Chefs may be the ones in the kitchen cooking up some of SoFlo’s best dishes. But in one kitchen in the 305, the magic happens before the food even hits the heat.
Hakkasan at the Fontainebleau is known for having food a cut above the rest.
Thomas Connell: “Hakkasan is a traditional Cantonese restaurant. Very authentic.”
This Miami Beach hot spot serves up everything from dim sum to peking duck to wok dishes, but behind the scenes is one man whose sharp skills set him apart.
Thomas Connell: “Jiago is the chef chopper and it’s a special job at Hakkasan.”
Since Deco doesn’t speak Mandarin, we’re going to let the chopper’s food and his executive chef fill us in.
Thomas Connell: “The chopper in Hakkasan is an elite position. It’s really refined. Some of the cuts are very intricate it takes years of practice to get it right.”
He’s not simply slicing and dicing.
Thomas Connell: “They are cutting all the vegetable and have all the julianne and all the specialty cuts. And all the items that go into the wok items especially.”
He’s also the point person. He preps the food, passes it along and make sure it’s perfect.
Thomas Connell: “As the tickets come in, he recognizes what the dish is, he puts all the ingredients into the container and he gives it to the wok chefs.”
And we aren’t going to mince words here — this guy is talented.
Thomas Connell: “Jiago’s other specialty here is vegetable carving. He is an artist in every sense of the word.”
While painters brushes, he’s using knives.
Thomas Connell: “This is something that sets Jiago from other chefs, in my opinion. This is not someone who is just carving fruits and vegetables. He is truly an artist.”
A couple of cuts and a carrot becomes a sparrow
Thomas Connell: “He has that ability to see a raw product and to extract what he doesn’t need there to get to the final product, what his objective is.”
Antoino Piedra, customer: “That’s a carrot? Wow, that is so cool.”
Or an eagle can lands on your favorite Deco logo produced out of produce.
Thomas Connell: “He is never guessing at what he is doing when he is working and carving. I have no idea where he is going what he is doing, and but he knows where he is going. That is what is impressive about it.”
The chopper’s job is a labor of love … edible love.
Antoino Piedra: “The presentation is really pretty, and the food is delicious.”
Think of a maestro in an orchestra — the chopper at Hakkasan is the maestro in the kitchen.
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4441 Collins Ave.
Miami Beach, FL 33140
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