When you come to Shula’s Naples for a meal, you already know you are in for some of the best cuisine in all of SWFL, but what you may not know is who is doing the cooking!
So, we decided to give you an expanded view of what’s going on behind the doors by introducing you to who is making the magic in the kitchen at Shula’s!
First up we have Shula’s Executive Chef, Cesar Fernandez. Under Chef Fernandez’ culinary tutelage Shula’s has received many prestigious awards, one of which is “The Best Steak House in Southwest Florida”. Chef Fernandez also oversees the culinary operations of the Hilton Naples hotel’s in-room dining, banquet and meeting facilities, which encompasses 18,000 square feet of space.
His career experience is vast and includes many four and five diamond rated properties in Florida and Puerto Rico, such as the Alexander Hotel, the Grand Bay Hotel and the El San Juan Resort. He received some significant acclaim and attention nationally with the opening of the Tangerine Restaurant at the Water Hotel. Chef Fernandez is a member of the American Culinary Federation and is a “Best Hotel Chef” nominee member of the James Beard Foundation.
Next up we have Chef Dana Wilkinson, who in his own words considers himself a “cultural hybrid” in both his diverse cooking methods and in his own personal background. He was born here in the US, to a mother who hails from the Bahamas and to a father, who is British. Chef Dana has said that his first love of cooking was kindled during his childhood in Nassau, Bahamas. He had spent a large amount of time learning cooking skills under the watchful guidance of his Jamaican grandmothers.
He attended boarding schools in both Canada and Switzerland, where he was introduced to diverse cultural origins, flavors and tastes. Even later as a student at Boston University, Chef Dana was further immersed in the cooking disciplines and practical training at the Ritz Carlton, Boston Culinary Department. He was so immersed in learning that his one-month internship lasted three years!
Chef Wilkinson has had the privilege of working in just about every culinary position possible during the 32 years invested in learning his craft. He has worked in extremely high-quality properties that include, The Atlantis Resort Paradise Island in the Bahamas and locally at The Registry Resort Naples, Pazzo!, Chops City Grill and Campiello.
Another significant trait that Chef Dana possesses is passion; he is all about developing synergy and effective teamwork in the kitchen and also mentoring and teaching up-and-coming young chefs new to the business. As a devoted husband and father, Dana thinks of all of us in the Shula’s kitchen as family.
So no matter what meal you come to Shula’s to enjoy, you can rest assured that these culinary masters are truly cooking up some magic in the Shula’s Naples kitchen!