Where did you grow up? What was your first experience in the kitchen and how did you decide you wanted to become a chef?
“I grew up in Marseille in the South of France. My uncles owned a restaurant close to where we lived and when I was younger I would spend a lot of time there with my family. I learned so much from my uncles and this is when I realized I wanted to become a chef. I spent six years in culinary school in France at Lycée Hotelier De Marseille and during the school year I worked at different restaurants for internships.”
Tell us about your experience in the industry and how it lead you to TATEL.
“When I moved to the United States in 2009, I started working for a small French restaurant called Cote Gourmet. In 2010 I joined the culinary team at NOBU, which led to a seven year adventure with the company. I moved around from different NOBU locations all over the world, including Miami, Las Vegas, the Philippines and Perth, Australia. After seven years of Japanese cooking I wanted to go back to my European roots, so the opportunity to work with Santiago and TATEL Miami came up at the perfect time.”
*Santiago Rodriguez is the Hospitality GM of Mabel Management, based in the U.S. and coordinating the international company’s expansion. He was formerly the Worldwide Director of Operations at NOBU and MR. CHOW.
Who would you say are your culinary mentors?
“Dominique Frerard from Les Trois Forts Restaurant. I completed an internship under Executive Chef Dominique Frerard at Les Trois Forts Restaurant, eventually landing a job with the company.”
With a long history working together at NOBU, how does it feel to be reunited with General Manager Santiago Rodriguez?
“It is great, I love him as a boss and manager. I’ve always liked working with him and he was the one who gave me the opportunity to grow within the company as a head Chef in Australia. It’s a great feeling to be working with him again.”
What is TATEL all about? Can you describe the concept and what consumers will experience during a visit?
“TATEL is a classic Spanish restaurant with authentic Spanish food. When customers come to this restaurant they will feel like they’re in Spain. It’s not fusion or Americanized Spanish food. It is very traditional.
What are some of the dishes you’re most excited about on the TATEL Miami menu?
“Tortilla trufada is a good one. It’s a Spanish tortilla with truffles. I’m really excited about this dish. There are a few additions to the menu that we’re working on that will be specifically for the Miami menu that I have worked on in collaboration with the chefs in Spain, including Secreto Iberico, which is a unique cut of the Iberico pork, with very authentic flavors. The Rice dishes that we offer, made in the traditional Spanish way that I learned when I was in Alicante, Spain.
How do you get your inspiration for the TATEL Miami Menu?
“I was in Spain for eight weeks and traveled throughout the North and South of Spain. I tried different products and dishes from each region. My travels through Spain sparked many of my ideas for the TATEL Miami menu.”
Are you adding dishes to the menu with local flavors?
“We are definitely using local produce. Many of the vendors we work with are local vendors including Zak the Baker, Paradise Farms Organic and Latteria Italiana Gelato. The new dishes are geared more towards the Miami audience, including several fresh seafood options.”
What is your favorite cooking ingredient?
“This is a hard question because there is not only one. I know what I cook the most with and it’s definitely olive oil. Another one is butter and that comes from my French roots.”
Best cooking tip for a novice just getting into the business?
“You really need to love what you do. Being a chef comes with working long hours and it is very hard work, but if you love what you do it’s worth it.“
About TATEL Miami:
Owners Abel Matutes Prats and Manuel Campos Guallar have partnered with international Spanish music star Enrique Iglesias and two of the most important athletes in Spain’s history – tennis legend Rafael Nadal and two-time NBA champion Pau Gasol – to bring the iconic Spanish gastronomy and lifestyle brand TATEL to Miami. TATEL was created with the intent to build global awareness for traditional Spanish cuisine and culture. TATEL is much more than a restaurant, it is a sensational experience that brings together the best of Spanish gastronomy, the culture of the country and the world of entertainment. After a wildly successful first year in Madrid, TATEL decided to bring its original concept to the United States with the opening of its second location in Miami in January 2017.
For more information about TATEL visit: www.tatelrestaurants.com