David Sears, Executive Chef, Sushi Samba Coral Gables
A while back, we shared with you guys the amazing experience we had at Sushi Samba Coral Gables. With a glowing review, we decided to further explore the magic behind the kitchen and have a Q & A with Chef David Sears, who’s leading all culinary efforts at the new Coral Gables hotspot. Sears may be the new head honcho in charge, but he’s no newbie to the culinary world. He’s an established chef who’s led the team at Temple Orange at the Ritz Carlton Palm Beach as Chef de Cuisine and was crowned winner of the reality TV chef series, Chef Wanted with Anne Burrell on the Food Network; all this among a series of other well-deserved accolades under his belt.
His pièce de résistance? The ability to cook fusion cuisine, expertly and effortlessly. In simpler terms, he’s the fusion master. Oh yeah, and he also has a Business Management and Aerospace Engineering degree from Georgia Tech. No big deal.
You’re relatively new on the job, how are you planning to integrate Sushi Samba Coral Gables with Miami cuisine?
I firmly believe that SUSHISAMBA’s concept is already a great reflection of Miami and its cuisine, and my intention is to uphold its approach. There are very strong Latin influences here with populations from South America, Central America and the Caribbean, all playing their part in creating exceptional flavors that have become synonymous with Miami’s cuisine. SUSHISAMBA has embraced that with its strong profiles of Brazilian and Peruvian food, but it has also taken it a step further with the incorporation of Japanese influences, cooking techniques and methods.
What are the staple ingredients in your kitchen?
The staple ingredients in my kitchen are Peruvian peppers and spices, dendê oil, miso, soy sauce, Wagyu beef, sushi grade hamachi and sea bass.
When did you know you wanted to be a chef?
I was five years old when I first knew I wanted to be a chef. My mother and father attended a gala and left my siblings and me at home with the nanny. In their absence, I felt it a necessity to bake something for their return. With the assistance of our nanny, I made brownies, which unfortunately did not turn out as expected; they were flat as pancakes, hard as rocks and slightly overcooked. Despite these failures, my mother adored them and praised me for my efforts. It was then that I was hooked. It seemed so simple: cooking for others can lead to praise and adulation. It took quite a number of years, and a few career changes before my dream became a reality. To this day, I view this first experience as pivotal and the moment I realized the passion I have for cooking.
If you had to pick one food item to best describe yourself, what would it be?
That it is a difficult question to answer. For me, it’s the same as asking a lover of music to choose one song that best describes them. I could say that I am like an onion because I have many layers, or I could compare myself to an egg because I am so versatile. I could choose an item or dish that I love, but as a chef I love all food. I guess I would say that all food describes me, for; who I am is truly defined by what I do.
What’s the one dish we can’t leave Sushi Samba Coral Gables without trying?
There are so many dishes on our menu that have quickly become my favorites; however, the crispy yellowtail taquitos truly stand out above the rest. They are life changing, and it’s not because we use the most expensive item in the world to produce them or because they take a painstakingly long time to create. In fact, it is the opposite; it is the simplicity of the dish that makes it so great. A ceviche of yellowtail nestled in the perfect size crispy taco shell with creamy avocado and sweet miso, topped with romaine and radishes. You know that it will taste good, but you never expect for it to be that good… and it is there that it changes your life!
Mitch & Mel