Pickin' More Bones With Red the Steakhouse's Chef/Partner Peter Vauthy

This is Part 2 of our interview. Read the first part with Red the Steakhouse's chef/partner Peter Vauthy here.

New Times: Describe your food in five words.

Peter Vauthy: Continental, classic steakhouse cuisine.

That's only four.


Describe yourself in a few words.

Passionate, dedicated... intense.

What do you believe is the most important advice to impart to a new chef?

Be patient. Chefs aren't patient. The demand for people from culinary schools keeps rising. We're doing kids an injustice saying, "You need to do whatever."

Any ingredient you don't like working with?

Saffron. It's very exacting. If you don't use saffron in the right amount, you'll overpower everything in your dish and you'll bury it in saffron flavor. And it's super-expensive.

What ingredient or dish is on too many Miami or American menus?

If I see one more hamburger... I love hamburgers -- I think Shake Shack makes a great hamburger -- but if [we're] gonna charge someone $30 for a hamburger, I have a hard time justifying that. It dumbs down the menu. Next thing you know, you have chicken wings. We want [our customers] to be experimental.

So there's no way we'll ever see a burger on Red's menu?

On the D.C. lunch menu, there's a possibly there will be a burger on that menu. But it will Certified Angus Beef Prime with bacon, aged cheddar, heirloom tomatoes, and all that. Every Red will be different as we move along. They're chef-driven.

How are Miamians palates different from those crazy Clevelanders'?

Ceviche would never fly in Cleveland for one minute. There's no market for stone crab. Imported Italian burrata -- we sell over one hundred pieces a week [in Miami]. Because there's demand for it here, I can procure it faster than Cleveland. It would take an extra two days to get there.

What surprised you most about Miami's food scene?

The ceiling here is through the roof, but that doesn't mean you have to charge like it's through the roof. We ran true Japanese Kobe beef, probably one of the only people in the entire city. We didn't charge $600. We charged $199 an ounce.

Now that you and your team have managed to open and run a successful Miami restaurant, what do you think of the city's culinary ranking?

There's something bizarre in Miami. The people who cook here, they have lots of experience, but they have no food knowledge. 

I see Miami transitioning to bigger and better things. I figured there was going to be this Miami cuisine that stuck out. Nothing stuck out for me. It's a big city, a port city, which means commodities are cheaper, but basically it's like a Wild, Wild West scene here. We're creating cuisines as we go.

And there's a lack of an Asian element here. That shocked me. A port city usually has that kind of thing going on.

Any Miami restaurants you are particularly fond of?

I think Il Gabbiano downtown is spectacular. The service is always on point, and the food is always well put together.

I've eaten at my competitors'. They're more concerned about everything else but food.

Do you hang with any Miami chefs?

Andre from Joe's Stone Crab. We're neighbors.

If you could have one last meal, what would it be?

Heirloom tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, 100-year balsamic, foie gras, and a rib eye steak.

No dessert?

I'm a silly sweet eater. I love pastry... crème brûlée...

Ah, crème brûlée. The great leveler.

When I go to a restaurant, I go and I order things to see if they're doing things correctly. I was at French Laundry once, and I told Thomas Keller right to his face his crème brûlée was scrambled -- and it was.

What's always in your refrigerator at home?

Besides condiments? Bottled water and pomegranate juice.

And the next time I come in, should I assume you'll be here or out shopping for women's clothing?

I'll never be an absentee chef. I'm here every day. We live to cook; we don't cook to live.

Tune in tomorrow for Vauthy's simple, yummy creamed corn recipe.

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