Have you been to Oceano Kitchen in Lantana? If not, you’re missing out. That’s because this neighborhood eatery is churning out some of the best food in the area, thanks to the husband-and-wife team of Jeremy and Cindy Bearman.
This dynamic duo, along with sous chef Matthew Candelaria, take simple ingredients and make them shine. In doing so, they create a new menu for guests to enjoy every night that they’re open. While the culinary team has been lauded with a slew of “best of …” awards, you would never know by just meeting them. This Oceano Kitchen team is humble, down-to-earth, and treats everyone like part of the family.
Changing the menu nightly is not something for everyone, but with their dedication to using the freshest ingredients available, a changing menu is something they pride themselves on — and perhaps that’s why they have a steady list of regulars (some visit Oceano Kitchen once a week). From the salads and entrees to the pizzas and desserts, your palate will always be aroused with fresh ingredients from local farmers and fishermen.
While we’d love to feature every member of the team, today we’re focusing on Cindy Bearman, the pastry chef at Oceano Kitchen. Not only has she honed her skills at some of the top restaurants in the country — including Gotham Bar & Grill, Cafe Boulud and Le Cirque — she also helped to open Jean-Georges’ ABC Kitchen and worked as a food editor for Martha Stewart Living.
While her work has taken her all over the country and she’s picked up an amazing skill-set along the way, we can now enjoy her pastry dishes — from her famous Chocolate Chip Cherry Toffee Cookies to her Whipped Vanilla Bean Cheesecake to her seasonal variations of cakes, tarts and panna cottas — right in our back yard.
Name: Cindy Bearman
Title: Pastry chef/owner
Restaurant: Oceano Kitchen
Tell us about your first kitchen experience.
My first professional kitchen experience was while I was still in pastry school, and I got an internship at one of my favorite restaurants — Gotham Bar & Grill.
What’s your drink of choice?
What about secret talents? Do you have any that you’re hiding from us?
No secret talents — just love to travel!
Do you have any advice for those looking to become a chef?
Learn as much as you can from other great chefs. I spent seven years cooking under others before I ever became a pastry chef.
Did you go to culinary school?
Yes; the French Culinary Institute. I graduated in 2002.
Tell us about some of the local farms you work with.
Green Cay; Fancy Chicken Farm; Pontano Farms; a local fisherman: Goin’ Off, and Ms. V’s Organics. Farms-to-chef is great to work with as they get a bunch of products from different farms in the area.
How do you get inspired?
Sometimes from traveling; sometimes from great local products.
Who’s helped you get to the place you are now?
All the great chefs I’ve worked for. And having a husband who has supported me in my career ambitions along the way!
What are your favorite Florida ingredients?
Fingerling bananas, because of their unique flavor; citrus, because it’s citrus; and Swank Specialty Produce’s strawberries.
How would you describe your cooking style?
Use great ingredients and prepare them well — and add in a bit of whimsy.
Back to Oceano Kitchen — why should we love the restaurant, and what are you doing there that’s truly unique to the restaurant and to you as a chef?
Change the menu every day!
Is there a little guy you want to tell the world about?
My 5-year-old son Silas. He loves to bake with me at home!
Oceano Kitchen is at 201 E. Ocean Ave. in Lantana. The restaurant is open for dinner Tuesday through Saturday. The daily menu can be found on their website (oceanokitchen.com) or social-media accounts. For more information, visit this popular Lantana restaurant online. Reservations are not accepted. Cash only.