You Gotta Have The Chicken

At first this dish started out as a neccesicity because, there were requests for chicken. Just so you know trying to do modern food in Miami is difficult. Most of the clientele have the food that they are comfortable with and do not want to veer out and try other things. When Joel asked me to come up with the “Chicken” dish, we had already decided on using guinea hen. I thought for a few days how to make a chicken dish something up to the caliber of the food we are doing at Azul.

Don’t get me wrong, that we think we are above chicken whatsoever. I have had and made some of the most delicious dishes using chicken and one of my favorite things in the world is when Soraya (my wife) and I make a whole roasted chicken at the house for dinner. First we brine it for 24 hr. then air dry it in the fridge for 24 hr more. Then start the roast at 500F and after 10-15 min. we drop it to 300-325F. Then skin is like a cracker, and we use a fair amount of acid in our brine so it has a cracker like crunch an a touch of acid to cleanse the palate from the organic chicken fat.

In this Guinea Hen dish we receive local guinea hen whole (head and feet still attached). Just the butchering alone is quite a task. First the breast are removed skin on and then into the cryovac, individually with shallot thyme and olive oil. Cooked SV in a circulator and cooled. Meanwhile the remainder of the skin is removed from the rest of the Hen including the legs. After the legs have been skinned and cleaned they are cured whole in an aromatic salt for 1hr 15min. at room temperature and confit with citrus, vanilla, fresh herbs, and dried spices in duck fat for 1.5hrs., at 275F. The meat is cooled in the fat to room temperature and pulled and folded with the cooking fat, citrus rind, herbs, and sea salt. Once the meat is seasoned it is mixed with Activa RM and rolled inside the remaining hen skin, into individual roulades. These are crisped to order after a half hour stint in the water bath (58.5) to set the proteins of the skin.

An that is just the proteins! (excluding the full protein of black quinoa that is a garnish). Joel, Jacob, and I had been talking about Chowanmushi for a couple of days and I wanted to make an inverted chowanmushi for a more modern take on a japanese classic. Originally it is just a custard of dashi (dried bonito flakes, kelp, and water) mixed with eggs and cooked to a custard. I have taken this definition and ran with it. The “custard” is made from… The base is a soubise of butter, leek, shallot, vidalia onions, cream, and creme fraiche. They are all cooked together until the cream has caramalized and blended until smooth wit hon dashi and white shoyu. I can explain how rich and delicious this puree is. The puree is then hydrated with kappa carragenean, methylcellulose F50 and, xantham gum and using the sauce gun it is molded into pastry flex molds.For the plate they are unmolded to order and heated up in the C-Vap on the plate, the xantham keeps the fat from seperating while the methocel gels as well.

On top of all of this there is an underlying theme of dashi, white shoyu, and garlic through out the dish; The Hen Jus is made with toasted garlic slices, dashi, and white soy, The breast is sous vide with white garlic, the chowanmushi has butter poached garlic, dashi, and white soy, there are garlic flowers as a garnish, and the breasts’ glaze has dashi, white soy and black garlic.


Sous Vide Guinea Hen Breast, Leg Confit Roulade, Inverted Sweetcorn Chowanmushi, Legumes, Dill

The Components include:

Sous Vide Guinea Breast with, Roasted Corn Cob and Black Garlic Glaze, made with Hen Consomme steeped with roasted corn cobs and leaves, Black Garlic, Roasted Garlic, Low Acyl Gellan (what gives the shine while still keeping it clear)

Guinea Leg Confit, wrapped back in its own skin

Sweet Corn Chowanmushi

Legumes, Fresh Favas, Cranberry beans, Lima Beans

Black Quinoa

Garlic Flowers

Dill Liquid Gel

Micro Arugula

Toasted Garlic Hen Jus


Miami Spice Soup

Chilled Kohlrabi Soup, Chevre Custard, Beet Sable’, Olives, Anise

The most recent addition to our Miami Spice menu is a chilled soup made from kohlrabi (a member of the cabbage family). Kohlrabi comes in different colors but the interiors or the meat is always white. Here the soup is poured tableside just to the bottom of the sable so the cooke is still visible

Components include:

Kohlrabi Soup

Chevre Custard, half and half, milk steeped with herbs and garlic, chevre, agar, gelatin

Dehydrated Kalamata olive soil and emulsion (lemon and olive oil)

Orange segment

Beet Sable’, beet powder, vanilla, orange zest, anise seed, sugar, flour

Chervil and tarragon

Olive Oil

Will’s Wagyu

A7 Wagyu Ribeye, Parsley, Pomme Fondant, Yuzu Kosho Jus

Will Crandall is one of the Chefs on our team at Azul, Ironically he moved to Miami from Chicago at almost the same time as I did and he lived two blocks away from me in downtown Chicago but we had never met before. Anyway this wagyu is graded A7 for its high quality marbling and after cleaning the whole ribeye the fat is boiled down and used to sous vide each portion with herbs and aromatics. When each steak is fired it is removed from the water bath and seared heavily one one side. The vegetable components are classic with a modern approach (fyi Will stays true to Escoffier techniques and proper French cuisine with a modern vision), parsley is presented in several ways as well as garlic.

The Beef jus is a veal and chicken stock base reinforced with beef meat, and finished with yuzu juice and yuzu kosho. Yuzu kosho literally means yuzu and chili, this is a spicy paste of yuzu rind, yuzu juice, and chili peppers. It is definitely spicy and should be used in moderation, classically it is a sashimi garnish.

Components Include:

Sous Vide A7 Wagyu Ribeye

Pomme Fondant, Russet potato, cooked in clarified butter, garlic, and herbs

Parsley Root tips, and puree

Garlic Confit, Garlic Chips

Parsley Puree, on the plate

Pink Parsley, Parsley leaves, Arugula

Yuzu Kosho Beef Jus

Summer Harvest

Leaves, Branches, Roots, Flowers, Borsin, Arugula Emulsion

This is our “mixed green salad”, it is currently not on the menu but a new fall version will be in the upcoming weeks after the end of Miami Spice. The lettuces are a mix from Chefs Gardens; Gem, Red Oak, Bibb, etc. They are lightly dressed with a sherry vinaigrette, and the quenelle in the middle of the plate is a house made borsin cheese with fine herbs.

Components include:

Baby Gem Lettuces

Sherry Vinaigrette, Olive Oil, grapeseed oil, with peppercorns, fennel seeds, dijon, toasted garlic and shallots, port wine reduction, and honey

Watermelon radish rings, cherry bomb radish, french breakfast radish, micro turnips

Micro carrots

Shaved Fennel and heirloom carrots

Whole Chervil

Brioche Croutons

Arugula Puree

Borsin and Fine Herb Quenelle


Here in Miami they have what they call Miami Spice. In most cities there is a restaurant week but in Miami it is two months of restaurant week. It is a good way to attract customers in the tourist “off season”. The unfortunate part is the menu has to be three courses of three choices of apps, entrees, and desserts for only $35. At Azul we have appetizers that nearly reach this price for just the one plate. We want to make the best food possible and will not sacrifice quality just because of the menu.

Today Chef Joel had some Japanese Hirame (Fluke in English) flown in. This is a beautiful fish straight from the ocean packed in ice. This fish had gone through the technique know as Ikejime. Ikejime is where the fish is cut in the medulla oblongata in the head, then a cut in the tail is made to draw out the blood while immersed in salt water. As soon as the blood is out then a thin needle is carefully inserted into the spinal cavity to slow the process of rigor mortis. The slow the rigor is developed it is said to create a compound called ATP, this develops umami in the flesh.

This dish I have been thinking about and writing notes on for a few weeks. The one that is photoed here is for the Spice menu but it is only a fraction of what I imagine doing if it was a complete appetizer. I hope when Miami Spice is finished at the end of the month I can transition it into a permanent menu item.

Hirame Sashimi, Concorde Grape Ponzu, Shiso, Orach, Crispy Noodle

Components include:

Hirame Sashimi, seasoned with a yuzu emulsion and lime zest

Concorde Grape Ponzu Sphere, fresh Concorde grape juice, white shoyu, roasted citrus juice, mirin, and yuzu

Grapefruit cells in olive oil

Pickled Concorde Grapes

Crispy cellophane noodles, seasoned with aleppo pepper, and dried shiso

Yuzu, mirin, soy, gelee’s

Chive tips

Orach spinach leaves

Micro green and purple shiso

Julienne Watermelon radish

Three Chefs One Dish

Lemon Verbena Scented Turbot, Gremolata, Artichokes, Sunflower

This dish was a combination of Joel, Jacob, and I. Joel came up with the flavor combos, and Jake and I worked on the techniques, then we all came together with the plating (which is continuously being tweaked). The fish is gently steamed over a tea of lemon verbena and aromatics. We are all proud of the clean and complex flavors this dish has as well as the elegance.

Components Include:

Steamed Turbot

Sunflower Seed Gremolata, chives, parsley, lemon verbena, brazil nuts, preserved lemon, lemon zest, sherry vinegar

Artichoke/Sunchoke barigoule Puree

Baby Artichoke and Sunchoke Confit

Preserved Meyer Lemon Puree

Toasted Sunflower Seed Oil Powder

Garden Salad, Several Lettuces, lemon vin, d’ espellette, many flowers (borage, tamarind, ginger, garlic, coriander), verbena leaves

Artichoke Chips, with gold flake


Carbonara Custard . Egg Yolk Caramel . Smoked Lava Salt

This was the amuse that I made a few days ago. Caramel is made with sugar, herbs, coriander and other aromatics, brought to blonde caramel and poured over organic egg yolks and allowed to thicken. The custard is made from a cream base with; bacon, herbs, pepper, garlic, marsala. It is then set with kappa carrageenan directly onto the plate. To finish is a little Hawaiian smoked lava salt