Food Republic is the very first digital recipe book by acclaimed Miami Chef Jose Mendin. I enjoyed working with Jose to understand the creative thought process behind each of his dishes so I could write an engaging and interesting introduction for each recipe.
Below is an example of 4 introductions:
In 2002 Jose was flown out to London, England by one of the world’s most renowned restaurants. He recalls that every time he’d indulge in the nightlife he’d always end the night in the same China Town restaurant, where they would serve you beer in a teacup. He swiftly established their Salt and Pepper Shrimp as his staple and took pleasure in the strong tastes that would linger all day. Pondering over the chef’s tricks of the trade, one night Chef Mendin got talking to the cooks to understand the secrets behind the dish. He was excited to learn that the important characteristic was in the marinade and the strong taste he adored was the raw, ground fried garlic. A technique he fondly embraces and uses to pronounce the distinct taste in his Salt and Pepper Squid.
The Butter Crab Roll encapsulates Chef Mendin’s ability to efficaciously intermix a diverse collection of culture, cuisine and modern techniques. Blossoming from Chef Mendin’s love of eating lobster & crab dipped in clarified butter, the Butter Crab Roll illustrates his desire to produce a traditional American classic, expressed through the flavors of Japanese cuisine. A concept that was bought to life by Pubbelly Sushi Chef Yuki Ieto, he set in motion the concept of two crab hand rolls, rolled sushi style, served with a ponzu butter dipping sauce.
Proving greatly popular at Chef Mendin’s Taco Belly pop up, the Bulgogi Tacos were bought back to life solely for Food Republic. The tacos are an assortment of two globally prominent cuisines, Mexican and Korean BBQ, that work together to flawlessly complement one another. The steak is marinated in a traditional Korean BBQ marinade and topped with a traditional Japanese vegetable, Kimchee. Chef Mendin describes the dish as ‘the perfect steak taco’.
Chef Mendin’s thought process behind imagining and producing his culinary ideas may emerge from one ingredient, a combination of ingredients, an old recipe, a craving or even from what needs to be used. This way of thinking was accelerated when the Puerto Rican chef worked at one of Miami’s elite sushi restaurants, pressured to compose 4 new dishes each week, it was here that Chef Mendin created a captivating blend of Italian style ravioli and Asian spices enhanced with citrus tones. The Duck and Pumpkin Dumpling takes pride of place, honored with the title of being his first ever dumpling recipe.
Photography: Juan Fernando Ayora