The Clever Root

Spring 2018

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1 2 | t h e c l e v e r r o o t If you are a culinary professional interested in being featured here or want more information on Chef's Roll, please email We've partnered with Chef's Roll, the global culinary professional network, to learn more about chefs from around the country. Soraya Caraccioli-Kilgore Owner/Executive Pastry Chef at MadLab Creamery, Alter, and BRAVA by Brad Kilgore in Miami, FL What makes you excited to be working in Miami right now, and what's the big- gest challenge? Miami is a city I still consider to be getting out of its culinary infancy, yet at an ac- celerated rate. What some big cities accomplish in 20 years we are doing in five, and you can see it happening before your eyes. Being part of it is amazing, humbling, and exciting but also nerve-wracking. It's a machine that never stops growing and evolving, and it can take you to the edge, but that's what we thrive on as chefs. Sourcing local and seasonal ingredients is what aids your creativity as a pastry chef. How have Miami's farmers, purveyors, and ingredients inspired you? It's great to see the farmers come into the restaurant excited about a fruit, veg- etable, or herb because being able to work with something great makes us creative. It is hard to get consistent produce even though we have amazing and hardworking farmers, as Miami weather can be relentless and capricious, but we are very resilient in this city. We have micro-seasons, so I might have a dessert for one to two months or as short as two weeks, but that makes it interesting and fun. What are some issues within food culture that you'd like to hear more conversa- tion around? The issues of how women are portrayed in the kitchen and in high positions. We can see the levy breaking, but we as women have to make sure that even if people start rolling their eyes because of the oversaturation of the topic, we need to keep push- ing for equality. Sexism in the kitchen is real: I have lived it and endured it, and now I am fighting it. PHOTO COURTESY OF ALTER MIAMI Zachary Meloy Owner/Executive Chef at Better Half in Atlanta, GA What inspires your personal food style at Better Half? I sheepishly have to admit that a lot of our inspiration comes from junk food and the terrible crap we ate as kids. Our entire goal is to present something familiar in an unfamiliar way or, vice versa, to present something entirely new in a way that will be comforting and approachable. At the end of the day, we always want our food to tell a story about where we've come from. Sourcing ingredients in Atlanta is said to be a challenge. How have you tackled this? We don't have a hard time sourcing because we primarily try to steer clear of expensive specialty ingredients and opt for more humble stock. That also helps us keep our price point more comfort- able for our guests. What do you do to stay creative when there's a lack of diverse produce? Winter is the time where we focus on taking an ingredient apart and analyzing it; the texture, col- or, flavor, and how we can alter them keeps us feeling fresh. By the time our brains can't handle it anymore, we see the first fruits and veggies of spring! ■cr

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