Khong River House's Chef Bee is sharing kitchen duty this Thursday, May 30, when Top Chef alum Dale Talde flies in from Brooklyn for this month's Upstairs at Khong Chef's Table.
The family-style dinner starts at 8 p.m. and features both chefs serving up a host of their favorite dishes, while mingling with diners. The meal is priced at $75 per person, and includes a welcome drink. Reservations are strongly suggested by calling 305-763-8147.
We spoke with chef Talde about what he's planning to serve, and what happens behind the scenes at Top Chef.
New Times: You're the first out-of-towner to do the chef dinner series at Khong. Why did you decide to be the first one?
Dale Talde: I've met some of the 50 Eggs partners. They called me and that's how it came about. I love Miami. I think it's so ready for Southeast Asian food. I think there's an audience for that right now.
How will the dinner work?
We're doing a collaborative menu. I just dislocated my shoulder so I'm bringing my sous chef with me to help me along.
What happened to your shoulder? Kitchen-related?
I'm a moron. I wrecked it on my bike.
Do you have the menu in mind for the Khong dinner?
We're doing one of my more popular dishes here at Talde, one of my restaurants in Brooklyn. It's fish, typically marinated in turmeric, a little roasted tomato, fish sauce, coriander, and spices, then roasted in a banana leaf. We serve it with moo shu pancakes on the side. It's kind of is like a play on a fish taco, since moo shu pancakes are somewhat similar to a flour tortilla.
The culinary team at Talde were playing around with some ideas, and everyone loves fish tacos, and that turned into this dish. They're light and bright and you feel full and sated, but you don't feel bad afterward.
We're also trying to bring a bit of Brooklyn to Miami. I live in downtown Brooklyn, and a lot of our inspiration comes from walking the street. In Brooklyn, you can't miss the halal cart. I love the halal cart. I love lamb schwarma, so were taking a lamb loin and marinating it in cardamom, anise, cinnamon, and garlic. We're charring it rare and serving it with a pita bread, white sauce, and hot sauce. Kind of what you would get when you ask for a lamb on a pita at the halal cart.
How often do you get to Miami?
I'm there once or twice a year. I was there for about two months during the opening of Makoto. I love what the Pubbelly boys are doing, and Burger & Beer Joint. That's some of the best bar food I've ever had.
In my mind's eye, when you think of Miami you think of Collins Avenue, but when you get out of that strip there are so many really great little sleepy beach towns. Sure, partying is cool, but when you scratch the surface, I like sitting around and having Cuban and Peruvian food. I love Hakkasan, but I also love getting a good Cuban.
OK, Top Chef, tell us one thing that nobody knows about the show.
It's like this. When you're an adult and the freedom to make your own decisions, eat and sleep when you want -- even go to the bathroom -- are stripped away from you because it's part of a production, you become a child. So I reverted to acting like a child. Like a 13-year-old boy that's going through really bad puberty. So I was whiny and bitchy. Then, when that's complied with constantly being with 19 other people whom you may or may not like, some crazy fights break out over stupid shit. There's a Lord of the Flies aspect to it. There's a Walking Dead aspect to it.
Does that mean you wouldn't do another show?
For me, when I left that show, it afforded me the opportunity to open a few restaurants. I always wanted to open a restaurant and to be my own chef. I'm a restaurateur, but I'm still a chef. I consider myself a chef, first.
Any chance you'd ever open a restaurant in Miami?
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We'd love to. It's a discussion I've had before with my partners. We'd love to have a piece of Miami. If it were the right space, we'd love it love it love it.