Yukie Horita is a Japanese born international chef that fell in love with South Florida while traveling here on vacation. Through a chance meeting she met Mama Mia Italian Ristorante’s owner Joseph Franco, and over a mutual passion for food she was brought on board as his Executive Chef.
Most of her childhood was spent in the kitchen helping her family prep and cook food. So when she graduated high school early at the young age of sixteen, young Yukie already knew that she wanted to become a professional chef. However, it would not be an easy road. At seventeen she enrolled in Japan’s Tsuji Cooking School . A school for which she would become their first female student. For the next decade she would dedicate herself to practicing her craft and showing everyone around her that a woman can become a professional chef in a male dominated industry. In many ways it was this very perseverance that pushed her skills to the limit making her the first female chef to ever graduate from the Japanese institution.
After leaving Japan, Yukie traveled the world until she settled in China and continued her culinary education by attending the Ximmein Culinary School. Once again being the only woman in her class, this further pushed her to be the best chef possible. She learned from the very inventors of pasta how to make it properly. Skills she still carries today that can both be seen and tasted with the fresh pasta she makes daily.
The next stop on Yukie’s culinary adventure was Napolis, Italy. For the next three years she focused her skills at La Cousina Tradizionale Italiano as their executive chef. A restaurant found on the countryside of Frata Myorder, Italy. It is here where her Italian Culinary skills came into their own and she was able to finally save enough money to open her very own restaurant in Barcelona, Spain. The restaurant was a great success and many restaurants were to follow.
During these years living abroad Yukie would learn to speak seven languages and travel to Florida every year. It wasn’t until 2006 that she decided to make the move to Florida permanently. Her first American restaurant would be the French Cafe in Misner Park, Boca Raton. Although as successful as it was, she would continue her culinary education at the Le Cordon Bleu, receiving her culinary masters in 2011. She would eventually become a professor there, and still teaches in her free time. Later she would sell the French Cafe to start a family, only to return to cooking at Hollywood’s famous Mama Mia Italian Ristorante where she can be found today.
Yukie’s culinary learning experience was without question a long and difficult road. However, the fruits of her labor can now be enjoyed by everyone in the South Florida community. Through her techniques and palate she brings a sophistication and expertise rarely found in a family restaurant. But do not let her quiet demeanor fool you. Behind her modesty is a world renown chef, and through her food she will take you on a journey on why Italian Food has become the great American staple it is today.