Denevin Miranda is a chef consultant with a lot famous clients, including the Versace Mansion in Miami Beach. How you become a chef consultant? You get the information here.

 

You currently work as a Chef Consultant, with clients including the Versace Mansion in Miami Beach, Florida. Tell us about how you got started as a chef. Why did you decide on cooking professionally? 

I was inspired at a very young age to cook. Growing up in a Filipino family that embodied the cultures big appreciation for hospitality, there was always relatives or guests at the house and food was constantly being prepared to feed everyone. Our table was always filed with our traditional foods and delicacies. My Grandmother, Libby was at the helm in our home kitchen and was a huge inspiration for me.  She was cooking farm to table before it was a huge fad, growing most of our vegetables in our back yard. Everything from eggplants, tomatoes, bitter gourd, squash to long beans.  She also never settled for processed foods and she would go as far as make her own coconut milk and grind her own rice flours for her recipes. I ate very well as a kid that’s for sure and cultivated my passion for food and cooking. After graduating high school I knew I wanted to be a chef, so that I can just be around food and immersed in an environment of hospitality and serving people.

 

How did you start out on this road to cooking? What spurred you into becoming a chef? 

I actually began cooking out of our home kitchen while I was still in high school. It started with experimenting with different recipes for my family and friends. But then as I was getting better at the craft I started cooking for neighbors and friends catering for their parties. My mom working in a big law firm, started getting me clients through her co-workers and soon enough I was catering graduations, birthdays and barmitzfas.  When I graduated I sought to go to culinary school and expand my cooking knowledge.

 

Which culinary school did you attend? 

Johnson & Wales University in North Miami Campus

 

What surprised you most once you started out as a chef? 

The speed, as a chef you are constantly moving, and with intention planning your every move often working in a small hot kitchen with a number of other individuals and moving 90mph. But I love the adrenaline rush of working a busy service.

 

What will you never forget about your first year as a chef? 

My mistakes, I’m very competitive and I never want to fail but it does happen. It is all about learning from you mistakes and growing. Overcooked a steak? Learn how to temp a steak by timing and touch. Over-salt a dish? Learn to always taste your dishes and learn ways to fix it. You never forget and that’s how you keep evolving, also you don’t forget getting yelled at by the chef if something gets sent back to the kitchen.

 

What is the best part of being a chef? 

The gratification and feeling of accomplishment, from putting out a stellar plate to finishing a busy service to figuring out logistics of a big banquet event.

 

What is the most difficult aspect to being a professional chef? 

It is certainly the long hours and high stress, but you learn to deal with it over time and I always try to maintain a god work/life balance. I also love to go to the gym and work out to help release the stress and tension. I think its very important to find something as a counter point to work or you end up taking it out on you staff or yourself with unhealthy habits that often plague our industry, like heavy drinking, smoking and sometimes drug abuse. It is often an unspoken truth but we need to start that conversation to help each other out.

 

How are chefs considered in Florida in the past and how does it differ to the current situation? 

Florida wasn’t always regarded as a culinary destination, it was the land of chain restaurants, tourist traps, clubs and mediocre hotels.  Now it’s a burgeoning culinary destination, with a growing restaurant scene, stunning hotel properties, and unique nightlife with craft cocktails and bar bites.

 

 

Which ingredients, recipes and cooking techniques reflect the soul of Florida? 

We are so fortunate to be in a state that was a plethora of amazing seafood and now the farms are stepping up and putting out some beautiful produce and organic products. Utilizing the local ingredients andinspiration from the amazing cultures that make up the melting pot of Miami like Caribbean, Latin, European and Asian cuisine.

 

Modern Florida/ Miami cuisine, what does it mean for you? 

For me it means utilizing the great local products we have and creatively preparing and presenting them in a contemporary way to highlight their freshness and origin.

 

How would you describe your own culinary line today? 

Today, I am happy and fortunate to have picked up quite a number of different cuisines and techniques in my career.  I am classically French trained, I am versed in a lot of European cuisine like Spanish, Italian and Mediterranean. I feel my strength lies in Asian cuisine and flavours, as I mentioned before my background is Filipino which in itself is a blend of cultures, but I’ve mastered a lot of other Asian cuisines like Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese, Indian and Malay to name a few.

 

How would you describe your own culinary style today? 

I personally like to keep thing simple and clean using a blend of classic cooking techniques with modernist cooking techniques to bring out the best in flavour, texture of the ingredients while maintaining it’s integrity.

 

Can you share one of your last creations with us?

I recently made a dish with a lot of uncertainty that the flavours where going to work together but I was very pleased with the final result. It was a coffee and chili rubbed duck breast, pan seared to get the skin super crispy, I serve it with a crispy lumpia filled with confit duck leg, hoisin and cherries, over a bed of creamed leeks and a “cappuccino foam”, which was brewed coffee and foie gras emulsion fortified with the roasted bones from the duck. Delicious.

 

What are some of the lesser known spices and vegetables you use? 

I like to spice up some of my plates with a pop of heat and color using ground chili powders like pimonte espilette from France or gochugaru from Korea which has some nice smoky undertones too. I also like to utilize fish sauce in uncommon ways like in salad dressings and sauces because it adds a great layer of flavour and umami like anchovies do. If I can find it I love using the Filipino citrus Kalamansi, I use it in place of lemon and lime in some dishes to add a more floral and unique citrus flavour.

 

Which unique cooking technique have you mastered? 

I was fortunate enough to learn wok style cooking from some very talented Chinese chefs.  It is not an easy technique because it is all about using your senses to understand the timing of adding ingredients since it is such a quick cooking style using very high heat. It is almost like a dance using your entire body to cook and move that wok around.

 

What does work mean for you? 

Work is my passion, I love to apply all my different abilities and skill sets to tackle the different situations and issues you encounter in the restaurant industry.

 

What is most important in your life? 

Most important thing for me is to have a healthy work/life balance.  With as demanding as a job as being a chef is it is important to balance that out with.

 

 

What do you do if you want to treat yourself to something special? 

Travel, I love to visit new places have new experiences and taste new cuisines.

 

What would you do as a chef if money were not an issue for one year? 

I would love to open my own spot, very intimate, serving only seasonal tasting menus that change often in a stunning venue and best wines.

 

Did your career as a chef change you as a person and if so, how? 

Yes, as a child I struggled with ADD and ADHD in school. I always knew I wanted to cook, and I found that it was one of the only ways to focus my mind and overcome my adversity. As a chef I have to remain very organized and disciplined, which I do very successfully but I know I constantly have to push myself to achieve this.

 

What do people often misunderstand about the job of a chef?  

It isn’t as glamourous as it appears on TV shows. It’s a tough, stressful job and a lot of hard work to climb the ladder high enough to make a decent salary.  But doing what you love for work is totally worth it.

 

Any place in the world you would like to work as chef one day? 

I would love to work in Europe someday. France, Switzerland, Spain are on my list.

 

If you would have the time to write a cookbook, what would it be about? 

It would be centred around different cooking techniques, how to master them and how to cook a number of ingredients and recipes using them. I think learning techniques opens much more doors for beginner cooks to expand their cooking skills, build creativity and not depend on recipes.

 

Lots of cooks are interested to work in Miami, Florida. Do you have any tips or recommendations for them? 

It has become typical in Miami to see a cooks resume and see multiple different restaurants and employers with not much longevity in each position.  I would tell young cooks to try and stay at least a full year and more at a job to show loyalty and growth.  I know there are always new restaurant opening all the time in the Miami but the grass isn’t always greener and it looks much better on your resume if you have held a position and grown with-in a company for a longer period of time.

 

Thank you a lot Denevin.

 

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