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Marco Ferraro

Marco Ferraro

The cream of the crop knows the best places to work, and the best places to work are those that seek out and nourish great talent. One such place is Wish in Miami Beach, which has had five remarkably talented chefs since it opened 10 years ago. The fifth, Marco Ferraro, took over last summer and he's proven to be as exhilarating as those who came before him — Gary Robins, Andrea Curto, Michael Reidt and Michael Bloise.

The Italian-born Ferraro graduated from the French Culinary Institute in New York and took his degree to France where he worked at several places, including the Michelin 2-star Le Muscandin. In 2002 he returned back to New York to work with the legendary Jean-Georges Vongerichten and, after a two-year stint, he left for California to work as chef de cuisine at the Mobil 4-star Jacks La Jolla.

Now in Florida, Ferraro, 29, assumes his first executive chef position, and he not only has big shoes to fill, but he must also live up to the restaurant's 130-seat canopied garden patio, easily the most magical dining setting on South Beach. To say he holds his own would be an understatement. Ferraro's contemporary American menu — with Mediterranean, Asian and Latin accents — reflects both his French training and time spent with the masterful Vongerichten.

Consider, for example, an appetizer of Maine lobster ravioli, which achieves next-level status with accents of pickled radish, a puree of green peas and a sublime cardamon-yuzu foam. Or an entrée of grilled swordfish, which features a butter-like cauliflower puree, bok choy and sauted crimini mushrooms. A Miami Times review described the eating of both dishes as “knock-your-socks-off” moments.

A tip of the hat must go to Jessica Goldman Srebnick, who has persistently sought out great culinary talent for the restaurant. With Ferraro in place, Wish will remain one of the top culinary destinations on the beach.