New Times: Your artichoke fries are delish, too. How do you make them?
Chef Giovanni Arias: We buy the artichokes bottoms, blanch them in salted water to infuse some flavor into them, marinade them in olive oil, lemon zest, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. And then we roast them in the oven for about an hour.
Let's talk about those legendary Canyon Ranch chocolate chip cookies. Are those the most popular items on your menu?
People here rave more about the chocolate zucchini cake. It's flourless. And the artichoke fries.
Okay, so now onto the fun questions. Any types of cuisine you are curious about but haven't attempted?
I haven't done Russian. Maybe African?
Who was the most impressive celebrity or dignitary you've ever cooked for/worked with, or the one person who makes you the most nervous?
I've cooked for Paul McCartney.
Where was that?
Turnberry. He had a private function after one of his shows. It started at 2 a.m. and lasted until 6.
Any ingredient you don't like working with?
I don't like cooked salmon. And I don't like beets.
Most unusual food combination you've ever created or been served?
I created a Mango Caribbean Mango roll. Almost like a sushi roll. It was vegan. I got mango and I pureed it, poured it on a silpat and put it in the oven -- it becomes like a Fruit Roll-Up. I used that as my 'nori.' I used green bamboo rice and cooked it with jasmine and Earl Grey tea, marinated tofu in Mongolian barbecue sauce, then I rolled inside the tofu with pea shoots, carrots, scallions, and avocados with roasted red pepper sauce.
What was that for?
If you could have one last meal, what would it be?
A good ceviche. I love good Peruvian cuisine.
What's your healthy eating/fitness regimen?
Right now I'm staying away from carbs and gluten. Loving my greens.
But your favorite pig-out food would be...
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SHOW ME HOW
Plans for the future?
I'm going to start giving classes at Miami-Dade Community College. And we're working on getting an herb garden here by the pool.
Tomorrow we'll share his recipe for avocado-mango tartare. It's delish!