James Bowers was born and raised in the County of Dade. A Miami native who grew up on the water and fixing cars.
His first kitchen job was as a dishwasher when he was 19. Quickly moving to a prep cook , then line cook. Three times James escaped the kitchen to pursue other ventures. Restoring old cars, architecture and growing algae for research. In 2011, he joined Arron’s Catering as a Sous Chef. There he honed his skills catering some of Miami’s top events.
In 2012, Miami Smokers was created with Chef Andres Barrientos. Miami Smokers has grown to become the premier place in South Florida for nose to tail charcuterie.
Andres Barrientos is a Miami native who discovered his love for cooking and hospitality long before he attended Jonson & Wales University; although, the classical training and work experience he acquired while at the University laid the foundation for his future endeavors.
After Johnson & Wales Andres spent the next 8 years traveling and fueling his passion for adventure all the while learning about food from people, places, and experiences. After a stint on the west coast in 2010, Andres landed back in Miami. Happy to be home, he took a position with Brian Aaron of Aarons Catering, and immediately put his talents and life experiences to work. The duo won on the Food Network and Scott Conant’s “24 Hour Restaurant Battle” ; and with Andres at the helm, Aarons Catering garnered a number of catering industry accolades and Cater Source speaking engagements. 2012 brought more exposure and experiences for Andres with the launch of Miami Smokers – Urban Smokehouse and the wildly popular Basel Biergarten.
Since then Miami Smokers has opened a deli and smokehouse in Little Havana, and is recognized as a destination for the best pork in the Magic City. In 2015 Andres competed and won yet another Food Network show, “BBQ Blitz”, where he competed against other local favorites Giorgio Rapicavoli (Eating House, Glass & Vine) and Jessica Suarez (Loba). The victory on BBQ Blitz came just as Miami Smokers BBQ & Brews opened in Little Havana on Calle Ocho.