Daniel Diaz was born a south Florida native to Parents Nestor and Alicia Diaz. Daniel’s mother, Alicia, who raised Daniel and his two brothers as a single mother in Palm Beach County, is a leader in food distribution and exports with over 35 years of experience for international brands. Daniel’s father, Nestor, was a chef and former owner of Miami’s famed La Lechonera Restaurants in the ‘70 to mid ‘80s era. He now operates a distribution company delivering to over 2,000 stores in the Tri-State area. Daniel’s childhood journey was full of sports, music and hands-on cooking competitions, catering jobs, and quick service restaurants until the age of 19.
After a year of studying music and performing with the FAU marching band and Palm Beach State College, Daniel went on to study culinary arts from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Miami, Florida, while working in dinner service at Coral Gables legacy 5-Star Diamond Rated Ortanique on the Mile! He later moved on to work for chef Daniel Boulud at Cafe Boulud in the Brazilian Court Hotel on Palm Beach Island. In 2013, Daniel began offering his services as a private chef, serving high net worth clients and their families throughout Palm Beach, Manalapan, Boca Raton, South Beach, Coral Gables, and beyond. He gained invaluable knowledge in sustainability and organic gardening practices, yacht provisioning and the use of regional foods through his work as a private chef, working with local farmers to source top quality products for his clientele.
While sustaining his private chef client’s needs, Daniel continued to grow as a chef with leadership consulting positions opening restaurants at various south Florida notable establishments, such as the Catalina Hotel in South Beach and Myapapaya in Fort Lauderdale. Daniel then set up shop at the James Beard Recognized Valentino Cucina Italian in Fort Lauderdale, FL, whereas sous chef Daniel created fresh, local, Mediterranean inspired cuisine daily for one of South Florida’s top restaurants. While there, Daniel honed concentrated on expanding his knowledge of regional Italian cuisines and wines, executing sold out wine dinners with 3-star Michelin chefs from around the world and pairing wines from some of America’s finest vineyards.
In 2015, a drive to grow as a business minded chef, and an increase in private clientele workload lead Daniel to Sur La Table in Boca Raton, where he was the Resident Chef and Director of the cooking program for over 2 ½ years, instructing over 6.000 students with hands-on cooking class experiences. While maintaining managerial positions from Sur La Table to Hotel Restaurant Supply.com as the General Manager, Daniel continued to grow his portfolio with UHNW clients, building trust and tenure with seasonal and traveling families. In 2020, a journey of growing his own restaurant brands, Dad’s Favorite Burgers & Pies and Shichang: Homemade Chinese Food began. In April of 2021 Dad’s Favorite opened to the community of downtown Delray and served the community for 10 months, selling over 42,000 cheeseburgers and reached over 50,000 customers.
To Learn more about Chef Daniel's experiences and review letters of recommendation from Pilars in the hospitality industry, click "Find Out More" below or head over to the Resume & More section of the website.