Rising Star Chef Jeffrey Brana of Norman's (Now Closed) - Biography

Coral Gables, FL

November 2011

A Florida native, one of Jeffrey Brana’s earliest food memories was picking oranges from the tree in his grandmother’s backyard and taking them to her kitchen to juice. His father’s family is from Spain, but spent many years in Cuba; while his family enjoyed the bounty of seafood, fruits, and vegetables that can be found in Florida, the daily meals growing up consisted mainly of Cuban food.

After returning home from college, Brana began working in several restaurants in Florida, landing a job working for Chefs Marly Blitz and Scott Howard. He supplemented his hands-on training with extensive reading on international and American culinary masters. It was Howard, who had previously worked for Chef Norman Van Aken at “A Mano” in Miami, who suggested Brana go work at NORMAN’S.

Brana mastered each station in the kitchen at NORMAN’S, including pastry, before leaving to St. Thomas, where he worked at The Ritz-Carlton. Afterwards, he went to San Francisco to assist in revamping the kitchen and consulting at a popular San Francisco restaurant. With the pending opening of NORMAN’S restaurants in Orlando and Los Angeles, a position became available in the flagship restaurant in Coral Gables, and Brana rejoined the team as chef de cuisine, where he lead the award-winning kitchen, and met his wife, Anna, who was the restaurant's Public Relations and Marketing Manager.

Brana and Anna then opened their own restaurant, the critically acclaimed Restuarant Brana. They now operate a pop-up dining group, Brana Food Group, founded CancerConnections, an online resource for cancer patients and their families.