Cheft Jesus

I’m from El Salvador. I never thought I’d become a cook, as I studied clinical laboratory science back home. Seeking a better future, I left El Salvador and arrived in Miami, where the only doors open to me were in restaurants. I started in the dish pit, washing dishes, and it took me three years to find a place where I truly felt at home. Despite limited options, I knew I had the power to choose the right place. Thirteen years ago, I entered the kitchen of Camilas Restaurante Miami, a Brazilian buffet in downtown Miami, and I haven’t left since.

I remember the early days, learning from kind Brazilian chefs who patiently taught me about their culture and cuisine. Though I never attended culinary school, they shared their expertise and helped me master the most minor details. While food and language differ from what I knew in El Salvador, our shared love of rice and beans united us. I learned enough to become a kitchen manager.

Camilla’s has been a Miami staple for 35 years, offering a taste of Brazil in the heart of the city. Working in a buffet is unique, as we focus on cooking in the morning and prepping in the afternoon. Our goal is always to provide the best for our customers. Cooking has taught me to appreciate many things, like the simplicity of making perfect rice.

As the city continues to evolve, I’m proud to be part of a new generation of cooks. I’m mentoring a young boy, teaching him to cook and wash dishes, just as I was trained. This sense of continuity and fellowship is essential to me and the kitchen. Witnessing the growth of other individuals in the industry and the shared passion for serving good food to people gives me faith in humanity.

  • Downtown Miami