Harold Ruiz

My obsession with ramen and food started when I was a kid. My mom, a chef, and my family’s ordering take-out rituals stuck with me. I always thought about becoming a cook, but it wasn’t until I saw Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations that I knew it was my calling. I started late in the game, though. I thought I’d be a rockstar and my punk band would pay the bills. But, you know, life happened.

Working as a server at a catering company where my mom was a chef exposed me to the back of the house. Then, I landed a gig at @zakthebaker , learned the basics, and met some cool people. Next was @27restaurant , where Chefs Jimmy and Sasha taught me the fundamentals. They saw potential in me and encouraged me to keep pushing. Upland was next, and that’s where I saw the brigade system and learned a lot. But, the kitchen culture was toxic, and I started drinking and partying more than usual.

It wasn’t until @gheemiami that I found my connection with noodles again. I began making noodles for specials and ramen for family meals and met my homie Greg, who was all about pizza. When the pandemic hit, @oldgregspizza told me to start selling my ramen. He said, ‘Why don’t you do ramen like I’m doing pizza?’ And that’s how it all began. I started making ramen kits and doing pop-ups. After three years, I slowed down, took a barback job for the money, and met Ryan Leto, who became my mentor and business partner. He saw my @peacockramen page and wanted to meet up. I wasn’t sure I wanted another kitchen job, but he convinced me he wasn’t just looking for a chef but a partner.

It’s been a year since we opened @dumplings_mi_amor , and the place is thriving. I don’t want anything to ruin this moment, so I’ve also decided to quit alcohol; it’s been two months, and it’s hard in a city like Miami, where all my friends are DJs and bartenders. But, you know, I feel good. I haven’t felt this good in a long time.

  • Downtown Miami