ROBBIN HAAS


Born and raised in Buffalo, New York, Robbin Haas’s love of food began at the tender age of 12 when he began working in a small hotel in Buffalo. Haas worked on kitchen chores while his mother worked as the lead waitress. He realized the important relationship between personal service and happy customers from his mother – a concept he has carried with him throughout his illustrious career. Haas’s creative flair and culinary expertise has enabled him to develop innovative tastes mitigating him as a true culinary artist. In addition, Haas’s natural knack for business and entrepreneurial talent allows him full run of the restaurant gamut.

Since his arrival in South Florida in 1988, Haas has been involved with an impressive list of venues. He spearheaded the opening of the Four Seasons Ocean Grand then became executive chef at Turnberry Isle Resort & Club. In 1994, Haas left Turnberry to revamp the Colony Bistro in Miami Beach and was named one of the top 10 chefs in America by Food and Wine magazine. That same year, the Colony Bistro was recognized as one of Esquire’s top new restaurants. Soon after, Haas took on a challenge as the executive chef and managing partner of Bang in Miami Beach. Haas’s desire to spread his wings lead him to his next venture where he partnered with renowned chef/restaurateur Mark Miller in 1996 to open up several Raku “Asian Diners” in the United States. This concept was inspired and mirrored as a result of his travels to the Orient where he resided for several months to learn the first hand styles and differences of the Far East.

Haas was lured back to South Florida by his love for tropical flavors and presided over his own company prior to joining China Grill Management as executive/consulting chef for China Grill Café and Red Square. It was not long after that Red Square was named one of Esquire’s Top New Restaurants in 1998. In 1999, Haas opened the highly successful Baleen to rave reviews at the Grove Isle Club and Resort in Coconut Grove. Soon after, Baleen in San Diego and Naples, Florida followed along with 6-7 in Seattle and Portofino in Redonda Beach, California.

Haas assumed the role of Vice President of Restaurant Concepts for Noble House Hotels, Resorts, & Hideaways where he supervised the workings of several restaurants as well as the creative development of culinary trends between 1998 and 2002.

In September 2003, Haas will “spark” curiosity among food aficionados with the much-anticipated opening of his latest venture Chispa, a contemporary Latin restaurant and bar inspired by the history and traditions of the Hispanic culture. Chispa, which will be located in Coral Gables, is the ideal complement to Haas’ distinguished portfolio featuring innovative dishes reflective of Hispanic heritage such as Masitas de Mahi Mahi, Sour Orange Mojo, Wood Roasted Shrimp, Lechon Asado Rissoto, Spit Roasted Young Suckling Pig and a selection of creative ceviches. Chispa is destined to attract a varied clientele indicative of Miami’s population entertaining its clients with a unique combination of cuisine, ambiance, music, and service. Haas wanted to create a restaurant that celebrated the eclectic mix of America and felt this was an ideal time to open a fine dining locale that represents a melting pot of cultures. The 40-foot bar will capture patrons with its novel design and featured drink specialties including Mojitos, Caipirnhas, artistic Martinis, and over 20 wines by the glass.

South Florida and the Orient are not the only places that Haas has focused his culinary attentions. He has received international accolades from his extensive travels around the world showcasing his culinary skills in Russia, Finland, Europe, Mexico, South America, the Mediterranean, and the Caribbean. He has also visited and resided in numerous cities in the Unites States, but testifies that Miami is his home. South Florida residents and visitors have recognized Haas’ creative use of Southern ingredients and local fare for decades making him a trendsetter for Miami’s notorious fine dining scene. The use of locally procured products allows Haas to preserve the culinary heritage of the region putting South Florida cuisine on the international map while further establishing his position as one of the founding fathers of New World Cuisine.

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