Best Fusion - 2012
— Tell me, Master Norman Van Fusion, what is the secret to gathering cuisines from different cultures and melding them as one?
— Well, little grasshopper, one of the secrets is to employ indigenous foods. That's why Tuyo uses growers, producers, and food artisans of Florida and the American Southeast.
— You mean Key West yellowtail, grilled pompano with Cedar Key clams, Lake Meadow chicken mofongo, Brazilian conch chowder, ceviche with papaya, and yuca-stuffed Gulf shrimp?
— I see you've been studying, curious caterpillar. You have discovered some of the ingredients of my New World cuisine. Knowledge is the key; I have been working in the culinary arts for decades and producing Zen-like combinations of flavors since even before my days at Norman's in Coral Gables.
— You are known far and wide for this, Master; I have even seen you on PBS. But how does one know for sure if rhum-and-pepper-painted golden tilefish on mango-habanero mojo will succumb to oneness with boniato-caramelized plantain mash en poblano?
— You cannot take a shower in a parakeet cage, my earnest worm.
— I do not understand.
— As I tell my disciples at Norman's in Orlando: Years of experience are invaluable when it comes to things like this. Once you understand the essence of food and cooking, the path to fusing ingredients will come.
— And what of your vision?
— Tuyo is fusion. Tuyo is vision. It says that right on my menu. And the vision thing extends to the vista of the Freedom Tower and city skyline one can clearly see from Tuyo's perch atop the Miami Culinary Institute. Quite frankly, it's the sort of vision that can knock your chakra into place.
— This vision of yours, Master, you will spread it to all who seek it?
— I shall spread it to all who can afford to pay $16 for an appetizer and $24 to $44 per entrée. But, my naive cricket, that's a lesson for another day.