Executive Chef Gustavo Vertone & Executive Sous Chef Maximiliano Vertone
Q: For a diner who is new to Joia Beach, how would you describe your cuisine/new menu? (The press release reads “inspiration and techniques from Asian, Mediterranean and South American regions, can you elaborate on that.)
Gustavo: Joia Beach is an exclusive place that is directly on the beach. Taking inspiration from our unique location, we try to implement more dishes that highlight fresh seafood and fish offerings.
Maximiliano: Joia Beach’s menu can best be described as European cuisine. The menu blends Mediterranean inspired dishes, heavy Greek influences and techniques, and even a bit of Italian ingredients and traditions. We try to take our diners on a journey through our food which speaks of tradition and history through our dishes’ mix of flavors, smells and sensations.
Q: Do you have a particular signature dish on the new menu that you are especially proud of creating? What is it and what inspired you when creating the dish?
Gustavo: We have implemented a salt crusted branzino as one of our specials. The dish is served and flambéed tableside and takes inspirations from the South of France, Greece, and Ibiza.
Maximiliano: Grilled octopus. I was inspired by octopus as an ingredient, and we’re seeing it become such a trend in the Miami restaurant scene. Our take on the dish will surprise diners with our unique flavor pairings.
Q: What is your favorite ingredient when cooking?
Gustavo: I love tomatoes
Maximiliano: My favorite ingredient is olive oil
Q: Do you have a favorite spice you like to use?
Gustavo: Yes. I like espelette pepper.
Maximiliano: One of my favorite spices is Spanish Saffron.
Q: Describe the chemistry between you and your brother Maximiliano/Gustavo when working together in the kitchen?
Gustavo: We have worked together for a long time in different restaurants and events. Together, we focus to implement different techniques so that our customer satisfaction is 100% guaranteed.
Maximiliano: Working together has strengthened our relationship, but before being work colleagues we have always been very good friends as well as brothers. Between us, the work is much easier and faster, and the chemistry is better between us and is always positive.
Q: Do you ever create dishes together—input from both of you?
Gustavo: Yes, we focus on an idea and keep trying until we reach the final result.
Maximiliano: We always work together on creating new dishes and consider the plate our work of art.
Q: How do your Argentine “food roots” influence your cooking?
Gustavo: We have a very strong culinary culture from my grandmother, as well as my father who has strong Italian roots.
Maximiliano: It influences my cooking in a unique and very personal way. I consider my “food roots” to be a mixture of cultures and a conduit of sensations that refer to emotions, memories, and personal experiences.
Q: If you were creating a chef’s table menu, what are the must-have dishes you would include?
Gustavo: Caviar and truffles.
Maximiliano: Risotto and tartare.
Q: When you cook at home, what do you make for yourself?
Gustavo: When I cook for myself, I eat very simple food I like to appreciate the original flavors of each ingredient without additional seasoning.
Maximiliano: Spaghetti with oil and garlic (aglio e olio).
Q: Do you have any secret foodie spot, perhaps some hole-in-the-wall or off-the-beaten path place you like to eat at?
Gustavo: I have visited many restaurants in Miami, but I do not have any favorite place here.
Maximiliano: On Sundays, I like to buy the fresh fish in the marina and cook it on the grill.