August 28, 2011

Interview with Joel Huff, Chef de Cuisine at Azul Restaurant at the Mandarin Oriental Miami

…and we’re back. I’ve got lots of stories to tell you but all in due time, today is about The Chef in the Spotlight…

This week’s chef in the spotlight isJoel Huff, Chef de Cuisine at Azul Restaurant at the Mandarin Oriental in Miami. Chef Huff took over the Chefde Cuisine position at Azul back in February 2011. Huff is a world class chefhaving lived, worked, and traveled to many dynamic places such as Thailand,Australia, Japan, and Denmark. This rising star chef honed his skills and earned his stripesall over the world but most notably here in the United States at TydesRestaurant and Coral Café in Santa Barbara as well as being under the tutelage of José Andrés at Saam at The Bazaar in Beverly Hills and Minibar in Washington DC.

Chef Huff is no stranger tothe Mandarin Oriental way of doing things, hailing from MandarinOriental, San Francisco, and New York; Huff brings a modern European cuisine with American and Asian influences to Azul where he hascrafted a new menu usingmany fresh ingredients found in abundance here in South Florida as the catalystfor his menu. Six months into being top chef at Azul and Joel Huff has continued to providean unparalleleddining experience withcutting-edge cuisine, thrilling new andrepeat dinner guests. This week we find out just a bit more about this California native who has brought his easy style and impeccable talent toSouth Florida. I present this week’s Chef in the spotlight, Joel Huff.

Joel Huff, Chef de Cuisine Azul at Mandarin Oriental Miami

South Florida Food and Wine: Where do youget your culinary inspiration?

Joel Huff: I like to visit the local FarmersMarkets on the weekend, seeing the fresh seasonal products inspire new dishesfor me.


South Florida Food and Wine: When did yourealize that cooking was your passion?

Joel Huff: While cooking with my Aunt as ateenager I realized that cooking is something I loved and wanted to make acareer out of it.


South Florida Food and Wine: What is yourfavorite item on your menu?

Joel Huff: Eggs, Bacon, and Toast


South Florida Food and Wine: What is yourfavorite dish to make at home?

Joel Huff: BBQ Chicken Thighs. I use my dad’srecipe.


South Florida Food and Wine: It’s your lastday on earth, what would your final meal be?

JoelHuff: Baja Style Tacos with Tecate Beer


South Florida Food and Wine: Who is the oneperson you would love to cook with and why?

Joel Huff:Heston Blumenthal – I like the wayhe approaches the science of food.

Michel Bras – I like the way he usesnature to inspire him.


South Florida Food and Wine: What is yourone guilty pleasure food?

Joel Huff: Peanut Butter and Chocolate icecream


South Florida Food and Wine: What was thelast restaurant you ate at?

Joel Huff: BB&B, the burgers are huge.


South Florida Food and Wine: Who would youmost like to cook for? And why?

Joel Huff: My Grandpa, he paid for my culinaryeducation but passed away before I began running my own restaurant.


South Florida Food and Wine: It’s your dayoff, what do you do for fun?

Joel Huff: Surf and spend time with my family. 

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Azul Restaurant at the MandarinOriental, Miami 500 Brickell Key Dr, Miami, FL 33131

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