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Meet Manuel Torterola of Lilikoi Organic Living

Today we’d like to introduce you to Manuel Torterola.

Manuel grew up in Buenos Aires Argentina and at the age of 16 his family took a sabbatical year and moved to Hawaii. Each member of the family took on a particular chore. Manuel chose cooking. He found himself starting to ask questions such as “why do we add nutmeg to mashed potatoes? or “why do we grill meat versus boiling meat?” He thought to himself there has to be a reasoning behind this – and that’s how he decided to start culinary school. Manuel attended the prestigious “The Bue Trainers Escuela de Cocina”

Manuel grew up with holistic medicine versus traditional western medicine. He was taught from a very young age that it started with what you ate.

Manuel has had experience around the globe. Always continuing to learn and grow. He began his culinary career in fine dining. Some notable experiences include Spago – Wolfgang Puck Four Seasons Maui, Matt Moran’s Aria in Australia, and in the UK, he staged at Heston Blumenthals world famous -The Fat Duck.

Manuels favorite ingredient to cook with is anything from the ocean – fish, seaweed, you name it. Currently he is smoking all salmon in house – he offers a cold smoke and a hot smoke over mahogany and European almond bark. Manuel is great at taking superfoods and incorporating them into our everyday meals – simple, clean and beneficial for your health. His goal is to keep creating and learning along the way. He wants to teach people about healthy eating and cooking from the heart. It’s not only about how it looks and tastes but also what health benefits you get from your food.

Manuel and Tina met in paradise while both working in the restaurant industry. He was a chef and she was working as a fine dining representative and sommelier.

Two things most people will highly agree go hand in hand, food and wine. They took their dreams and turned them into reality when they moved from Hawaii to Miami in March of 2016. They settled into the perfect spot in South Beach creating a warm, inviting atmosphere with a beach chic vibe. This is where Lilikoi Organic Living was born. Manuel took his experience working in kitchens around the world, from Michelin Star to family owned spots to create this organically sourced, clean eating, healthy focused menu. Tina creates a welcoming vibe with genuine hospitality spreading the “Aloha Spirit” wherever she goes.

Has it been a smooth road?
The journey has not been easy – but then again what worth it in life is ever really easy. You need to be faced with challenges to create the experience and to get where you are going. Several issues we faced with less than 2 years of opening up Lilikoi Organic Living:

-Zika

-King Tide flooding

-Hurricane Matthew and Hurricane Irma

-Seasonal fluctuations – summers are quiet – many leave come March/April and do not return until November/December

-Moving to an area/neighborhood where nobody has heard of you – so building the name/brand

-Overall operations of running a business with your family (Manuels mother and father are partners and have 2 restaurants in Argentina with a similar concept – working day in day out with your wife – sister in law and sister

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Lilikoi Organic Living story. Tell us more about the business.
Lilikoi translates to passion fruit in Hawaiian. Manuel and myself met while living on Maui. We had the dream at starting our own business and creating a brand that focused on fresh, local organic ingredients. Supporting locally supports a dream. We wanted to incorporate superfoods into simple dishes that not only taste good but are good for you. Miami is a central hub for people all over the world. We want to spread the “aloha” spirit through our restaurant (our dream).

Lilikoi is committed to preparing your meals with the freshest ingredients that are locally and organically sourced. We want to provide food and nutrition that support a healthier lifestyle and a more sustainable way to live. We carefully evaluate each and every product we use keeping processed ingredients, unnecessary sugar and genetically modified organisms out of our dishes. We here at Lilikoi are passionate about great tasting healthy meals and the pleasure of sharing it with those around us. We thrive on excellence and genuine hospitality.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
Complacency is one of the worst places we can find ourselves at. We want to continue to learn, grow and teach. Develop the brand and give people the options they deserve to nourish themselves with good food and good energy. We would like to grow and expand while always taking into account the neighborhood we are at so that it fits and doesn’t push all while educating so people see that what you put into your body is a major player of what you can expect to get back.

Pricing:

  • Breakfast/Brunch $8 – $18
  • Lunch/Dinner $10 – $24

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: VoyageMIA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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