Kitchen Inquisition: Miguel Aguilar

The Wynwood Kitchen & Bar executive chef talks chicken, salsa and mountain trekking

Lourdes 2

The ability to make a mean-tasting (yet delightfully colorful) soup while trekking the Andes mountains -- that’s got to count for something! It definitely did for Wynwood Kitchen & Bar, once they found their new Executive Chef Miguel Aguilar after a nationwide search. Needless to say, he now runs the kitchen in the place, the owners have never looked back on their decision. With signature items like chicken ropa vieja empanadas and medjool dates, it’s hard not to admire (and forget) the handy work of the Venezuelan native. “Working with fine ingredients and making each dish vibrant and memorable is what I’m about,” he says. The executive chef reveals here, among other things, his advice to aspiring chefs out there.

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?
The tomatillo salsa, and chicken ropa vieja empanadas. I’d say it’s a tie between those two for me.
Most popular item on the menu? 
That’s easy, the chicken ropa vieja empanadas!

How would you describe Miami's dining scene? 
I would say limited, but still very much evolving.  It’s got immense potential, and I’m excited to see it unfolding.

The secret to cooking perfect pasta? 
Salt, dash of olive oil, and taking it out of the water in time.
At what point did you realize you were destined to be a chef? 
During one of my mountaineering treks, in the Andes of Venezuela. I made lentil soup with some insanely vibrant colored veggies. 
The 5 ingredients every kitchen should have?
Salt, pepper, garlic, olive oil and sugar.
The 5 utensils every kitchen should have?
Spatula, wooden spoon, sharp knife, good tongs and a whisk.

First dish you learned to make?
Caesar salad. Simple enough.

Favorite dish to make at home?  


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?
Arepas with mayo and Queso fresco.

Tell us a little more about your restaurant.
It focuses on international art, it's colorful, and welcoming. The food is like the restaurant, colorful, and international with a Latin flair.  
If there’s one tip or piece of advice you could give to all aspiring chefs out there, what would it be?
Work hard, show up one to two hours before your shift and set up your station, then get involved in other stations, therefore making you more versatile. I would also advise to work with various cuisines then find the one you like to toy with the most, find the creme de la creme in that cuisine and learn. 
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