This week’s Chef in the Spotlight is Peter Vauthy, executive chef and partner of Red The Steakhouse, Miami and Boca Raton. In my book, Food Lovers’ Guide to Miami & Fort Lauderdale I penned that Red is the steakhouse “where you come for that quiet dinner –romantic or business- without the hype and scene. Dark,sexy and subtle.” The Miami Beach locale is a sleeper steakhouse; keeping company with its glitz and glam counterparts Red simply ignores the South Beach “hype and scene” and moves along successfully and quietly doing its own traditional thing. This week we find out just how and who is behind the quiet success of Red. I present this week’s Chef in the Spotlight, Peter Vauthy of Red The Steakhouse
South Florida Food and Wine.com: Where do you get your culinary inspiration?
Peter Vauthy: It can come from anywhere. Other chefs are always inspiring me to try something different. It can happen in the middle of the night and I might jot down some ideas and they will come to fruition days later while cooking. Or perhaps a memory strikes me of food from when I was younger and it inspires me to figure out what it was that made that experience exceptional.
South Florida Food and Wine.com: When did you realize that cooking was your passion?
Peter Vauthy: I had my first cookbook when I was 4, but at the time being a chef is not looked upon in the same light as it is today. I went to college, then grad school and realized that cooking made people happy and that was what I wanted to do, making people happy though my cuisine.
South Florida Food and Wine.com: What made Brad Friedlander and yourself choose Boca Raton as the new location for Red, The Steakhouse?
Peter Vauthy: It was an excellent opportunity for us to branch out and enter our concepts to a hotel which was a new and exciting challenge. Brad and Jonathan Gross our COO, identified it as an area that we could bring our brand of hospitality and be successful.
South Florida Food and Wine.com: Miami to Boca; Boca to Miami and back again, that’s going to be quite a haul, what are you plans to be in two places at once?
Peter Vauthy: I try to spend as much time in both locations as possible but you must rely upon the chefs you have to execute at the level you demand. In Boca my partner Jonathan Bennett is on the property, he is a serious chef and was my mentor and trained me, his abilities to create food is unparalleled so that helps with keeping things up to the level that we require.
South Florida Food and Wine.com: What is your one go-to ingredient and why?
Peter Vauthy: A real tomato! The flavors that come from true heirloom tomatoes are so vast and different they can be applied to all aspects of cooking. From the beauty of a stuffing tomato, the richness of stewed san marzanos, the meatiness of a Cherokee purple, or the sweetness of a pineapple heirloom, their versatility is magical.
South Florida Food and Wine.com: It’s your last day on earth, what would your final meal be?
Peter Vauthy: Lobster roll from Jordan’s Snack Bar in Ellsworth Maine, A perfectly grilled Certified Angus Beef Prime Ribeye with foraged mushrooms, and to close our cheesecake from RED. I could die a happy man with just that
South Florida Food and Wine.com: Who is the one person you would love to cook with and why?
Peter Vauthy: I grew up pulling on the aprons of my grandmothers and great grandmothers cooking up a storm in kitchens so small I look back and am stunned by what they could accomplish in them. So a chance to cook for these masters of the kitchen would be my wish. To find how they could make flavors so bright and vibrant that still sticks in my mind. What I wouldn’t do to find out what they put in that after dinner salami sandwich that even when full you couldn’t bear to turn down.
South Florida Food and Wine.com: What is your one guilty pleasure food?
Peter Vauthy: As a chef having only one is next to impossible! But if that’s the case I would choose great bbq ribs but the list is endless
South Florida Food and Wine.com: What was the last restaurant you ate at? other than your own:
Peter Vauthy: Hakassan at the Fontainebleau Hotel. The food here is beyond exceptional and is a hidden gem. It puts Chinese food at such a high level that I am always stunned by the level of consistency and perfection. Kudos to them!
South Florida Food and Wine.com: Who would you most like to cook for? And why?
Peter Vauthy: Both my grandfathers. They both loved to eat and understood the value of a great meal. They both gave me guidance and helped me get my career going. A chance for me to showcase my culinary abilities for them would be such a great pleasure. Eating for them was a celebration of life and would love to have them in my restaurant to do that again
South Florida Food and Wine.com: Assuming you get one; it’s your day off, what do you do for fun?
Peter Vauthy: I relax, play with my dogs and catchup with the world and find a place to eat something delicious.
Red, the Steakhouse, South Beach
119 Washington Ave.
Miami Beach, FL 33139
Red, The Steakhouse, Boca Raton
1901 N. Military Trail
Boca Raton, FL 33427
Love the South Florida food scene? Check out our newly published book (Globe Pequot Press, $14.95), Food Lovers’ Guide to Miami & Fort Lauderdale