Flavors of the World Mendin and Friends

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Flavors of the World Miami - Jose Mendin, Brad Kilgore, Jeremy Ford

I’m still recovering from the eventful weekend that just passed…and oh boy was it exciting! Not only did we dance the night away at Genesis on Saturday for the U2 tribute (My morning song today: “IT’S A BEAUTIFUL DAY…!”) but all of the Flavors of the World : Miami events were extremely fun! While I’ll be sharing all the details and *PHOTOS* over the coming days, the true stars of the weekend were the celebrity chefs that graced Casa de Campo for Flavors of the World. Young, hip, energetic, very cool, and amazing at their craft, I got to meet and interview them on Friday and it set the stage for the experience to follow.

Jose Mendin: The brains behind the operation…. calm, cool and collected

Flavors of the World - Mendin

As a fellow Puerto Rican I was excited to meet Jose. Not only has he made quite a name for himself in Miami, his work abroad has also made everyone in our hometown proud. Founding partner and Chef for Pubbelly Boys, Mendin is as invested in the success of Pubbelly Sushi at Casa de Campo as he is for the rest of his restaurants in Miami. With so many events coming up over the weekend, he seemed cool, focused and on top of his game.  I asked him a few questions and this is what he said:

CCL: Define your cooking style in 3 words

JM: Flavorful, Pleasurable & Memorable

CCL: Interpret the essence of Casa de Campo in a dish

JM: Working with the local ingredients and Dominican roots I think that a really cool seafood mangú with a “criollo” sauce would work well…

Our favorite dish of his from the Friday night dinner:  

SoftShell Chili Crab
SoftShell Chili Crab – Red Curry, Sichuan Oil, Hazelnuts, Aromatic Herb Salad “Uber spicy and not for rookies, the explosion of flavors made this the boldest dish of the evening…Mendín’s trademark. The crab was very tender and eaten whole”

He called upon some of his good friends in Miami to join him…hence #mendinandfriends. Meet them below.

Jeremy Ford:  Talent, charm and great vibes

Flavors of the World - Jeremy

Winner of this year’s Top Chef Season 13, Jeremy was as fun and accessible as you can get! We had a blast at his photo shoot and interview which included him wanting some pretty saucy pictures and some of his answers were the funniest of the bunch. His life changed overnight after winning Top Chef a few months ago and he is still sorting through all the opportunities coming his way – his 9 year old daughter often encourages him to turn his ever-ringing-phone off temporarily to enjoy some quality time with her in the midst of the craziness. Despite his busy schedule he found time to come to Casa de Campo, accompanied by his brother, for a weekend of fun and cooking. His dishes were absolutely memorable and helped us get a first-hand taste of why he won Top Chef!

CCL: Define your cooking style in 3 words

JF: Clean, Fresh, Textured

CCL: Interpret the essence of Casa de Campo in a dish

JF: Being it’s on the coast and it’s magnificent, I would do an octopus ceviche with my spin on it. 

Our favorite dish of his at the Friday night dinner:

Jeremy Ford Suckling Pork
Suckling Pork – Plum Mustard, Chillies “This pork was so tender, you could practically eat it with a spoon. The flavors were on point and it was extra juicy! This dish was a collaboration with Wesley True.”

Bradley Kilgore: Focused, detail oriented and so nice

Flavors of the World - Brad

Brad is the Chef and owner of Alter, one of the hippest and trendiest restaurants in Miami. Located in Wynnewood, an up and coming arts district, Brad’s art is not hanging on the walls, but featured on each dish that comes out of the kitchen to each one of the 40 people that get to dine at Alter every night.  Just months after opening, Brad has already been named Food & Wine’s Best New Chef this past year, an accomplishment he is still stoked about. His coolness and authenticity made our conversation one I truly enjoyed.

CCL: Define your cooking style in 3 words

BK: Gastronomic, worldwide, creative

CCL: Interpret the essence of Casa de Campo in a dish

BK: Seafood focused and something that would consider the resort’s subtle elegance without forgetting to integrate the tropical roots. 

Our favorite dish of his at the Friday night dinner:

Brad Kilgore Rock Shrimp Lard Salad
Rock Shrimp Lard Salad – Broccoli Stem, Peanuts, Chili Vinegar, Shiso “The salad was very refreshing and light but the burst of flavors was definitely there. An explosion of textures”

Wesley True: A spot-on last minute surprise

Flavors of the World - Wesley

Although we didn’t have much time to chat, Wesley was Jeremy’s wingman for the event. A seafood lover and expert, Wesley participated with Jeremy in this past season of Top Chef and the two seemed to pair well in the kitchen all weekend. Wesley was also very cool to talk to and he’s the seafood expert of the group.

CCL: Define your cooking style in 3 words

WT: Fresh, Light and Exciting

Our favorite dish of his at the Friday night dinner:

Hamachi Belly – Sea Water, Seaweed, Lemon – “The bonito and sea salt dipping water paired really well with the fish!” Unfortunately, this was the first dish served and our table and we got too excited and dug in before we remembered we needed to take pictures!

I hope this first article gets you excited for the full coverage coming up these next few days. We saw many of you raving about the food and experience as did we, so stay tuned for more!

Thanks to the photographers for the awesome pictures!

  • Featured Image of the three chefs: Armando Larrauri (@armandolarrauri, www.armandolarrauri.com)
  • Portraits of the individual chefs: Laura Perdomo
  • Food Photography taken with Iphone 6: Lauren Llenas