Set in Miami’s Hispanic heart, Life House, Little Havana has taken the spirit of its locale and translated it to a new rooftop restaurant, Terras with unrivaled views of the Miami skyline. The tropically overgrown rooftop bar and restaurant serves up a menu inspired by street foods found in Latin America. We had a brief chat with chef Harry Capacetti—who brings over 14 years of experience in the city’s storied restaurants—and is currently very busy in the kitchen creating plant and vegetable-forward dishes.
Q: When and how did you get started in the kitchen?
I was about five years old when cooking sparked my interest; watching how it brought people together and watching my mom cook family meals. I would always help her prepare fresh Puerto Rican bread and pastry—one of my favorites is a traditional rice dish called Arroz con Gandules. My mom would also send me to Puerto Rico to stay with my grandparents for the summers. That’s where I learnt old-school cooking techniques which I still use to this day. I would go farming in the mountains with my grandfather who showed me how to dig up root vegetables and harvest coffee. I was eight when I learned how to properly butcher a pig and cook it over open-fire rotisseries—that’s when I felt true respect for food. I knew then that I wanted to be a chef. I graduated high school and went straight to culinary school. Once I finished school, I moved back home to El Paso, Texas. El Paso is not very known for its cuisine and so I moved to south Florida for my career.
Q: Who has been an inspiration in your cooking career?
My biggest inspirations are my mom and grandparents. For my in-depth culinary knowledge, it would be Jeremy Ford, Jean-Goerges, and Greg Brainin.
Q: What is your favorite style of cooking?
Italian and Latin cuisine. I love learning crazy and new techniques through science as well.
Q: What is your favorite item on the menu in any of your kitchens right now?
Our own mezze platter is just so vibrant. I love to see people’s faces when all these small plates hit the table and their eyes open wide and they pull their phones out to take that Instagram shot. The clam dish is another personal favorite.