Kitchen Inquisition: Chef Douglas Rodriguez

The man behind the cutting board at De Rodriguez Ocean digs sharp knives and Julia Child

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Chef Douglas Rodriguez has been around the Miami culinary block, opening such tasty spots as Yuca in Coral Gables, OLA on South Beach and, most recently, De Rodriguez Cuba in the Astor Hotel. Now, the son of Cuban immigrants is going the sustainable seafood route with De Rodriugez Ocean in SoBe's Hilton Bentley. Here, the Miami-raised chef talks the future of seafood, vanilla ice cream and what Frida Khalo's doing at his dinner table.

Your new restaurant boasts a sustainable seafood theme, what inspired you to go that route?
I just didn't want to do any more harm to the system. I wanted to make sure my kids could try fish in the future. Fish and seafood are trends, like Chilean sea bass, it doesn't mean it's going to be around forever.

We're sure all the dishes on your menu are like your children, but which one is your favorite?
I like all my ceviches.

Chilean Sea Bass is so five minutes ago, what's the seafood du jour?
I think that people should realize that there are better products out there, not just the trend. It doesn't matter what's trendy or in now, it matters what's right and what's good.  I am seeing a lot about Barramundi though; people are spending money to promote it, articles about it.   

Five ingredients every kitchen should have?
Harmony, sharp knives, equipment, salt, fresh ingredients.

Weirdest ritual you have in the kitchen?
Before every service, whenever I'm at the restaurant, I torch and burn some sage in a pan and walk around the restaurant with it. 

The five people you'd invite to your dream dinner party?

Julia Child, Phillipe Rojas Lombardi, Escoffier, George Lopez, Frida Khalo.

Fondest food memory?
I have many. Some of the better ones have been on a boat catching fish and preparing them.

First dish you learned how to cook?
French onion soup.

Favorite dish to cook at home?
Vegetable dishes.

If you had to eat one dish for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Vanilla ice cream.

What single dish defines Cuban culture for you?
Black beans.


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