Rising Star Chef Carmen Gonzalez of CARMEN THE RESTAURANT (Now Closed) - Biography

Coral Gables, FL

November 2011

Carmen Gonzalez is a veteran chef and celebrated culinary artist who has been in the food arena for over 20 years. She completed her training at The New York Restaurant School and got her start at The Quilted Giraffe, one of New York’s fine dining establishments. Upon completion of her training, Gonzalez relocated from New York to Miami. Her passion for excellence and dedication to her career has enabled her to acquire a following of loyal clientele in South Florida over the past 13 years. In 1989, Gonzalez opened the acclaimed Clowns in Coral Gables. Her fans followed her to The Miami Club in downtown Miami and then to Tamarind at the Sheraton Gateway Hotel.

In March 2003, she opened the doors to her latest eatery, appropriately called Carmen the Restaurant in Coral Gables, Florida, where she holds the post of chef and owner. Carmen the Restaurant has earned rave reviews from several publications including the Miami Herald and The Miami New Times. Her dishes are unique creations of post-New American fare with distinct Latino flavor, which is a reflection of her heritage that emulate Puerto Rican food customs including yuca, mofongo, plantains, and island mojito sauce. For the past seven years, Gonzalez has also been owner of Silverspoon, one of Miami’s premier catering companies. Her work with both companies earned her a 2004 StarChefs.com Rising Stars Award and landed her on season two of Bravo's Top Chef Masters.

Since early 1990, Gonzalez has been devoted to many charitable organizations and has received some of South Florida’s most esteemed awards for her commitment to helping those in need. She has been a loyal supporter of Share Our Strength (SOS) for the past twelve years, Camillus House, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and a host of other local and international organizations. Gonzalez has been the recipient of the Up and Comers of South Florida 1991, Woman of the Year 1996 from the Coalition of Hispanic American Women (CHAW), and Florida’s Finest 1996 awarded by Governor Lawton Chiles.

Her most recent philanthropic commitment is to the University of Miami Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center where she has pledged to raise funds for the Center through her own organization, Chef Carmen Cooks For A Cure. In 1994, Gonzalez was presented with an honorary doctorate of culinary arts from Johnson & Wales University, an honor she shares with Julia Child and Madeline Kamman, making her the third woman to earn this prestigious accomplishment.