Miami Living Magazine

Michelle Rodriguez

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Page 81 of 115

FOOD Everything's Coming Up DeRosa Words by Martin Haro "Jamie is the perfect blend of confidence, technique, and maturity," says Zakarian. "Plus, he's a hell of a natural cook. He had me at the first bite of his food." The sun was shining som'in' fierce and there was a nice breeze blowing on the evening Tudor House executive chef Jamie DeRosa and I met for the first time after many a tweet and DM. The traffic outside the Dream South Beach Hotel on 11th Street and Collins Avenue was bustling, but there was a chill quietness to the corner, y know. All in all, it was a lovely, perfect moment, made even more so by the mood inside the restaurant: just the previous day, Tudor House, then less than a year old, was named Best Hotel Restaurant in the Miami New Times' Best of Miami Issue. Since Tudor House had become a favorite of mine in this post-Joe Allen world, DeRosa and I had become e-buddies. When the big teddy of a man came out of the kitchen, he was all smiles. "Isn't it great?" he said. "We're happy because there's a lot of great hotels on the beach. We're looking forward to more and to growing in the next year." About 10 days later, though, everything changed when Tudor House mastermind Geoffrey Zakarian announced that he and the Dream were severing ties. The future, that "next year," would have to wait. "I am extremely proud of what the staff and I have accomplished at Tudor House with [entrepreneur] Sant Chatwal," the restaurateur/TV personality confirmed to Short Order. "Unfortunately, my contract with the hotel limited me from pursuing other opportunities in South Florida, which I am excited to do." 80 MIAMI LIVING longer on the corner of 11th and Collins – well, not in the incarnation or with the featured players you may have known, anyway (surely, something else is in its place). Yes, as you read this, Tudor House is no You know who's still around, though? DeRosa. And that's 'cause in his short time at the restaurant's helm, he built up a fan base (he's a staunch supporter of social media) and truly has become a member of this community. Really, no joke: the guy studied here, made a boldface name for himself here, and is now starting a family here. Born in Long Island and raised in Cocoa Beach, the chef graduated from Johnson & Wales in Miami (he may have started cooking professionally under James Beard Award-winning chef Allen Susser in 1996, but DeRosa, whose family background is Spanish and Cuban, mastered his first paella when he was 7 or 8 in his grandmother's kitchen). Julia Child's 86th birthday celebration; working with Wolfgang Puck, both in the kitchen and in expansion operations in Toronto, Las Vegas, and the Magic City; and stints as chef de cuisine at Campanille for Mark Peel and as executive chef at Patina under master chef Joachim Splichal. His experiences include participating in Two years overseas rounded up his New World cuisine skills, expanding his taste buds and his ambition. DeRosa makes his food gourmet, yet accessible enough that people find it simply irresistible (his "Ugly Burger" at Tudor House was always a winner). He spent three months learning at The Fat Duck in London, and he served as executive chef at domusChina in Beijing until 2009. It was around then that Miami came a-callin'. He returned to South Florida, and he and Susser opened the short-lived Taste Gastropub in Delray Beach. Then came the opportunity to join Zakarian at the Dream. "Tudor House was amazing. Trying to break through the stigma of us being a celebrity chef-driven restaurant was a great challenge, and we loved having fun with it," DeRosa said. "And achieving the kind of consistency that made us proud and giving our guests good, delicious food – it was all part of the challenge. What a great time." Needless to say, the chef is looking forward to what's coming up next, both personally and professionally. A newlywed, he married his wife Amy, an intellectual property attorney in June; the pair welcomed daughter Isabela Grace early in August. And while a second year at the helm of Tudor House isn't in the cards, Miami certainly is. "I'm sticking around South Florida, I'm not leaving Miami," he told yours truly when I stopped by for an "Ugly Burger" on the Fourth of July. "I promise you'll be the first to know what I do next." I'll be checking my Twitter feed to see where @JamieDeRosa lands and be sure to follow him there, alright. ML

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