When Andy Bates visits Miami, he truly enjoys his time here. As a Chef on a global food adventure it’s normal for Andy to fit in, amidst the numerous cultures found in Miami. Andy’s palate is noticeably influenced by the cultural melting pot found here in Miami and South Florida. Andy’s way with British food coupled with his ability to add a modern twist, is offered to hungry patrons at his many pop up locations.
Miami, Orlando and London are on his map, his experiences carried from city to city and ultimately influencing his next pop up restaurant. This casual approach is beautiful to see. Food was meant to be enjoyed in settings other than a fast paced restaurant. As Andy told me, meals well prepared at home can be superior to those served to guests at restaurants.
Andy ventured Miami, and found himself learning local staples from Diny Bakery in Hialeah. He enjoyed Miami’s Critical Mass bike ride in between a Heat game, and grabbing some good eats with his wife, who also helps prepare foods at the pop up restaurants, and photographs some of Andy’s best creations. Of course the mention of Cuban bread intrigued me, as a child I would hollow out the center and eat the entire warm fluffy dough in one sitting. I had to ask Andy about his take on the craft he learned at Diny Bakery.
He shared his experiences with me, and I noticed how well Andy captures what is going on in Miami. From hand made Cuban bread and pastelitos, to dining at some of our favorite restaurants around town. Andy’s time in Miami was well spent, he stopped by Pubbelly & Blue Collar to catch up with Chefs Jose Mendin and Daniel Serfer. Andy also shared a homemade meal prepared by Pablo Suarez with us, that rolled him home. It would have most certainly done the same to me. The fried plantains are a personal favorite, and having both tostones and maduros to pick from, one can’t go wrong. Miamians find themselves living in a unique area of the country, not just culturally, but ecologically as well. Marjory Stoneman Douglas described The Florida Everglades as a River of Glass. The year round climate here in South Florida influences a fusion of various ingredients and cultures. Miami is practically located in the the Caribbean. Sinatra could hop on a plane, to have lunch in Havana, if he pleased.
The proximity of Miami to all the Caribbean islands, and Latin American countries is so close that the food found throughout the city is varied and anything you could want to eat is found somewhere in the city. Various other cuisines from around the world are also featured in Miami, but generally, it’s the lack of fusion and poor menu execution that makes it a bland experience. Andy’s particular style is unique, and few Chef’s in Miami own the craft like Chef Bates does. Andy’s British background is unique, even in our quasi international Caribbean peninsular corner. Miami would be bestowed with Andy’s delectable British fare, with it’s various influences from around the world. There will soon be an opportunity to enjoy some British pies, filled with mouth watering surprises created by Chef Bates. We are expecting some interesting collaborations, and will keep you all in the loop.
How was your experience at the Cuban Bakery? What did you learn about baking Cuban Bread? Any tips you can share with us?
Such An Amazing Experience! I never knew just how much work went into making cuban bread. For me I’m used to ‘proofing’ bread to double the size but with Cuban bread you ‘proof’ to 3-4 times the size. And of course, its all about the Lard! The Bakery was Diny Bakery in Hialeah, where we met with Raul.
I saw lots of Cuban staples being made called cuban pastelitos. A few were filled with cheese, cheese and guava, and some with just plain guava.
The Cuban Sandwiches you served at the Leicester Market in Britain looked delicious! What is some of the motivation behind the fare you presented to Londoners during the market’s Winter Food Festival?
Well, my wife is Cuban-American and since coming to Miami I’ve fallen in love with not only her but the sandwich too.
A lot of my travels with Food Network UK have taken me around the world and I love showing people back home the techniques and recipes that I’ve learned from my travels.
We know you dined at several of our favorite spots around Miami, speak to us about some of the meals you had that were cooked by family and friends.
I’m so glad you asked! One of my favourite things about traveling is home cooked food. When made well I think it’s better than visiting a restaurant. Family friend, Pablo Suarez, invited me round one evening to experience a traditional Cuban feast.
Upon arrival, Pablo served black bean hummus and chicharones while he finished cooking the main meal. Though the black bean hummus was not traditional, he had sampled some at a restaurant a few weeks back and felt that I had to try it.
Plus black beans are a staple in every cuban household. Arroz con pollo, plantains, tostones, toasted cuban bread with butter, quickly filled the dinner table along with with a few other dishes. It was unbelievably good. We finished on flan and guava cupcakes. I had to be rolled home!
Share some thoughts with us about Miami. After enjoying 3 weeks down here in our corner of the Florida Everglades, what can you tell us about Miami?
I cannot get enough of the food scene here. Each of the restaurants bringing their own style and flair to the party too. The street art has always been a big draw to me also, I live in an area of East London called Hackney very near to Shoreditch which really reminds me of Wynwood with the street art, bars & restaurants (admittedly the weather is a lot better here though).
For me it’s about coming to a town and not being ripped off at the tourist spots, going off the beaten path and finding what the town is really about. I’m very fortunate enough to have found that here.
What are you looking forward to upon your arrival back home to London?
A cup of tea of course!
Had you ever visited Disney before? How did you enjoy the Epcot Food Festival and the success of your collaborative pop Up restaurant with Sushi & Seoul at Orlando’s Redlight Redlight Beer Parlour?
Yes, I went to Disney in 1988 I was 11 years old. I can remember people eating lots of pancakes for Breakfast. I really enjoyed Epcot, especially eating and drinking around the World. We started in Mexico & finished in ‘The Rose & Crown Pub’ in England. The Orlando Pop up was a great success hosted by myself & Al Ruiz from Sushi & Seoul at Redlight Red Light. A ‘Bitter’ was specially brewed by Brent Hernandez to match the menu.
Pork & Sage Scotch egg
Cheese & Onion Pie
Rare Roast Beef Yorkshire Pudding with Horseradish & Onion rings.
Mild Bitter Ale
Your first published book, Andy Bates Modern twists on classic dishes was well received in our kitchen. What can we expect from your new book?
I’m in the process of writing at the moment. There’ll be more from my recent international travels plus a few collaborations.
You shared with us your plans to collaborate with a few of the players in Miami’s scene. What you are planning with Wynwood Brewer?
Hopefully a collaboration of Pie & Beer. I’ll be making my Cold raised Chicken & Ham pie and they will be brewing a beer for the evening. I will also do a demonstration on how to make the perfect meat pie
Tell us about your experience at Pub Belly. Their restaurants are among our favorites in Miami.
The original Pubbelly is one of my favorite spots in Miami as its one of the first places my now wife took me when we first met. I was really impressed with ‘Casual dining’ experience at a great price, and small plates that just kept coming. Easily one of my top 10 restaurants. A must on every visit.
Chef Serfer over at Blue Collar makes it hard for someone to claim Miami lacks quality establishments. Standing tall, minimally distant from the usual dining hubs in Miami, Daniel.
I visit here every time I’m in town also. Daniel’s a great guy and his Shrimp & Grits with Lobster stock are the best I’ve tasted.
Tell us about some of the collaborative meals and events you participated in during your stay in Miami.
We hired an apartment for a photo shoot in Wynwood where I was fortunate enough to cook and share recipes with some of my favourite Miami Chefs Timon Balloo, Daniel Surfer and Michael Moran from F.I.U.
It was easily one of the most Inspiring weekends I’ve ever had. Andy shared an excellent pie that can be served for lunch or dinner. It’s also seasonally inspired, since it calls for a Pumpkin ale.
BEEF CHEEK & PUMPKIN PIE
Ingredients Serves 4
- In a bowl place the Beef Cheeks, onion, garlic, thyme, pinch of pepper and the Beer.
- Cover and refrigerate for at least 24hrs.
- Next day take the beef out of the bowl, pat dry, season and in a heavy based pan, heat some oil to a high heat and fry off in batches (do not over crowd) until brown all over.
- Place in an oven proof saucepan and add the beer marinade and veg to the pan. Add the beef stock, cover and cook in a low oven 255 F / 130 C for 3 hrs or until very tender but not falling apart.
- Carefully strain through a sieve into a clean saucepan reserving beef only. Discard the remaining veg and herbs.
- Reduce the stock until thickened and glossy then whisk in a tbsp of butter.
- Add the Beef and the pumpkin chunks and allow to cool and refrigerate until needed.
- For the Pastry add the flour and salt into a food processor, add the butter and combine to a breadcrumb consistency, add the sour cream and quickly combine till a dough forms. Do not over mix. wrap in clingfilm and chill for at least 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 356 F / 180 C
- Fill 4 individual pie dishes with the beef and pumpkin filling.
- Separate the pastry into 4 and roll into circles/ovals 10mm thick making sure they overlap each pie dish, top with a circle of pastry, seal and crimp the edges and trim around the sides to neaten if needed. Brush pastry with the egg yolk and prick the top with a knife. Bake for about 20-25 minutes till the pastry is golden brown. Cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.