MIAMI, FL, September 10, 2023 /24-7PressRelease/ — This is how chef Michael Bennett would define, structure, and produce food-related articles.
Q. How would you define Floribbean cuisine? AND,
Q. How has Floribbean cuisine evolved?
In the Culinary World filled with chefs espousing bacon, caramel, and salt-laden dishes, I have chosen to take a centuries-old pathway of cooking naturally as the Asian culture has for over a Millennia.
Chef Michael Bennett says,”I am not advocating that everyone needs to follow lock-step in the methodologies I employ and solely use my ingredient larder; nowadays, I encourage people to engage the Asian aspects of my philosophies”.
The cookery that was born here in South Florida was shaped with incalculable Asian culinary principles. Not only did they help shape South Florida’s cookery methodologies, but they also espoused the use of locally harvested sultry Asian ingredients that can only be nurtured here in South Florida. These naturally healthy, exotic-tasting tropical foodstuffs can only thrive in this part of the hemisphere because it rarely freezes in South Florida.
Lucky for Floridians, with 1200 miles of sun-drenched coastline flourishing with seafood and seafood, they especially love being paired on the plate with tropically-inspired Asian ingredients like; mango, papaya, plantains, coconuts, a variety of citrus, and lychees, It was not merely a matter of time until this cuisine became an America Regional Cuisine, it is why did it take so long for the rest of the World to recognize it.
As if anything else in South Florida, the immigration and migration of chefs to our shores lead Floribbean cuisine to change every day.
You will see chefs from around the world, especially New York, flowing into the South Florida culinary work stream. It is this ebb and flow that generates new ideas about what is Floribbean Cuisine, and that makes predicting its future hard to foretell. As more chefs come to our shores from other places, their re-envisionment of the Floribbean future alters. Chef Michael Bennett reminds us, “As any artist will tell, it is the boundaries of what is the norm that necessitates being broken and re-manufactured for any comprehensive work of art”.
Q. Does it use the same food components after all these changes? It has had Asian elements since its inception that have been tested in the culinary world for five Millennia, it is a good place to start.
“Cooking food, a natural thing, should be cooked in a way to preserve its naturally healthy aspects”, describes Chef Bennett. This is how we as chefs are creating the new Floribbean for this century. Gluten-free cooking is new here in America but, after 2020 it will be as common as American Regional Cuisine was in 1996. As Americans correlate healthy eating to how they feel after dining, it will become more than a trend as it will grow into a lifestyle. “I have had these influences directly turn my life around, as Chef Bennett goes on. “I have found many of the foods that I have eaten for decades do not bode well for me now. I have found that Gluten intolerance will be the buzzword for all new classifications in any new or re-envisioned cookery tendency”, says Chef Michael Bennett.
These ideas and more deliver a great sign for those of us who write our menus for the health concerns of our patrons. Floribbean menus have always been naturally healthy, showcasing a lighter, good-for-you cooking style. During the past decade, Floribbean menus featured seafood and tropical fruits that hit up recipes with the stinging punch of fiery scotch bonnet peppers. Now we are less about walloping the Taste Buds and more about the Yin and Yang (Asian cookery again) of a balanced dish filled with opposing textures and complimentary food penchants.
Q. How were/are you involved in it?
Q. What was your experience with it?
Chef Michael Bennet describes his Floribbean experiences, “I have been involved with the process of building a Regional Cuisine since 1989 when the hotel where I was the Executive Sous Chef hosted Miami’s first International Fruit Council meeting on Miami Beach. It was then I was hooked on the exoticness of our Floribbean mannerisms. I met the farmers that were growing these foods for decades in South Florida and was entranced by their love of the products they were harvesting and their singular existence of harvesting only the most exotic foods Floridians ever ate”.
He continues, “I found after three years as a member of the Rare Fruit Council International, that experts in the field of horticulture would come to South Florida to see how their native country’s exotic ingredients were expertly grown in Florida. This one event changed my life for the rest of my culinary career. The pride that the local farmers showed me talking about their products and the love they show towards its future was enough to make me a staunch Floribbean chef”.
Chef Michael continues, “While I have changed the way I look at transforming previously conceived norms into today’s metropolitan-centered cuisine, I feel as though I would not be as driven today if these occurrences never happened. I started writing about food and cooking soon after my first experiences with tropical foods. Today, I am soon going to release my seventh cookbook on Seafood and Florida food products. All of my writing concentrates on recipes that revolve around tropical ingredients and seafood. My next cookbook has a working title of “Interview with a Mango”.
Q. Does Floribbean cuisine have a future in South Florida? Part Two: In what direction has it gone (more Caribbean, more local, more Asian)?
Why or Why Not? Maybe the exact confines of the Fort Lauderdale, Florida area are too restrictive for this global conversation.
# 1 – As time changes in American culture, so do the definitions of what Floribbean cuisine is now. Restaurant and Chef Examples of Floribbean cookery are:
15th Street Fisheries (flaunting a Latino-Floribbean cuisine)
Bimini Boatyard in Fort Lauderdale (“Caribb-ican” cuisine – which boosts a subjective interpretation of Floribbean created by Chef Michael Bennett)
Quinn’s (Miami Beach-modern culinary classics refurbished after our classic Floribbean cookery)
Florida Cookery on South Beach (a has delivered a modern approach to “Old-Florida”- Floribbean cookery menuing)
Ortanique on the Mile (is still the classic Floribbean and the mother of all Floribbean restaurants.)
There were so many more examples of Floribbean restaurants just a decade ago because being Floribbean made the restaurant and the chef more popular because of the fame of the acknowledged catchphrase.
Each restaurant chef has liabilities using stereotypical cuisine, as it is an enslaving container. Restrained culinary liabilities as being antiquated or boxed into using weary ingredient’s groundwork take to task creatives (chefs) that take pride that they are in this business to be seen as creative and as culinary artists. As chefs, we always want to always want to color outside the lines, so limitations never do well on creative menus. So as soon as you try to create a perfect package of what this cuisine is, the natural response from an artist is to color (make creations) outside those boundaries.
Two Part answer…
Culinary philosophy in the professional kitchen is ever-changing. Portion sizes, profit margins, ease of use for subordinates, and what the customer will understand and try on their plates have all replenished and refurbished the ideals of cooking Floribbean.
#1- First, it will always be ever-changing; a never-ending evolution towards what the chef perceives a customer will recognize as a value.
#2- The influx of new chefs with new ideas will always keep things changing.
#3- Floribbean cuisine has to be light (LITE and healthy) because of our climate and, it is our climate that helps forge the options that might be grown here to extend the choice a chef will have after the year 2023.
#4 – “I believe, the healthy aspects of a Cuisine – no matter where it is located – will determine its success in the future. This is what I see for the future of all American Regional Cuisines”, says Chef Bennett.
Q. Is this fusion cuisine called the same thing today?
No matter the name in which a chef describes what s/he does with their meals it is always locally caught or harvested, most of the time fresh from the fields or Ocean, exotic and tasty beyond a vacationer’s wildest dreams. “I describe in this way; Floribbean is the melding of cultural cookery technique and methodologies with an infusion of a local and exotic tropical pantry”, says Chef Bennett. That said, to define it further, the Floribbean has a basis of five differing cultural cookery facets and storerooms. It was the inter-mingling of Old Southern food pantries with Spanish cookery customs, injected with Caribbean food elements (Bahamian, Haitian, and Jamaican – with each culture’s rudimentary upbringing stemming from the African and later on East Asian roots) and those rural cookery aspects, blended with Asian cookery techniques and a larder that sets fire to your taste buds. It mostly uses French serving and preparation schematic that always boasts intimate portions on oversized plates.
Q. Have more or less chefs embraced the concept of this kind of fusion And, is it being prepared and promoted by the same chefs?
What Floribbean is not, is a cuisine that is solely based on the ideals of a singular chef style, as it was in the 1990s. The chefs that might call what they do a Floribbean cuisine, now feel as though someone wants or needs to define what they do and place it into a category. Chefs are fearlessly independent, they refuse to be categorized. Now, Floribbean cuisine is a more IDEAL rather than an unusual ingredient vat.
In South Florida, one must look at the dining public to foresee if the Floribbean cuisine we once knew will continue to flourish.
Our dining clientele has so drastically changed in the last decade that there cannot be a discussion about its future without evaluating the clientele of South Florida. This area has always been a bedroom community, so it just goes hand in hand that the most popular eateries will base their menus on what will appease the common household consumer. Since this area is a family-centric metropolis, so will restaurant menus that are based here. Restaurants need to serve family-friendly food, so Floribbean cuisine is not going to be seen as regularly as it once was.
Foodbratz was founded in 1991 and as a “budding” Chef/Author services provider, for chefs and soon-to-be authors, that has helped to publish food-related articles and books on a regional and national basis. Foodbratz is based in South Florida. It provides chefs/authors with direct and personal access to quick, quality-orientated publication in trade paperback, custom leather-bound, and full-color formats.
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