About area 31 in downtown miami
Area 31's breathtaking vistas provide the wow factor, but Chef Alex's elegant yet approachable cuisine draws full attention to the plate. Our name is drawn from Fishing Area 31, an international zone designated by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization as a sustainable fishery, a vision that Area 31 embraces and advances. From the kitchen to the bar, we like to source local—so local, in fact, that sometimes we don’t even have to leave the premises! Our on-site herb garden provides fresh ingredients to both the kitchen and the bar and is located on our spectacular outdoor Terrace Lounge, Miami’s favorite elevated hangout. Habitually innovative, often breathtaking and always welcoming, Area 31 is here to make sure you're never more than an elevator ride from a singular Miami experience.
Alex Olivier, Executive Chef
A South African native, Executive Chef Alex Olivier grew up in the small historical town of Vryheid, where his curiosity for food started as a child. From an early age, Olivier hunted wild springbok with his father, enjoying the process of butchering and curing meat for family meals.
Olivier got his professional culinary career started in Cape Town, where he was introduced to high-end cuisine and culinary training at the luxurious, Sol Kerzner’s Beverly Hills Hotel, South Africa's first five-star hotel in Umhlanga. He earned a diploma in Culinary Arts and Hotel Management from the Technicon of Witwatersrand Hotel School, specializing in French Cuisine.
Olivier soon traded the wondrous mountains of Cape Town for the high seas of Crystal Cruises Symphony, a luxury cruise line, where he landed a position as Chef Poissonier. He soon landed in London, where he earned a position as Sous Chef at the world famous Blokes Hotel, and honed his cooking skills under the tutelage of renowned Michelin Chefs Tom Aikens and Neville Campbell.
In 2010, Olivier was tapped by the Hilton group to lead the kitchen of Hilton Bonnet Creek; in 2013, he was promoted to Executive Chef at the Waldorf Astoria Orlando. In August 2017, Olivier joined the Kimpton EPIC Hotel team as the Executive Chef of Area 31.
“I like to introduce people of exotic flavors – ingredients from my South African upbringing, as well flavors from my travels. Food and travel are my two passions and I want guests to taste this in my food.” – Chef Alex
Amy Currens, Beverage Director and Sommelier
With over 13 years of experience, Currens has become an important figure in her field, as an expert beverage director, sommelier and educator. She is a Court of Master Sommeliers Advanced Certified Sommelier and the recipient of the Advanced Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET) Award.
She joined the Kimpton EPIC family in spring 2018 and currently oversees the beverage program of the Downtown Miami hotel and the 16th floor rooftop restaurant, Area 31. Her enthusiasm for wine education continues through a desire to perpetuate inviting community, a passion she channeled by teaching at the San Francisco Wine Center; she led tasting courses and passed on her extensive knowledge to an ever growing wine community. “Hospitality and education play a big role in my heart along with being connected to the global wine community,” she says. “I enjoy collaborating with others, sharing the knowledge by tasting and respecting how much work goes into studying and crafting wine, but not taking it so seriously or removing the fun out of it.”
In addition to education, philanthropy plays a big part in her career; she has volunteered at several industry fundraising events such as Make-A-Wish Foundation’s Wine & Wishes, Meals on Wheels and Pebble Beach Food & Wine Festival, among others.
Benny Hernandez, Lead Bartender
As Area 31’s Lead Bartender, Benny brings creativity and passion to Kimpton EPIC Hotel’s bar program. A Miami bar industry veteran, Benny has been instrumental in the opening of various popular local bars, including Finka Table and Tap, as well as EPIC’s own LILT Lounge, among others. His lust for travel and curiosity for other cultures are evident in the flavors and ingredients showcased in his creations.
Having lived in exotic countries such as Istanbul, Benny brings a worldly touch to every cocktail he crafts. “Traveling has a very real and transformative effect in me as a person and as a bartender. Everyone should attempt it, at least once.” When not bartending, Benny enjoys traveling (of course!), a lust that has taken him to enchanting destinations such as Morocco, Spain and Portugal. His favorite cocktails include a classic Sazerac and a good Raki (Turkey’s signature apéritif). When bartending, His favorite thing to hear is “Que rico, meng!,” Spanish for “that’s so good, man!,” an ode to his Cuban-American heritage.