Ah, Marc Vidal. The very mention of his name makes us locals drool for his Spanish-style creations. If you became a member of the Vidal fan club after tasting his famous fried eggs with potato crisps and Serrano ham at Por Fin, fret no more--he's been executive chef at Solea inside the W South Beach since the beginning of the year and he's translated some of his most popular dishes for a new audience.
Yep, South Florida loves him, but he first made his mark in Spain, learning to cook at his family-owned resto in Barcelona. He soon earned two culinary degrees from the prestigious Restauracion y Hoteleria in the same city, and was soon labeled one of the country's top young chefs. Now don't be jealous, but appreciate that he learned his craft working under Ferran Adria there, then Alain Passard and Alain Ducasse in Paris.
Now we know the guy's got an incredible palate, so what's with the hankering for sardines, sprinkles, pork rinds and chocolate?
New Times: Which famous chef, alive or dead, would you like to shadow for a day (assuming you haven't already had the chance)?
MV: He is not famous yet, but Alex Gares. He was executive chef at Lasarte Restaurant in Barcelona and now he is executive chef at Six Senses Hotel in Maldives. He's the best of the best!
NT: 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?
MV: Manuel Vazquez Montalban, a writer and epicurean from Barcelona. I'd serve him something simple, like fresh sardines a la plancha, with garlic and parsley.
NT: What was your most embarrassing cooking-related moment?
MV: I've had so many embarrassing moments, I can't tell you, but probably every restaurant opening. Something always happens that makes me blush!
NT: What was your best or worst dining experience?
MV: I've had a lot of really good dining experiences in my life. I love to go eat at different restaurants. The best was probably at El Bulli in 2005. The worst... I'm not going to say. I want to think they had a bad day!
NT: What three words describe your ultimate foodie fantasy?
MV: My girlfriend, ice cream, sprinkles. Enough said! [Editor's note: We'll let him pass on the four-word answer, so long as he makes us some paella Valencia.]
NT: What's your favorite soundtrack/song to cook to?
NT: If you weren't a chef, you'd be...?
MV: A millionaire who did nothing but put on dinner parties for my friends.
NT: What's your favorite junk food and where do you get it?
MV: Pork rinds.
NT: Please complete this sentence: Never trust a chef who/that doesn't...?
MV: Cook and drink.
NT: If you could be slathered head-to-toe in one food item--without fear of getting an allergic reaction--what would it be and why?
MV: Chocolate... as long as there was a hot chick to lick it off!!