Sugarcane chef Timon Balloo to make 'Miami' tacos in New York

Timon Balloo of Sugarcane in Miami

The New York City Wine and Food Festival  — younger sibling of the annual South Beach food fiesta — is set to take place over four days next month, and a few Miami chefs are packing their knives for the Big Apple.

One is Timon Balloo, chef-partner of Sugarcane in midtown and the forthcoming Bocce Bar. He’ll be dishing up smoked short-rib tacos at the Tacos & Tequila event hosted by Bobby Flay on Oct. 19 (tickets are available for $225 at

“I really wanted my dish to represent Miami, so I’m going the Latino route,” Balloo says. “We’re going to cure short ribs with cumin, garlic, oregano and other spices, then smoke it and serve it with garlic confit and good-ol’ sour-orange mojo.”

He plans to make a taco shell of sorts out of crispy potato galette, for a play on meat and potatoes. “I hope it works,” Balloo says with a laugh.

This is Balloo’s second year cooking at the New York fest’s taco night. (His dish last year: Indian-inspired tacos with lentil-naan shells. “I’ll never forget what a pain it was making, like, 1,500 bite-size tortillas of naan,” he says.) Of the 32 participating chefs at this year’s event, he will be one of only three who are not based in New York.

“Cooking at a premier event like this is a huge honor for me, especially in New York, which really is like this gateway to Florida,” Balloo says. “Last year, it was amazing to me how many people said, ‘Hey, I live down there half the year,’ and they knew Sugarcane. As a Miami chef, I love that opportunity to get out and let people know about what we’re doing in South Florida.”

Lee Schrager, founder of the New York and South Beach festivals, said he invited Balloo back to New York because of his ability to create flavorful food out of humble ingredients.

“That’s what makes him a great fit for our Tacos & Tequila event,” Schrager says. “I’m certain his dish will be enjoyed by everyone who attends.”