Everybody admires a person that can pull through when times get hard. This is why Miamians can beam proudly at fellow native Joseph Maynard, now Executive Chef at Asia de Cuba at the Mondrian Hotel. His defining moment came while working at a five-star hotel in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina hit and the hotel became the only fully functional hotel in New Orleans. When the executive chef couldn’t return to the hotel, Chef Joseph found himself with limited resources, serving three meals a day to rangers and FBI Agents for nine months. He conquered the kitchen, consistently delivering dishes crafted from almost nothing. Now, years later and with more resources, his diverse culinary style fuses perfectly with Asia de Cuba’s combination of Asian and Caribbean cuisines.
I'm sure all the dishes on each of your menus are like your children, but if you had to choose only one dish from the menu, which ones are you most proud of?
Tuna Pica is a dish that I find represents our food the best here at Asia de Cuba. The flavors are clean, light and fresh. They come together in a way that totally surprises the diner and promises to really excite the palate.
Most popular item on the menu?
Char Sui Beef Short Ribs or the Miso cured Alaskan Black Cod are the two most popular dinner entrees.
How would you describe Miami's dining scene?
Informed and continually looking for the next rising, trendy restaurant.
The secret to cooking perfect pasta?
It should be cooked al dente in salted boiling water.
At what point did you realize you were destined to be a chef?
After almost 10 years in the business.
The 5 ingredients every kitchen should have?
Sea Salt, Olive Oil, cream, eggs and shallots.
The 5 utensils every kitchen should have?
Ricer, Shinoise, Mini Pro Emulsion stick mixer, a French knife, and a wooden spoon.
First dish you learned to make?
Chicken Parmesan with Fettuccini Alfredo.
Favorite dish to make at home?
Easily, the Snapper Antiboise. I don’t make it with an overpowering sauce, but rather a lighter option with chopped tomatoes, shallots, garlic, olives, and a little white wine. I serve this with whole wheat pasta.
What's your favorite food to eat? In other words, what could you live off of for the rest of your life if you had to?
Seafood is without a doubt my favorite food. Fresh from the ocean and prepared lightly, letting the flavors of the ocean standout.
Tell us a little more about your restaurant.
Asia de Cuba is set in a fun and whimsical environment with beautiful views of the bay and a stunning sunset to absorb daily. We aim to create unique experiences while guests enjoy the very best of Asian and Latin cuisines.
If there’s one tip or piece of advice you could give to all aspiring chefs out there, what would it be?
It is important to know that the business is always changing and to continually adapt and keep learning. Remember all the great things that the Chefs you meet do, and take these lessons onboard and make them your own. Noting what you don’t like and ensuring that you don't repeat those mistakes in your own career is also essential.
Published at 7:04 PM EDT on Aug 7, 2011