Imagine quitting your job at the peak of your career, escaping your home country on a raft, and starting over in a country where no one speaks your language.
That’s what Chef Joel Ferrer did in 2007. After 20 years working as an executive chef under Fidel Castro in some of Cuba’s most elite restaurants and hotels, he escaped by raft to Mexico with his wife Yinet and their children.
Joel restarted his career studying at Le Cordon Bleu USA. A year later, he moved his family to Georgia where he served as executive chef at the Coco Cabana Restaurant until 2020.
Today, he draws on his rich history as a chef of 35+ years to create uniquely beautiful dishes for events in Atlanta GA and across the US. He has been privileged to serve a wide variety of groups, including musical artists like For King and Country, Grupo Firme, Sech, Gypsy Kings, Angeles Asules, Camilo y Evaluna, Farruko, Karol G, Wisin, and many others. He has been hailed,"Chef de las Estrellas" (Chef to the Stars).
Chef Joel says: “A chef is an artist, just like musicians. It’s art — creating recipes, creating food.
When a musician creates music, he’s not thinking about money; he’s thinking about music. And when his customer feels the music and he feels that connection, it’s the same thing with chefs. When we create recipes and feel how the customer’s feeling and see their face, it’s what we love. It’s the fire.”
Joel’s wife Yinet has been with him through thick and thin.
In Cuba, she studied a 2.5 year curriculum to become a waitress –training which mirrors that of a Michelin-starred restaurant. Now, she serves as vice president of Chef Joel Coco Cabana LLC.
In 2022, Joel and Yinet opened CUBAN CAFÉ in Flowery Branch, GA – a full-menu restaurant where they serve authentic food with classic Cuban warmth and style.