In 2009, Daniel Bouza was unhappily working in construction and engineering when he decided to make a change and pursue his passion. He left his hometown of Miami to attend the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City, with an eye toward employment at the famed Gotham Bar & Grille. Bouza got his wish, and was soon working as a line cook at the famous New York spot, but not before spending his first two months at the restaurant shelling chickpeas for no pay. Bouza then moved on to BLT Bar & Grill in the Financial District. It was there that he met Chef Rodelio Aglibot, A.K.A. The Food Buddha. Bouza began working as a consultant with the acclaimed toque and opened multiple restaurants around the world
Missing the kitchen, Bouza took a job as Chef de Cuisine at Buffalos Restaurant at The Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch in Avon, Colorado. After a year working on the slopes of Beaver Creek Mountain, Bouza took a trip to Hawaii and was lured to stay by the beauty and magic of the island of Lana’i. During his tenure as Sous Chef at Nobu Lana'i, Bouza found a passion for Hawaiian-styled and Asian inspired foods such as the poké bowl and bao buns.
Bouza found his way back to Miami and after some time working under Makoto Okuwa at the Chef’s upscale, Japanese namesake eatery in Bal Harbour, decided to concentrate on his dream project. Inspired by a tiny surf shack in Lana’i that served poké to guests lining around the block, Bouza had the idea to combine two delicious appetizers – poke bowls and bao buns – and serve them in a chef-driven, fast casual environment. This fall, PokéBao is set to take Coral Gables’ evolving Giralda Avenue by storm, offering unique and inspired takes on two cherished dishes.