Foodie Find

Cooking is in the blood of Chef Joao “Juca” Oliveira. His grandfather was a revered Italian chef, and when he arrived in NYC after graduating high school in Brazil, the first job he got was in a kitchen — and he hasn’t left since!
Text by Sandy Lindsey | Photos by Edward Leal | October 31, 2018 | Lifestyle

As the Owner & Executive Chef at Tutto Pizza & Pasta, Chef Joao “Juca” Oliveira is living his dream. “This trattoria is my concept and    I created the menu,” he says. “It is mostly traditionally Italian dishes, yet not necessarily the most commonly seen in other menus. Through our Specials, I bring a little bit more of myself and my influences to the dishes.” Originally from Belo Horizonte, Brazil, he trained in one of the busiest kitchens in Manhattan at Bice Restaurant, serving over 1,000 meals daily. By age 24, he moved to Miami and became Executive Chef of the South Beach hotspot I Tre Merli where regular patrons included Mickey Rourke, Eddie Murphy, Prince and Madonna. In 1994, he opened Tutto Pasta, followed by Tutto Pizza in 1997. In 2011, he launched Tutto Pizza & Pasta in Key Biscayne. “I was blown away by how Key Biscayne welcomed us,” he says. “I like to do soft openings because it gives the crew a couple of weeks to get into the groove, but in Key Biscayne we had people waiting before we had opened our doors.  It was amazing. I was very touched and am very grateful for the support.” More than anything, Chef Juca loves seeing clients enjoy his food — especially when plates come back to the kitchen completely clean! This is especially true of his signature Grilled Salmon Fillet w/ Passion Fruit Sauce and side of Roasted Potatoes & Grilled Asparagus. “It’s very tropical, very Miami,” he says. “I always like to experiment and I love the idea of including fruit in dishes — especially ones that remind me of my childhood in Brazil!” When not at his restaurants, he likes to spend time with family and friends, cooking for them and enjoying every bite;