Nando & Valerie Chang

Chef Nando Chang:

Peruvian-born chef and restaurateur Nando Chang was raised by his grandparents in Chiclayo, Peru before departing to Miami at the age of 12 with his younger sister Valerie to join their father Fernando “Papa” Chang in pursuing the American dream.

Inheriting Papa Chang’s strong work ethic, Nando immediately started working after school and weekends at the sushi restaurants where his father worked. It was there that he learned how to handle and butcher fish – skills that would prove instrumental to his future- and also where he picked up his love of sushi.

In 2018 Nando, Valerie and Papa opened Itamae, a Nikkei restaurant offering technique driven, Peruvian-Japanese flavors and traditions, while also celebrating the best of local and seasonal ingredients. Under Nando’s leadership, Itamae received a Michelin Bib Gourmand, was named to the New York Times’ 2021 Restaurant List and is regarded as one of the best restaurants in Miami by The Infatuation.

Considered by many as one of Miami’s top young chefs, Nando was named a 2019 James Beard Semifinalist for Rising Star Chef and a 2022 and 2023 James Beard Semifinalist for Best Chef South.


Chef Valerie Chang:

Chef Valerie Chang grew up in Chiclayo Peru and moved to the United States when she was ten, where she spent her childhood watching her father Fernando cook. After a few kitchen stints of her own — including a stage at Albert Adria’s Pakta in Barcelona and some time spent working with Zahav’s James Beard Award winning chef Michael Solomonov — she began exploring her culinary roots.

Chang’s cooking style developed as she explored her connection with the food of her birthplace. In 2018 Val, her brother Nando, and their father Fernando opened Itamae in the Miami Design District food hall and then in 2019 the team opened a fast casual off-shoot concept, B-Side, inside popular Asian Food Hall 1-800-LUCKY. In 2020 Itamae graduated into a standalone space in the Design District’s Palm Court. Val quickly garnered praise as one of the city’s top young chefs, earning an Eater Young Gun nomination (2018), two James Beard semifinalist nominations for Rising Star Chef (2019, 2020) and nominations for Best Chef South (2022, 2023). In 2021, Itamae made New York Times’ coveted Restaurant List and in 2022 the restaurant was honored with a Michelin Bib Gourmand on the Guide’s inaugural Miami list.

In March 2023 Val opened Maty’s, named after her grandmother, in the Midtown neighborhood in Miami. At Maty’s the menu is a modern take on comida criolla, the traditional Peruvian food of Chang’s upbringing. Dishes inspired by cooking and eating alongside her abuela, Maty, and influenced by her life journey, like Tuna Tiradito with Buck Eye Beans, Dorade with Ají Amarillo Beurre Blanc & Oxtail Saltado with Sauce Chifera are paired with beautifully crafted Peruvian-inspired cocktails with local influences and a wine list favoring low intervention wines from Peru and around the world. In September, 2023, just six months after opening, Maty’s was named among Bon Appetit’s 24 Best New Restaurants and also earned a place on the New York Times’ Restaurant List, and Val and Nando were the first siblings to be named together to Food & Wine Magazine’s coveted Best New Chefs Class of 2023. Val has also been honored with a StarChefs Rising Star Game Changers award and serves as a member of The James Beard Foundation’s Policy Advocacy Program: Chef Boot Camp for Policy and Change. Val lives in Miami with her two dogs, Mero and Sashimi.