Some people discover their passion and talent early in life, and they spend years developing their skills to share with the world. For the past 22 years, Dustin Atoigue has been honing his culinary skills. Guam born, after gigs in Los Angeles, Miami, and Las Vegas, Dustin headed back to South Florida to briefly take up residence as Executive Chef for Mondrian South Beach, before finding his home as Executive Chef at SALT KITCHEN & LOUNGE.
When Dustin was a child in Guam, he didn’t know there was a “chef” career. “I just wanted to cook” he says. He started at age of 15 as a dishwasher in a busy coffee shop – then he was a perp cook, line cook. With always wanting to move forward, when he was about 20 years old, he moved to LA to go to school, where he had he’s first chef position at the age of 22.
Dustin believes that his grandmother had the biggest influence on him and she is the real reason why he became a chef. “Since early years I had to help my grandmother a lot, I planted all the vegetables that we cooked, and cleaned and plucked the live chickens. The basics. My grandmother was a big influence on me, and I was the one who always helped her to do all of that stuff. We had a lot of fish too, we would catch fish, cut them, grab some soy sauce and have sashimi immediately. It’s the same seafood as Japan, its delicious and very fresh. I used to catch uni, blue lobsters, squid, all the different seafood. I miss those days”.
Food Philosophy: I always try to use the best quality ingredients that are offered locally. Seafood is a big thing here in South Beach and Miami in general, and produce as well. We always want to support local fisherman and farmers.