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Sundial: How a little Lantana restaurant got this husband and wife nominated for a big award

Cindy and Jeremy Bearman are the chef-owners of Oceano Kitchen in Lantana, Florida.
Courtesy of Cindy and Jeremy Bearman
Cindy and Jeremy Bearman are the chef-owners of Oceano Kitchen in Lantana, Florida.

Cindy and Jeremy Bearman bet on themselves.

They tried working for others. They were both chefs and did the things they were told chefs had to do if they wanted to get ahead. They each worked in big, expensive restaurants. They toiled in super-stressful kitchens. They worked their way up to the top.

Cindy and Jeremy were good at it. They had to be. The restaurants had to live up to the French names above the door. Jean-Georges. Daniel Boulud. Joël Robuchon. The biggies.

They earned Michelin stars and James Beard medals, but they were winning them for other people.

Cindy and Jeremy gave it all up to start something of their own — a little family restaurant in a quiet Florida town, Lantana. Oceano Kitchen has 10 tables. They only take cash. And they don’t work on Sundays.

Cindy and Jeremy cook only what they want. The menu changes every day. It depends on what ingredients looked the best when they picked them out that morning.

The Bearmans were recently nominated for a James Beard award — as co-chefs for Best Chef in the South. Doing things their way, turned out to be the right way.

On the Feb. 23 episode of Sundial, the Bearmans told us about the risks they took to open a little restaurant that caught the attention of their community and the James Beard committee.

On Sundial's previous episode, we talked about food waste with Ellen Bowen of Food Rescue US. She’s their South Florida site director and told us what happens to all the food that’s left over from events like this week’s South Beach Wine & Food Festival. Food Service US picks it up and delivers it to shelters and food pantries in the community so it doesn’t end up in the trash.

Listen to Sundial Monday through Thursday on WLRN, 91.3 FM, live at 1 p.m., rebroadcast at 8 p.m. Missed a show? Find every episode of Sundial on your favorite podcast app, such as Apple Podcasts, Stitcher and Spotify.

Stay in touch with us via text by joining our Sundial text club. Send us your thoughts, ideas or questions by texting the word “join” to 786-677-0767. You can also email us at sundial@wlrnnews.org.

Carlos Frías is a bilingual writer, a journalist of more than 25 years and the author of an award-winning memoir published by Simon & Schuster.
Elisa Baena is a former associate producer for Sundial.
Leslie Ovalle Atkinson is the former lead producer behind Sundial. As a multimedia producer, she also worked on visual and digital storytelling.