What are some of your favorite Miami restaurants, and what do you order?
I love Yakko-San
. I get the fish collar. That's so good! I love Xixon
. Their razor clams are amazing. Pincho Man -- he's located in Doral. The Pincho deluxe is delicious. It's got barbecue ketchup. His secret: crazy sauces, crunchy potatoes.
What is your favorite junk-food fix?
I love Five Guys
. I eat 'em, like, big -- five patties of meat in a burger. I like Snickers ice-cream bars a lot. I love the key lime cake from Bob's Bunz
in Islamorada. And Nutella on anything. I eat Nutella with Cheetos puffs.
That sounds absolutely disgusting.
Nah, it's really good.
What's always in your fridge at home?
Tom Jenkins' barbecue sauce, Dr. Pepper, my grandmother's pickled eggplant... real Parm[esan].
What's the one ingredient that confounds you?
I've never made sushi rice. I love good sushi rice.
Any ingredient you hate working with?
Mustard. Yellow mustard is the most appalling, repulsive thing in the world.
What is found on too many menus?
Truffled mac and cheese.
What five words would you use to describe your food?
Unpretentious, natural... everything I like. Can I say that? Or simple, comforting, feel-good, recognizable.
What five words would you use to describe yourself?
Hungry, pretty relaxed, eager to learn.
What music do you and the guys listen to in the kitchen?
A lot of dubstep, a lot of Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Jack Johnson, Melody Gardot...
That's quite a mix.
On busy nights, we listen to the whole Zeppelin discography.
What Miami chefs do you hang out with?
None. Chefs are basically assholes. They're so egotistical and maniacal sometimes.
And you don't fall into those categories?
I'm not a stereotypical chef. I work the line and clean my fryers. You aren't gonna see too many chefs who do that.
What does the future hold for you?
The next thing I want to learn about is black holes. And synesthesia -- it's the bonding of senses. Like sounds create colors, music has a taste.
I meant professionally speaking.
I want to do what I do here. I have my own restaurant, if you think about it. Except I would probably have a wood-burning oven. And I'd like to have a rooftop garden. I'm not a very big locavore. If it doesn't taste good, I couldn't give a shit if the food comes from around here.
Anything else you want to add?
I don't like the foodie trend. Enough with the global tapas restaurants. Stop with the food trucks.
But you mentioned Pincho Man.
That's because he's a real food truck. Not these fake food trucks we have now. Real food trucks come because you don't have the means to survive and support your family and you bust your ass -- not because you're some pretentious chef cooking hot dogs in a sous vide. I eat at Pincho Man because he's been there eight years and he doesn't have the papers to open up a restaurant. That's all he could do. Not because it's the "cool" thing to do.
So what is Miami's food culture to you?
We don't have our own scene. We take a New York restaurant and bring it here. The only ones that survive are Versailles and Havana Harry's because that's what we love. That's who we are. We're not Hakkasan and Scarpetta. Our food is humble. Those are the places I like -- when it's a means to survive.
Hungry for some of Rapicavoli's "humble" pappardelle carbonara? Check back tomorrow for the recipe.