Ever the dreamer, Miamian Michael Beltran once aspired to be a football player, but a middle school teacher told him that would happen when pigs fly. While playing football and studying sociology and criminology at Averett University in Virginia, Beltran discovered a passion for the culinary arts. He toiled away at Applebee’s, and by 2007, he had received his bachelor’s, as well as an associate’s degree from the Florida Culinary Institute.
After graduating, he worked the line at Casa Juancho before spending two years at Red Fish Grill as sous. When Norman Van Aken opened Norman’s 180 in 2010, Beltran sought out the chef who would become his “culinary godfather.” He dropped off his resume at least 10 times until he was hired as head of production.
Eight months later, Beltran pivoted to become chef de cuisine at The Local Craft Food & Drink under Rising Stars Alum Alberto Cabrera. In 2012, Beltran returned to Van Aken’s tutelage as chef de partie at Tuyo. His break as executive chef came in 2013 with the opening team of Michael Schwartz’s Cypress Room.
In 2016, he launched his Cuban-American concept, Ariete. With business partner Andrew Falsetto, Beltran formed Ariete Hospitality Group and opened two restaurants in 2019: Navé with Chef Justin Flit at the helm and Chug’s diner. Beltran can be heard on Pan Con Podcast, through which he chats with local chefs and food specialists. Now a clear leader in the Miami restaurant industry, he made his company logo a pig with a parachute.