In the Kitchen… with Colin Estrem of 7th Avenue Social

by Dorothea Hunter Sönne

On the eve of 7th Avenue Social’s second anniversary, the restaurant that celebrates South Florida cookery got a new chef—and he didn’t come from very far. Owner Colin Estrem stepped in when the latest round of chef chess ended with Paradise Wine poaching Francisco Pomalaza. Estrem, with a significant culinary background and training in the U.S. and Spain, has worn the executive chef mantle before. But this time, he’s in his own kitchen.

What made you want to put on your chef’s jacket again?

First of all, Cisco is super-talented, and he left on the best of terms. I’m really happy for him. When he announced he was leaving, I thought to myself, “Should I or shouldn’t I look around for a new chef?” That’s when I took my clogs and knives out of the closet and decided to go back in the kitchen.

How has the adjustment been?

I’ve never been more excited than I am now to work in the kitchen. I didn’t want to get sucked back into the long work hours. For me, when I launched The Social, that was the true mastery of being an entrepreneur. But I realized I don’t enjoy the restaurant as much if I’m at home every night at 7 p.m. I have been there a lot lately, and I’m thankful my wife and family have been super-supportive.

Are you redoing the menu? What can diners expect?

We’re keeping things the same for now. I’ve got to get through season to make the changes I want, but I’ve got lots of ideas. I’m really excited. We redid our website, and we’re going to put a tab for SoFlo recipes. We hope people will enjoy it. I’m also doing Facebook Live, and I’m featuring some of the products that we use. I was last at Colusa Farms talking about microgreens. I’m super-inspired, and I want to take this South Florida cooking to the next level.