If you're in need of a new downtown lunch spot, you're in luck. Tuyo, the contemporary American restaurant known for sweeping views of Biscayne Bay, is now open for midday meal service.
While whipping up lunch, Tuyo, situated on the top floor of Miami Dade College's Miami Culinary Institute, will serve as a training lab for students, responsible for manning the kitchen as line cooks and staffing the dining room.
"We're giving students the experience of working in a full-service restaurant," executive chef Victor Santos says. "They'll have the opportunity to serve customers, not just faculty members."
Run by the Miami Culinary Institute (MCI), lunch service at Tuyo is a new opportunity for students to get involved with the high-end restaurant. In years past, the eatery has steered away from employing its students, claiming it is "destination dining, not a culinary school, student-run restaurant."
"When students graduate, they go to hotels or restaurants, but they're often too green," Santos says. "They need more experience, and this will give them that."
From sauces to hamburger patties, Tuyo's lunch items ($7 to $22) are mostly made from scratch. Menu highlights include grilled skirt steak, miso-glazed salmon, a grilled vegetable sandwich, a signature burger, carnaroli risotto, and a variety of fresh salads topped with free-range chicken breast or grilled shrimp. For dessert, find crème brûlée and Valrhona chocolate mousse.
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"Lunch is something that will fit the students' schedules," Santos says. "Lunch is also more casual. Cuisine at dinner is a little more detail-oriented and technique-driven."
According to Santos, most who work dinner service at Tuyo are or were MCI students, but there is much less opportunity to teach rookies in the evening.
"I have five line cooks who work with me," he says. "I wouldn't be able to fit a class of ten. There's also no class time at night. Lunch gives them an opportunity to get a taste of the real world before they graduate."
Lunch service, which runs Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., is supervised by Santos. For more information, visit tuyomiami.com.