I had the privilege of sitting down with Chef Chris Miracolo this morning. He is the executive chef of S3 in the Hilton Hotel. I have become a huge fan of the restaurant, and their style of cooking. He gave me some insight into his life as a chef to share with you all. Below you will the transcription of our conversation. Enjoy!
“Hi my name is Chris Miracolo, I am the executive chef of S3 here in the Hilton hotel.”
How long have you been a chef?
“I have been cooking professionally since I was 18. So it would be 24 or 25 years now.”
Are you from Miami?
“ I am originally from long island, but I have lived in Miami since I was 15.”
When did you decide you want to be a chef?
“It would have to be about the time I went to Normans down in Coral Gables for dinner back in the day. I had been cooking as a pizza man for some time and never really got smitten by food until I walked in there and couldn’t even pronounce half the items on the menu.”
Did you go to culinary school?
“No, I actually ended up forgoing culinary school. By the time I had decided it was an option, I had already worked under a few good chefs. I actually went and toured a couple of campus. However, I felt the best way for me to get the experience was to keep working under good chefs and get direct hands on experience.”
How would you describe S3 as a whole?
“We are very eclectic. At any given time, our menu will touch on 15 different nations and 4 to 5 different continents. We have a sushi program, and we have a very heavily internationally influenced staff. A lot of people bring a lot of different views to the table. Our scene resembles that of a pacific resort. Being in South Florida, we are a melting pot of different cultures so we like to represent that as well.”
What is your favorite type of cuisine to cook?
“Not one per say, I like different aspects of different cultures. I like the peasant dishes of these cultures. For example, mofungo from Puerto Rico, vishwada from brazil, and bouillabase. All of the things people were forced to make tremendous flavors out of the off cuts.”
Have you traveled to one area that you have been overwhelmed by the cuisine there?
“I actually enjoyed believe it or not, San Francisco. I speak the language there. I haven’t been able to travel much to France or Italy since I have become a chef. I only experienced it before I appreciated food. Now that I have a son, my wife and I want to be able to expose him to these places. My recommendations for San Francisco are : the Main Stage, Berkley, The Slanted Door, and of course I like mom and pop shops. I have friends out there that are sure to take me to all of the good local secrets.”
One thing on the menu at S3 that you have to order?
“Believe it or not, the edamame. It is 5 ingredients, and it is the thing I get the most feedback from. Edamame is usually very simple wherever you go. We put a little garlic, salt, soy, seasoning, and then just the right amount of char inside the wok and it really seems to make the difference and stay in peoples mind.”
Any advice to people who want to be chefs?
“Read, I mean really read. Admit that you will never know everything. Be humble in your approach to new experiences. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes and learn from it.”