Kitchen Inquisition: Sustain’s Alejandro Pinero

The Cuban cook talks roasted pig, braised oxtail and where you might find him on his day off

Chef Alejandro Pinero

When you can tout Michelle Bernstein as a mentor and cooked in the kitchens of acclaimed restos Casa Tua and Fratelli Lyon, the bar for success is, oh, skyscraper high. Throw in that everything on your menu must be eco-friendly and sustainable, and chef Alejandro Pinero is putting a lot on his plate (no pun intended). But that's exactly the idea at Sustain, which opened recently in Midtown. Here, we talk to the Cuban cook talks roasted pig, braised oxtail and where you might find him on his day off.

We're sure every dish on the menu is like a child, but which are you most proud of?
Since I have two children, I can't choose favorites, but I must say that I love our Porchetta and the house-made sausages.

Most popular dish on the menu?
The yellowtail snapper with slow roasted tomatoes, sunchokes, and ocean broth is quickly becoming a favorite.

Was it difficult to create a menu that is completely sustainable?
The real challenge is finding a large variety of products from sustainable farms. In fact, it is even more challenging to source the majority of our products from South Florida, considering that our emphasis is not only sustainable farming but supporting our local economy.

Local ingredient you're digging right now?
All produce from Worden farms.

Best advice anyone ever gave you about being a chef?
Strive for perfection and achieve excellence.

Favorite dish to make at home?
I'm Cuban, so I must say roasting a whole pig.

Five ingredients every kitchen should have?
Garlic, extra virgin olive oil, thyme, lemons, eggs.

Favorite food memory?
Eating seafood a la plancha in a small town in southern Spain.

If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Braised oxtail.

What are you doing when you're not in the kitchen?
Spending time with my family and fishing.... or at least dreaming of it.

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