Julie Franssignature chef / culinary concepts
As the Signature Chef at The Palms Hotel & Spa, Frans oversees the culinary concept throughout the hotel, with a focus on the hotel’s signature restaurant Essensia Restaurant & Lounge. In her position Frans is responsible for the creation and execution of all restaurant menus, lounge and pool menus.
Truly dedicated to providing products that are both good for the body and the environment, Frans culinary philosophy is completely in line with The Palms “inspired by nature” philosophy, reflecting a passion for healthier and whole food living. Her cuisine is inventive, globally-inspired and flavorful. At Essensia, menus follow a farm-to-table approach, offering a varied seasonal selection of global dishes made with premium ingredients and locally sourced produce, meats and seafood. Quarterly seasonal wine dinners, in cooperation with some of South Florida’s finest purveyors of farm-fresh produce, are the highlight of Frans execution of Essensia’s culinary concept.
Originally from San Diego, California, Frans graduated from The University of California Santa Barbara in 2000 and then from the San Diego Culinary Institute in 2006. Frans culinary experience began working as a private chef while traveling the world aboard private and charter yachts. In 2005, she launched Dining Details, a personal chef service and catering company. Her gourmet culinary skills and knowledge catapulted Dining Details from a one-woman operation to a full-service catering company and chef agency servicing a variety of clients including corporate events, daily/weekly in-home cooking service, culinary demonstrations, educational seminars and private dinner parties. Frans completely immersed her efforts into Dining Details overseeing every aspect of the company including menu creation, cuisine preparation and production, sales/marketing and, most importantly, client relations.
In 2009, Frans founded Chickpeas School Lunch Program where she developed and managed school assemblies, enrichment programs and presentations to educate parents and school administrators on child nutrition and special needs diets. In addition, the company worked with several private schools to provide healthy lunches and family dinners for their students. In her new role with The Palms, Frans will continue to work with organizations dedicated to improving and developing healthy eating habits for children in South Florida.
Jaime MaganaOperations Executive Chef
As Operations Executive Chef of The Palms Hotel & Spa, Jaime Magana is responsible for the quality execution and profitability of all food production as it relates to the property’s signature restaurant, Essensia, and the remainder of the hotels’ food & beverage outlets, including banquets. He also oversees the Food Purchasing Office and hands-on training of the culinary staff.
In his position as Operations Executive Chef, Magana collaborates with Essensia’s Signature Chef, Julie Frans, to further develop and evolve the restaurant’s culinary philosophy of farm-to-table gourmet cuisine, and to continue to provide the freshest seasonal cuisine made with produce, meats and seafood primarily sourced from within the State of Florida. In addition, Magana manages all banquet and social catering events, working with the Banquet kitchen to facilitate planned banquet meals according to event orders, directing and administering the planning, preparation, ordering, production and control of event cold and hot food operations in the main kitchen and banquet facilities.
Prior to joining The Palms Hotel & Spa in 2010, Magana honed his 15+ years of culinary experience with the InterContinental Hotel Group starting with an extensive fine dining training program at Restaurant La Rive, located in the InterContinental Amstel Amsterdam. Magana then held a variety of positions within the company’s food & beverage department including Preparation Cook, Demi-Chef, Line Cook, Chef de Partie, Chef Saucier and Sous Chef. In 2005, Magana’s extensive experience, knowledge and dedication secure him the position of Executive Chef at the InterContinental Stephen F. Austin Hotel in Texas where he was responsible for all kitchen operations, profitability, staff training and creation of new menus for all of the property’s outlets and banquets. Then in 2009, Magana served as Executive Banquet Chef at the Inter-Continental Hotel in Huston Texas.
Rodney BarchiExecutive Pastry Chef
The Palms Hotel & Spa and Essensia Restaurant welcome Rodney Barchi as new Pastry Chef. Barchi brings with him a fresh, innovative style of upscale pastries and desserts. As Pastry Chef, Barchi is responsible for creating and supervising the preparation of all desserts and pastries for the hotel and Essensia Restaurant, including the venue’s extensive catering business - from weddings to corporate events.
Barchi is particularly talented with using local, seasonal ingredients in his creation of distinct, flavorful desserts. In keeping with Essensia’s natural gourmet philosophy, Barchi aims at keeping a balance of textures and vibrant colors, making his desserts both dynamic and exciting to the palate. He works creatively at extracting the pure flavors of his ingredients so they stand on their own and do not compete against one another.
Barchi’s philosophy of keeping flavors pure makes him the perfect complement to Signature Chef Julie Frans’ cuisine. Both Frans and Barchi get their inspiration from the farm or garden, creating dishes around the freshest and purest seasonal ingredients available in South Florida.
Born and raised in Guayaquil, Ecuador, Barchi was engulfed by a great variety of fruits and some of the world’s best cacao plantations. At a very early age, he showed interest and promise in the culinary industry, but life brought him to Miami in 2000 to study Business at Florida International University (FIU). The gravitational pull towards the kitchen led Barchi to expand his education in 2009 at the Chaplin School of Hospitality Management at FIU where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management with a focus on Restaurant Management. While studying at FIU, Barchi became involved in the Food Network’s annual South Beach Wine and Food Festival as a Culinary Lead and Student Coordinator and continues to lend his expertise to the festival.
Before joining Essensia Restaurant at The Palms Hotel & Spa, Barchi served as the Executive Pastry Chef at the Forge Restaurant and Wine Bar in Miami Beach. He also worked at the three-time Michelin Star recipient Etoile, Domaine Chandon’s exclusive restaurant in Napa Valley, California.