2021 Miami Rising Star Community Winners Jamila Ross and Akino West of Rosie's Miami

2021 Miami Rising Star Community Winners Jamila Ross and Akino West of Rosie's Miami

Akino West spent most of his childhood cooking alongside his mother, Katrina, in their Riviera Beach home. While attending Palm Beach Gardens High School, Akino took a beginners culinary class. His teacher, Chef Tammy Johnson Newman, witnessed passion and a competitive drive for cooking and encouraged him to enter into culinary competitions. Meanwhile, Jamila Ross grew up in Yonkers, N.Y. and always had a fascination with restaurants. (Her 13th birthday gift was dinner at the CIA.) After working at a bagel shop, Ross scored a line cook job within garde manger at Xavier’s on the Hudson, X20. At 15, she jumped in right after the interview (without wearing proper shoes) and stayed for three summers. She graduated from both the CIA and Johnson & Wales in Florida, where she met West.

After graduation in 2015, West became sous of Michael’s Genuine Food and Drink, where he met one of his mentors, Rising Star Mentor Award winner Michael Schwartz. West took eight months off for a life-changing stage at Noma before returning to Michael’s. He then moved on to 2016 Rising Star Niven Patel’s Ghee.  

Ross found an externship at The Bazaar by José Andrés LA and transitioned to front-of-house. She was promoted to restaurant supervisor in 2010, and from there, she took manager jobs at M.H. Alshaya Co. and The Community Table in Kuwait. She moved to Miami in 2015 for The Langham Hotel and reconnected with West—they’re getting married in May. They opened The Copper Door B&B in 2018 with a company mission to promote cultural tourism in under-developed areas. COVID-19 led to the addition of Rosie’s Miami restaurant, where West is executive chef. Their business is devoted to lifting up the Overtown neighborhood by hiring locals, partnering with nonprofits, and hosting free events for the community.