry chef Max Santiago, brought Miami its first gourmet doughnut shop. Their treats drew lines down blocks in Wynwood when they were still selling their fancy confections out of an Airstream-style trailer.
The lines haven’t let up since they opened a permanent location in the Wynwood Arcade or after parting with their founding chef last spring. They were selected to be part of the South Beach Wine & Food Festival and won the Cooking Channel’s Sugar Showdown last year.
“What sets our doughnuts apart from other artisanal doughnuts is that each one is a little work of art,” Pizarro said. “It really takes a pastry chef to put our doughnuts together. I think that’s what some other cities are missing.”
Fooq’s, the name taken from Foulquier’s nickname, earned a three-star (Very Good) Miami Herald review shortly after it opened in 2015 with chef Nicole Votano at the helm. It seamlessly integrated American, Italian, French and Persian comfort food, a nod to Foulquier’s Persian mother and Parisian father. And it hasn’t dropped off despite having three different head chefs.
“David Foulquier is the one you want on your team. He’s the guy I’m guessing was always picked first in gym class. No wonder: He’s smart and funny and confident,” Herald dining critic Victoria Pesce Elliott wrote in her 2015 review of Fooq’s. “Like Fooq himself, there is nothing phony or self-conscious about this place. And when looking for a spot to eat in downtown Miami, I pick Fooq’s.”
Last year, Andrew Gonzalez, who founded a late-night cookie delivery company in western Miami-Dade, earned the 30 Under 30 honor.
Lee Brian Schrager, founder of the New York and South Beach Wine & Food festivals, nominated both 2017 winners and sat on the selection committee. Chef Christina Tossi, founder of New York’s beloved Momofuku Milk Bar, and Forbes editor Randall Lane whittled down tens of thousands of selections that came from Forbes reporters and editors, judges and the publication’s online community, according to the site.
The winners are more than just good at what they do. Forbes also looks at their business model, their books and their potential for growth as entrepreneurs, Schrager said.
“Forbes is looking at whether they have path: What’s next? They’re always looking for growth,” Schrager said.
For Foulquier, that will be a high-end, eight-seat Japanese restaurant in Manhattan, his hometown, with younger brother Josh and Tokyo chef Nozomu Abe. The restaurant, named Sushi Noz, is being built piece-by-piece in Kyoto and was recently delivered to New York, where it will be reassembled by Japanese master builders for its late-February or early March opening.
Pizarro said Salty is looking to streamline their doughnut-making process so they can “copy and paste it to other cities,” such as New York, where the shop is holding a pop-up Saturday in Manhattan’s Brookfield Place. “I think they’re ready for something better,” she said.
“This gives us the confidence to keep going with this. I think this solidified for me how important Salty is to the community, to Miami, even the country.”
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