Brazil may be best known for its ability to throw a really good party and partake in bikini-friendly grooming, but now the Eden Roc hotel is offering up one more reason to love our free spirits to the south -- Chef Paula DaSilva. The Brazilian native is heading up the kitchen at the Eden Roc's new 1500° restaurant, where diners can indulge in good conscience on dishes incorporating locally grown ingredients. Here, DaSilva talks local farms, rice and beans and why those order tickets should never be out of order.
We're sure every dish on the menu is like a child, but which are you most proud of?
I am very excited about some of the meats we are sourcing locally. I'm using Palmetto Creek Farms for all my pork products and have sourced some amazing Florida grass fed beef that's been getting great comments.
The concept of 1500° is farm to table, what ingredients can we look forward to this season?
Diners can look forward to oyster mushrooms from Paradise Farms, beautiful eggplant from Swank Farms, goat cheese from Hanis, the creamiest fresh made burrata cheese and Florida beef and pork. We're really committed to supporting our local growers as much as possible. I've been lucky enough to have visited some of the farms I'm using and met the people responsible for bringing all this wonderful product to us. It makes the ingredients I use all the more special to me... and the dishes even more like children of mine.
Five ingredients every kitchen should have?
Salt, a great extra virgin olive oil, fresh bay leaves, chives and passion.
Favorite dish to cook at home?
I love making simple foods at home and I amaze myself at how quickly I can put a good meal together. I just bought myself a small grill and I love throwing some sausage, steak and vegetables on it. I eat it with a good potato salad and spicy salsa.
Best cooking advice you ever received?
Taste, taste, taste.
Favorite food memory?
My mom's home cooked meals. She would make a buffet of foods during the holidays for all of us.
The one dish you could eat for the rest of your life?
Rice, beans and chicken... with cholula.
The 5 guests you'd invite to your dream dinner party?
Escoffier, my grandmother, chef Dean Max, Mom and Dad.
Weirdest thing you do in the kitchen?
I'm a little OCD when it comes to having the tickets hanging up on the ticket rack during service. I have a specific order and way everyone has to do it - and if they don't, it drives me crazy!