Chef Jean Paul Lourdes Heads to Miami
For the menu at El Tucán, a newly opened supper club in Miami, New Zealand-born, French-trained chef, Jean Paul Lourdes did culinary research with big-concept restaurateur Stephen Starr looking to local Cubano joints, and the cuisines of Mexico and Peru, Melena Ryzik writes in a review of the restaurant for the New York Times.
“Adding his own Asian-cooking background, [Lourdes] turned a roast pork dish into a global ‘suckling porquetta,’ seasoned with Sichuan peppercorns, cooked sous-vide for 36 hours, then deep-fried and served with a choice of moles.
“El Tucán’s US$85 prix fixe menu changes weekly, but Lourdes was aware that it plays second billing to the entertainment. ‘We tried to make the flavour profile intense,’ he said, ‘so that it almost pops in your mouth and surprises you, but not to distract you from the show.’
“When I dipped in, with an intergenerational group on El Tucán’s second night in business, the vibe was sultry and luxe, like a Latin version of the Box, the sometimes raunchy New York cabaret. There are early and late seatings, and, for non-diners, an upstairs bar with a view of the stage and a V.I.P. area. We came for dessert – a faithful tres leches cake and an inventive, whimsical Mexican chocolate tasting – but soon, like everyone else, found ourselves dancing.”
Lourdes, who is inspired by the late clothing designer Alexander McQueen, has worked at three-star Michelin restaurants in Paris, Tokyo, London and Hong Kong. He has cooked at the James Beard House in New York and also at their annual Chefs & Champagne event in the Hamptons.
Original article by Melena Ryzik, The New York Times, March 4, 2016.