Interview: Sean Brasel Gets The 10

Sean Brasel is the chef/co-owner of Miami Beach's sultry steakhouse known appropriately as Meat Market. The restaurant sits in the space formerly occupied by Jonathan Eismann's Pacific Time [You know it's now in the Design District, right? Yeah. Thought so.] and, seemingly, being there has provided some good juju in weird economic times. 

But Brasel hardly needed any luck, voodoo, or any of that because he has a reputation in Miami Beach few can match. Perhaps you remember him as part of the crew that opened Touch nearly a decade ago? This Coloradoan began his career as a sous chef at Cliff Young's in Denver, working his way up the food chain until he landed on Lincoln Road in 2000.  

If you want to see him up close and personal, hopefully you already bought tickets to the Dinner in Paradise event on January 10. Brasel will be cooking alongside heavy-hitters Michael Schwartz, Clay Conley, and Michael Bloise to raise money for the Plant a Thousand Gardens Collaborative Nutrition Initiative.

Now as for a reason why this seemingly nice guy would like to give Lance Armstrong raven shit in his salsa, well... we don't know. But read on:

New Times: If you could serve a meal to any famous person, alive or dead, who would it be and what would you cook for him/her?  

Sean Brasel: Lance Armstrong. I would prepare an organic meal that features high energy proteins and healthy approaches to athletic training foods. Organic ostrich wood grilled with local Homestead organic braised greens, fresh huitlacoche salsa, and yellow chili sauce.

NT: What was your most embarrassing cooking-related moment?  

SB: Once, on television, I was doing a segment on stone crabs and got twisted in the cables with the anchor person and ended up burning his hand on live television.
NT: What food/utensil/technique still confounds you?  

SB: I am starting to learn how to work with nitrogen and learning how to apply it in normal cuisine.
NT: Which chef, alive or dead, would you like to challenge in "Iron Chef" fashion, and why do you believe you could kick his or her ass in the kitchen?  

SB: Not sure if he ranks as a chef but Alton Brown. He has such amazing food knowledge-- he is like an encyclopedia--but I always wonder if he could cook.
NT: What's your favorite food-/cooking-related joke?  

SB: When I started out I was sent to a warehouse to get a bacon stretcher. I love sending new recruits to get pieces of imaginary equipment to fix their mistakes. Like if somebody breaks the Hollandaise or any simple emulsion I send them into the store room to get the blended emulsion stabilizer to repair their errors. After they waste 20 minutes then I make them throw out their mistake and start over correctly.
NT: Which famous chef, alive or dead, would you like to shadow for a day (assuming you haven't already had the chance)?  

NT: What's the hottest thing a date could whip up for you in the kitchen?  

SB: I think a date cooking for me--actually caring about what it tastes like and with all the confidence in the world--is itself very hot.
NT: What's your favorite junk food?  

NT: Without naming the person, what three words would you use to describe the worst celebrity chef alive today?

1. Egotistical
2. Bandwagon
3. Rich 

NT: How would you complete this sentence: Never trust a chef who/that...?  

SB: Has bad knife skills.