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Miami, FL


The culinary heart of Chef Timon Balloo’s food draws from a broad range of global flavors. From his Chinese, Indian-Trinidadian heritage to his classic European training, to the diverse kitchens where he built his career, each step along the way has led Balloo to become the chef he is today.

Born to multiethnic parents, Balloo grew up with food steeped in culture-a typical dish in his home was stir-fried Caribbean vegetables with Asian spices. While other kids were watching cartoons, Balloo was watching Yan Can Cook on PBS. With a childhood so rich in epicurean curiosity, it came as no surprise when he pursued cooking as a career.
Balloo enrolled in Johnson and Wales University, graduating with a degree in culinary arts and the experiences of working internationally with 2 Star Michelin Chef Dominique Michou at Hotel Métropole Brussel, Belgium.

Once home, Balloo eager to continue honing his skills immediately worked with some of Miami’s iconic chefs such as James Beard Award Winners Chef Allen Susser and Michelle Bernstein. While under Allen Balloo learned professionalism and humility in the kitchen. Some of the most important principles of a professional kitchen.

Working alongside Bernstein as part of the opening team of Miami’s Mandarin Oriental Hotel - Azul Restaurant, Balloo cultivated his expertise of fine dining cuisine under Bernstein. She helped him hone his signature style while teaching him to cook from my heart. The experience there also exposed Balloo to the dedicated work ethic and results of receiving the Mobile 5 star. AAA 5 Diamond and “Esquire Magazine Best New Restaurant” thereafter Balloo rising to the position of Junior Sous Chef.

Balloo, continuing his search for knowledge later moved to work with the Avant Garde Molecular pioneers Sergi Arola (formerly El Bulli) from the 2-star Michelin Madrid outpost of La Broche in Miami. Here Balloo learned intellectual culinary thought process and how to look at ingredients from the inside out.

Ready and yearning to helm command of his kitchen, Balloo moved on to become the chef of the notable New York City eatery Sushi Samba where he focused on Japanese seafood techniques and flavors. It is there where Balloo learned the importance of human relations, menu development and financial management.

After a few years Balloo returned to South Florida and launched Domo Japones in Miami’s Design District; the Japanese bistro concept highlighted simple ingredients with masterful techniques. This is where Balloo started to form his signature style of bold flavors, Balloo’s menu was awarded three stars by The Miami Herald and voted “Best Japanese 2008” by Miami New Times.

An opportunity to reconnect with Samba Brands Management in 2009 brought Balloo back to the growing restaurant group as Chef Partner of SUGARCANE raw bar grill, which opened in 2010. It was here that he could bring together everything he had learned about global flavors and techniques. After the restaurant’s debut, SUGARCANE raw bar grill was named a James Beard Awards semifinalist for “Best New Restaurant” and Balloo and “The People’s Choice Best New Chef” by Food & Wine magazine. The wild success of this Miami midtown eatery has spanned a decade, includes numerous accolades and two additional outposts in Las Vegas 2017 and Brooklyn 2018.

In 2019, Balloo announced the opening of his first independent concept, Balloo: Modern Home Cooking in downtown Miami, a tribute to his Trinidadian Indian-Chinese heritage. Balloo has garnered an out pour of national distinctions from being recognized by the New York Times as one of “16 Most Influential Black Chefs in America” to 2020 James Beard Nomination for “Best Chef South” and becoming the 2020 recipient of the Johnson and Wales Honorary Doctorate of Culinary Arts.

Balloo’s enthusiasm and accomplishments are a testament to the passion and love he has for this industry and will continue Chef Balloo’s culinary story that celebrates culture, food and flavor while bringing together what inspires him at the core.