Talavera, Jaguar, Peacock Garden
Hi all—I'm working on a project that involves interviewing chefs from around the country. Being formerly Boston-based and currently Denver-based, I've got the NE and the SW well covered, but I don't know the SE at all.
Oscar del Rivero has gotten my attention, but I always trust Chowhound to give me a boots-on-the-ground sense of things. I did a cursory board search, and it seems he's got a solid local rep; is a that fair assessment on my part? Is he among the most beloved, but not overexposed, MIA-area chefs? If so or if not, whom (else) do you consider your city's favorite sons & daughters?
Having had dinner at Peacock Garden Cafe just last night, I think you have found a very interesting chef that has not craved the broad attention other Miami chefs have received in the last few years. Oscar not only is offering Coconut Grove an exceptional restaurant, but the other two (Jaguar and Talavera) are still open and doing very well. He's a talented guy.
Jaguar and Talavera are good, serviceable restaurants, but - not to take anything away from him - I don't think Oscar del Rivero is one of the first names to leap to mind when people think of "Miami chefs."
If you don't want "overexposed," you'll have to pass on Michelle Bernstein and Michael Schwartz, who would be the prom king and queen of Miami dining these days. Timon Balloo is a great suggestion, as are Kris (not "Chris") Wessel and Kevin Cory. Samuel Gorenstein is talented but a bit hamstrung by the steakhouse menu format at BLT Steak.
Some other folks to consider: Richard Hales at Sakaya Kitchen, Jeremiah Bullfrog of the gastroPod, Joshua Marcus at Chowdown Grill, Jose Mendin at Pubbelly, Alex Piñero at Sustain, Gabe Fenton at Bourbon Steak (a bit of the same issue as Gorenstein at BLT).
You could also consider some of the folks working for the "big name" folks: Berenice de Araujo, chef de cuisine at Bernstein's Sra. Martinez; Jason Schaan, CDC at Michy's; Bradley Herron, CDC at Michael's Genuine.
Bernstein and Schwartz are the two biggest chefs in Miami by far, but Timon Balloo of Sugarcane and Chris Wessel of Red Light are excellent choices. Kevin Cory of NAOE has the most interesting menu in Miami right now. Chef Samuel Gorenstein of BLT Steak is another worth mentioning.
7700 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL 33138
175 Sunny Isles Boulevard, Sunny Isles Beach, FL 33160