Monday, December 03, 2007

Timon Balloo, Domo Japones

Timon Balloo’s resume would make most culinary hopefuls green with envy. He's worked in the kitchens of Miami chefs Allen Susser, Tim Andriola and Michelle Bernstein and had stints at SushiSamba in New York and Miami’s celebrated La Broche. Born to Chinese and Trinidadian parents, and possessed of an insatiable curiosity for complex flavor profiles, Balloo is a refreshing addition to Miami's dining scene. His latest gustatory undertaking will be helming the new Domo Japones, a swanky sushi bistro in the Design District. With a seasonally influenced menu that will have locavores swooning and Japanese delicacies like seaweed bread, miso cappuccino soup and wasabi-spiked chocolate desserts, the restaurant will be attracting the food-savvy crowd.
I had a chance to chat with Balloo (pictured here in the kitchen at the Y3 opening party in the Design District) last month for a Q & A for MIAMI mag. Check the magazine for the full interview. Here I give you loyal blog readers some juicy tidbits to get you in the mood for what I know will be a stellar Japanese restaurant. It opens Tuesday December 4 (tomorrow!).
What was it like working at La Broche?
The sous chef was from El Bulli and I did some research on the place and I’d ear things like foam and bubbles and it sounded really interesting. When I started there was no El Bulli book published, so you’d only hear these stories about what was going on in Spain, and these chefs seemed so liberal to me, not like rigid French cooking. It taught me to be unconventional.
What's your take on molecular gastronomy?
I don’t know if it will stick because I think it’s over the heads of some people. What I learned from the chefs at La Broche was the importance of these ingredients in Spanish culture, like the importance of the bacalau [salt cod], how fundamental that is to their cuisine and then how they try to elevate it and manipulate it. And I think some people are just manipulating ingredients and they loose the fundamentals of the theory behind it.
Tell me about your approach to organic ingredients.
I’m working with Swank Farms in Palm Beach – they grow everything through hydroponics and I was blown away by their greens. The have eight Asian lettuces and they are beautiful.
Tell me about your team.
Our sushi chef is from Nobu Bahamas and he’s also worked at Sushi Samba in Miami. We’re both committed to bringing something new to Miami, to bring a new level of Japanese cuisine to the city.
What about desserts?
I’ll be doing desserts. It’s something I experimented with a bit at Sushi Samba. What you bring back to the savory aspects of the food is remarkable, you open up a whole new spectrum of flavor profiles, whether it be putting sea salt on top of ice cream or mixing wasabi with chocolate. I started to experiment with Okinawa sea salt which is a finer salt.

Domo Japones is at 4000 NE 2nd. Avenue, Design District. 305.573.5474

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