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Success C o nn o isseur
When word spread that “The Million Dollar Chef” was opening his first restaurant in the heart of Brickell,
foodies across the world clamored to secure a coveted reservation at Kaori by Walter Martino. We catch up
with him to see what the charismatic culinarian has been cooking up.
TEXT BY SANDY FERNANDEZ
PHOTOS COURTESY OF KAORI BY WALTER MARTINO
Jetting between Ibiza and Miami, Chef Walter Martino of Kaori — a futuristic Brickell eatery fusing Japanese and Italian fare —
credits his success to even parts style and sizzle, a sprinkle of pizzazz and a dash of can-do attitude. In fact, when he plated his
now-famous $1 million dish in 2013, the 3D solid gold & diamond embellished serving plates he designed were originally deemed
“impossible” by some of the food world’s most respected minds. But Martino wasn’t fazed. “When you have a dream, and you do and
see things from a unique perspective, not everyone will understand your vision,” he says. The chef is also recognized for developing
the world’s most expensive champagne bottle, with an estimated value of 1.7 million euros, and is currently working on a royal
cistern handcrafted with the finest Columbian gold and embedded with emeralds, rubies and diamonds. “Once completed, it will
be worth an approximate $3.4 million,” he says. Never one to rest on his laurels, in addition to Kaori, Martino recently launched a
luxurious private chef, catering, craft cocktail and event services company in Miami. What’s more, his success in the kitchen will soon
translate onto the big screen with a biographical film debut slated for late 2018, where the Chef will play himself. Currently, Food
Network, NBC and Netflix have expressed interest in the project. “What the future holds is anyone’s guess,” he says. “But whatever
happens, I will give it my all and embrace every step of the journey with gusto!”; WalterMartino.com.