Seahorse Fashion Cuisine in Wellington: Juan Gando Expands His American Dream
|Oli's Fashion Cuisine in Wellington.|
If you're not quite sure what fashion cuisine means, don't worry. Each menu has the term clearly defined, printed as if it were a dictionary entry, that reads: "a manner of preparing food that is stylish, seasonal, and pleasing to the eye."
"Here, the focus is on the experience. This is delicious, fashionable cuisine. I want your food to look as good as it tastes," Gando told Clean Plate Charlie.
Originally from Ecuador, Gando moved to the United States in 2003. His goal was to live the American Dream, he said -- a goal that manifested when he became a successful restaurateur in South Florida's elite polo and equestrian community in Wellington.
In 2010, Gando opened his first establishment with partner and Wellington native Dustin Parfitt, who also works as executive chef for two of the three fashion-cuisine restaurants. Those are Oli's, the Grille, and the new Seahorse Fashion Cuisine. Gando and Parfitt met in early 2004 while working in the restaurant industry together on the island of Palm Beach.
Before they could move west and turn dreams to reality, they had to learn the ropes -- specifically from restaurateurs Frank and Nick Coniglio, owners of Cucina Dell'Arte, Nick and Johnnie's, and ER Bradley's Saloon in West Palm Beach. Gando began working for the family as a busboy at Cucina and eventually worked his way into management roles, while Parfitt worked his way in the kitchen.
"[The Coniglio family] taught me everything I know. Without them, I would not be here today," said Gando, who left his position as general manager of Cucina to partner with Parfitt.
Located in the Wellington Green Square shopping plaza, Oli's is a casual eatery that serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Breakfast offers up omelets and standard breakfast fare, but the eggs Benedict are the real stars -- especially the lobster and asparagus take ($12 to $17). The lunch and dinner menus swap out sandwiches for flatbread come evening, but both have a good selection of starters ($5 to $12) and "greens" -- nearly a dozen or so salads that include healthy or high-end toppings ($15 to $22).