The Culinary Duo Behind Lantana’s Oceano Kitchen

The résumés of Jeremy and Cindy Bearman read like a culinary who’s who: Manhattan’s Rouge Tomate, Gotham Bar & Grill, and ABC Kitchen, plus Bradley Ogden and Joël Robuchon’s L’Atelier in Las Vegas—not to mention the Auberge resort Malliouhana in Anguilla. In 2016, the couple moved to Florida and purchased the location that became Oceano Kitchen, where they specialize in creative daily menus based on seasonal ingredients. Here, the duo discusses life at their restaurant.

PBI: How did you two end up in Florida?
Cindy: We met in New York when we both worked at Daniel Boulud’s DB Bistro Moderne. Jeremy was the sous chef, and I was on the pastry station. We got engaged, moved out to Las Vegas together, and have been on the move ever since.
Jeremy: We spent some time in the Caribbean and didn’t want to go back to New York. We wanted warmer weather and a better place to raise our family, so we took a chance and moved here.
Given your backgrounds, why did you open a casual restaurant rather than a fine-dining format?
Cindy: When we go out, we like to find something more casual and share a bunch of small plates. We really like the idea of Oceano being a fun, neighborhood restaurant.
Jeremy: I think we just got tired of all the frills. I wanted to be able to source good food and cook it more simply. And to be honest, it’s more profitable.

You change your menu daily. Describe a typical day.
Jeremy: For me, the process begins the night before, when my sous chef and I sit down and try to figure out what we’ll do tomorrow. A lot depends on how busy we’ve been and what’s available from different purveyors. Frequently I’ll order ingredients without knowing exactly what I’m going to do with them. We open at 5 p.m., but I’m usually in the restaurant by 9 a.m., and everything evolves from there.
Cindy: I start very early in the morning because pastry is labor-intensive. I try to do at least one fruit-based and one chocolate-based dessert each day, and I base the dishes on what’s in the market. I really enjoy the process of changing the menu every day. Sometimes inspiration will strike as I’m driving to work.
What does the future hold?
Cindy: It’s nice to think about a larger place or a second location, but it wouldn’t be the same. We want to remain casual and locally inspired.

Dessert is a must at Oceano Kitchen. Whether chocolatey or fruity, Cindy Bearman’s confections make for a divine finale.

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