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Community spotlight: Pablo Felin

Taking the heat out of the kitchen, Fresh Catch Bistro's chef firing up his patrons

April 6, 2016
By John Morton ( , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

Q: You are the chef at Fresh Catch Bistro. Tell us about how you got started in the profession and what brought you to your current job on Fort Myers Beach?

A: "I started in the profession about 30 years ago. Being from Puerto Rico, I loved the beach so I moved to the Fort Myers area. (Owner) Alfredo (Russo) offered me an exceptional opportunity as his executive chef. I accepted it only because he gave me the latitude to be creative without my hands being tied, so to speak."

Q: Fine dining is your specialty, with an emphasis on seafood. Does this mirror your personal tastes?

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Pablo Felin, the executive chef at Fresh Catch Bistro, lights up the night with a table-side serving of a flambe dessert.

A: "It doesn't mirror my personal tastes, because growing up I primarily ate Caribbean food. However, when I infuse the Caribbean style with seafood it creates a whole new world for me. I believe this is a perfect fit for Fresh Catch Bistro and the Fort Myers Beach community."

Q: What is the most elaborate and/or challenging dish you prepare?

A: "Every night I like to unwind in front of my piano and contemplate what elaborate specialty dish I will create for my guests the following night. When I see the faces of my guests after eating my creation for that evening, it gives me great pleasure knowing I have come out with another great sensation."

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Q: You have recently added to your repertoire a New York-style flambe dessert menu, featuring cherries jubilee and bananas foster dishes, that you literally set aflame at a patron's table. How did this come about and what have been the results?

A: "The key words are 'old school.' After creating a sensational dinner, what's better than to top it off with an old-school-style dessert? This dessert brings joy to our guests who have tried it in the past and also those trying it for the first time. You should see their faces light up, but the pleasure is all mine."

Q: Being the lead person in the kitchen of an establishment known for fine dining can be a lot of pressure. How do you handle it?

A: "I had the opportunity to hand pick the best culinary team to assist me in the daily operation of the kitchen. This has enabled me to interact with my guests without worry, as I know the kitchen is running smoothly."

Q: When someone pushes you to recommend just one dish, what do you tell them?

A: "I recommend the special, since it is only available that one evening. I also receive several requests for special-need dishes, such as gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan. When this occurs, I go speak to the guest to create a perfect dish for the evening."

(Community Spotlight features a resident each week who has an interesting occupation, activity, or story to tell. Please submit subjects you feel are worthy of some recognition to editor John Morton by calling 765-0400, ext. 102, or by email at



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