Talking fried chicken & Miami restaurants with The Dutch's Andrew Carmellini

Andrew Carmellini loves fried chicken. And he’s bringing the good stuff Saturday night as he hosts the Festival’s first Chicken Coupe. Expect chicken, champagne & chef mingling at the W. We talked to The Dutch chef about great fried chicken,  his favorite Miami restaurants and the surprises of operating a restaurant in Miami…

The Chicken Coupe might be this year’s most anticipated event – how did it come to be?
We have this big ballroom at the hotel, but I didn’t want to do just another high-end event because some time’s they’re kind of boring. We wanted to do something fun & elegant, something high and low. We’re blending music, DJ and amazing champagne – it’s going to be great

What’s the secret to great fried chicken?
Everyone has his or her kind of tectonic ideal of what the best is. The chicken pieces I enjoy eating the most are the ones done in the fryer rather than those in the skillet. My chicken has to be moist & juicy on the inside and really crisp & not greasy on the outside.

What’s your favorite part of the chicken?
Thigh – 100%. Anyone who doesn’t say thigh has a problem. It’s the best skin to meat ratio, it’s always super juicy under the skin

How does the South Beach Festival differ from NY, Aspen and the others?
It’s just a different attitude. It might be the chefs’ attitude or the people who come. People come to NY and Aspen to party & have a good time, but being on the Beach people are much looser & naturally by the environment

What are some of your favorite Miami restaurants?
I’m always going for drinks at Freehand. I hit Michael’s Genuine and Michy’s all the time. I love to sit outside at Mandolin. And my aunt lives down the street from Whisk, so I’m always meeting there for breakfast or lunch.

Congratulations on the Dutch Miami’s first anniversary. Did you discover any surprises along the way?
In general, people want to be taken care of, eat good food and have a good time. We sure do sell a lot of stone crabs right now. And there are more doggie bags per capita in Miami than in NY.