This is Part Two of our interview with Chef Jeff McInnis. You can read the first part of the interview here.
What five words would you use to describe yourself?
Strong work ethic, creative, passionate
And what five words would you use to describe your food?
Fresh, organic, local, healthy, global
What food(s) do you hate working with?
Kiwi. I think it's silly. There's not much you can do with it unless you're making a fruit salad. Or maybe smoothies.
What ingredient is on too many local menus?
Truffle oil. It gets used wrong.
What's your favorite meal?
Something prepared in a far-off land, cooked by a housewife or grandma. Maybe in Thailand or Italy.
What can consistently be found in your fridge or pantry at home?
Wine. All kinds.
What's the strangest food combination you ever served?
Foie gras torchon with chocolate. I put it on a stick and dipped it in ganache, then put it in a bath of liquid nitrogen. That was for Art Basel.
What local chefs do you hang with?
What do you think of Miami's dining scene?
I think it's expanding quickly. It has come a long way in the past decade.
What's your favorite culinary city?
San Francisco or New Orleans. San Francisco is more refined, but New Orleans is so much funkier.
And what does the future hold for Chef Jeff?
I just joined on with HSN selling pots, pans and blenders with the Top Chef name on it. I flew there a couple of weeks ago for training. It's strange working with prompters and doing 18-minute segments, especially with a voice in my ear. It's a lot of work.
Have you been trying to expand your fame in other ways? I heard you have been working on a cookbook...
I was wanting to do a cookbook before I went on [Top Chef]. I've been writing it and trying it... The cookbook has turned into...
It's not done, huh?
It's just the publishing world. I never knew the way the publishers worked. The way the publishers tell you what to do and what to change. They say, "There's too many of these books, Jeff. But there's not enough of these," and "tweak it here and tweak it there." I've done three books. I'm just trying to sell what I can sell.
And what do you do to relieve stress?
I keep a surfboard in the closet over here [at DiLido
]. Before work I get to take it out.
Stay tuned! Tomorrow we'll share details about the Full Moon Party coming on June 26 at The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach and you can have a go at McInnis' recipe for melon, cucumber and heirloom tomato salad with mint, lemon, tomato water gelee, and yogurt sorbet.