What Is Black Gold? Get Your Own Bulb of Black Garlic From the Little House in Boynton Beach

Categories: Ask the Chef

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Nicole Danna
Black garlic from the Little House in Boynton Beach.
In the culinary world, the term "black gold" is usually reserved for truffles, those delicious mushrooms that make everything taste better. But did you know that black gold could also be black garlic, which is equally tasty -- and, perhaps, a little easier to come by? Although it may sound like one of those items you don't really need, we're going to insist that -- yes, you do.

Clean Plate Charlie stumbled upon it this weekend, when the Little House owner Chrissy Benoit -- founder of Lake Worth's Havana hideout -- gave us a taste of some in her Boynton restaurant. Recently, she's been using black garlic to flavor some of the Little House's most popular dishes, including the daily mac and cheese.

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Top Chef Ron Duprat on the Florida-New Orleans Creole Connection

Categories: Ask the Chef

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Courtesy of Ron Duprat
Chef Ron Duprat
South Florida and New Orleans share many culinary connections, namely Creole, a style of cooking chef Ron Duprat has spent his life learning and perfecting.

His drive to be the top Creole chef America stems from his youth in Haiti, learning in the kitchen under the tutelage of his grandmother, who was trained as a French chef. Living in poverty and going hungry as a youth was another motivating factor to becoming a chef. Since taking this path, Duprat has earned a long list of accomplishments that include several stints as an executive chef and even being selected as a culinary ambassador by the U.S. State Department.

See Also: Behind the Line: An Interview with Latitudes' Executive Chef and Top Chef Contestant Ron Duprat

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Paula DaSilva Talks Fort Lauderdale and Revamping 3030 Ocean

Categories: Ask the Chef
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Image courtesy 3030 Ocean
DaSilva.
When it was announced that Paula Da Silva, chef at farm-to-table restaurant 1500 Degrees inside the historic Eden Roc Miami Beach would move to Fort Lauderdale's 
3030 Ocean, Miami's loss was Fort Lauderdale's gain.


DaSilva returned to Broward County, the place where she began her well-publicized career under chef Dean Max way back in 2000. In July it was announced that Max and 3030 would part ways.

See also: Paula DaSilva Returning to the Kitchen at 3030 Ocean in August


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Fulvio Sardelli Talks Sous Vide Cooking, Life in the Kitchen, and Restaurant Empires

Categories: Ask the Chef

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All photos by Zachary Fagenson
Fulvio Sardelli Jr. in the kitchen.
Hollywood restaurateur Fulvio Sardelli Jr. is turning the third floor of his family's pricey, beachside steak house into a chef's room where he'll soon serve tasting menus for groups as small as four and as big as 30.

"For me, it's not about eating," he says. "It's all about entertaining and the people who come into the room."

With three restaurants in the family -- Sardelli's, Fulvio's 1900, and gastropub Tipsy Boar -- Fulvio is trying to figure out what comes next.

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Buy Fish Like Wild Sea Oyster Bar & Grille's Jon Sanchez

Categories: Ask the Chef

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Image via Wild Sea Oyster Bar & Grille on Facebook
Sanchez says to trust your senses, almost all five of them.
First, just stay away from the individually wrapped, frozen fish fillets. Don't look at them, don't think about them, and forget they even exist.

Buying fish can often be a daunting task. With rampant concerns over genetically modified species, sustainability, and the long-term effects of farmed fish on health, it's easy to stand at a fish counter temporarily stunned by fear and simple confusion.

The first step to getting past it is to buy fish whole. When you buy the whole animal, you can look at small details.

Make sure the eyes are clear, says Wild Sea Oyster Bar & Grille's chef de cuisine Jon Sanchez. "The redder the gills, the better."

See Also:
Wild Sea Oyster Bar & Grille Sets a New Seafood Standard for Las Olas
Hot Peppers: Awesome Trinidadian Food in Pembroke Pines

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The Grateful Palate's Executive Chef, Hector Lopez, Shares His Recipe for Kangaroo Pithivier

Categories: Ask the Chef
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Andres Aravena
The Grateful Palate's salmon tartare.

If you're looking for a reason to be grateful for good food in Fort Lauderdale, be sure to stop by the Grateful Palate. With a colorful global menu and inspiring up-and-coming chef behind exotic, creative small plates, it's an unexpected treat hidden amid the businesses that make up the city's bustling 17th Street yachting district.

The Grateful Palate's executive chef, Hector Lopez, oversees all of the operations of the restaurant, including the restaurant's busy yacht provisioning department. Unlike most chefs, Lopez's responsibilities include developing recipes and designing the restaurant's seasonal menu, as well as coordinating the purchasing of some very hard-to-find products from all over the world.

Here, it's not unusual for customers to request offbeat ingredients including guinea pig and kangaroo.

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Sweetwater Bar & Grill: Executive Chef Alberto Diaz Revamps His Menu

Categories: Ask the Chef
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Nicole Danna
Alberto Diaz at Sweetwater in Boynton Beach.
Sweetwater Executive Chef Alberto Diaz has always enjoyed cooking. Originally from Puerto Rico, he was always looking to perfect his craft at home, preparing standard Latin cuisine for his family.

"I was always trying to make the perfect mofongo, the best braised pork shoulder, or the quinitessential rice and beans," Diaz said.

It never occurred to him that one day he'd switch from a career in communications to becoming a full-time professional chef. 

Diaz's kitchen career began at Apicius in Lantana, a high-end Italian eatery that closed in late 2011. His passion grew alongside chef Mario Molliere -- a French-born chef who has cooked for a three-star Michelin restaurant -- from whom Diaz learned to cook like the best of them. 

Today, Diaz executes dishes that balance flavor, texture and color to match the hand-crafted cocktails served alongside his food at Sweetwater Bar & Grill in Boynton Beach.

See Also:

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When a Restaurant Experience is Horrible, Is It Ever OK Not to Pay?

Categories: Ask the Chef

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Laine Doss' report in New Times yesterday regarding the alleged shoddy treatment of a foodie blogger in a newly opened establishment in Miami brought to mind painful memories of a similar experience I had years ago, and begs the question, at what point during a "horrible" dining experience is it OK to get up and leave? Or, is it never "OK" to bolt without paying? The line, if there is one, is blurry at best. We have all had bad experiences in restaurants before. Poor food quality, bad service, cleanliness issues, you name it -- there are many opportunities for restaurants to lose our business. Have you had an experience that was so bad, that you left without paying, even after attempting to make it right with management?

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Saigon Tokyo In Greenacres Is Truly a Hidden Gem

Categories: Ask the Chef
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When I am feeling guilty about my recent eating habits, I like to head over to Saigon Tokyo in Greenacres. Nothing gets me back on the right track like eating a huge bowl of pho, and Saigon Tokyo prepares it consistently well. First off, please don't judge this place by appearance only. It looks like any other strip mall variety "sushi-Thai" joint that you have seen in South Florida, swarming with retirees looking to use two coupons at the same time, but you have to see this menu! I have not found a better Vietnamese restaurant anywhere in Palm Beach County.More »

Napoleon Bakery in West Palm Beach: Homemade Sausage, Spanish Tapas, and Canned Oysters

Categories: Ask the Chef
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Trip Advisor
I have driven past Napoleon Bakery about 870 times and never given it a second glance until the other day, when upon the urging of my friend Steve, we stopped in.

The facade of the building looks a bit Disney-esque, like a candy "shoppe" in Fantasyland circa 1970. Clapboard covered windows, flower filled window boxes, and a cheesy orange and pink color scheme complete Napoleon's look, two stories of homemade goodness on an otherwise desolate stretch of Dixie Highway.More »

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