Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten reigns over many restaurants worldwide, including Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star J&G Grill Miami at Five-Star The St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort. For his newest spots — Matador Room and Market, both located in Ian Schrager’s The Miami Beach Edition — the Alsace, France, native turned to Spain, South America and the Caribbean’s Latin-infused flavors to craft a menu that’s uniquely Miami. Forbes Travel Guide recently caught up with the multiple James Beard Award winner to get a taste of what he has cooking these days in South Florida.
What’s your philosophy when it comes to cooking?
Season with your senses.
What would your ideal meal be?
I always crave dishes that are simple and seasonal, and I never miss a meal. I usually have oatmeal or eggs for breakfast and a protein with vegetables for lunch. I decide what’s for dinner depending on my cravings, which sometimes consist of a bowl of pasta or sushi after work.
What’s your staple dish for family and friends at home?
I always serve family style when I cook at home. I spend my entire week plating at the restaurant so, when I am home, I take the casual approach and have everyone serve themselves.
You’ve traveled everywhere. What are your favorite foodie cities?
I believe we have the best food in NYC. You can get anything you want here, from authentic Italian to the freshest fish directly from the market in Tokyo.
Tell us about the concept behind Matador Room. What is the dining experience like?
We wanted to keep the glamour and charm of the original Matador Room and, at the same time, reflect and celebrate the culture of Miami today. We kept the original layout of the space and restored the large chandelier in the dining room, which continues to be the focal point of the restaurant. The inspiration for the outdoor space comes from the Tropicana nightclub in Havana, Cuba. The seasonal menu, composed of small and large plates, utilizes a bounty of the freshest Floridian ingredients.
And what was the inspiration behind Market?
The inspiration behind Market stems from the Boqueria and other outdoor markets found in Barcelona and Madrid. Market is a marketplace-inspired restaurant and patisserie, featuring open counters and kitchens that serve eclectic and international fare, utilizing fresh and seasonal Floridian ingredients. We want our guests to feel like they are walking into their own kitchen to satisfy a craving.
What appealed to you about the Edition space specifically?
Ian and I have similar styles when it comes to architecture and design. I was attracted to the modern, casual glamour of the Edition space. I love the historical aspects of the property and the mid-beach location.
When you’re not working, which restaurants and bars do you frequent here?
Yardbird Southern Table & Bar, Zuma, Nobu Miami Beach, Broken Shaker, Joe’s Stone Crab and Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink.
What new spots are you most looking forward to trying?