Top Chef Hung Huynh made a splash in the Magic City this year, opening Catch Miami at the James Royal Palm Hotel. We caught up with the Manhattan-based Vietnamese chef via phone to talk Catch Miami, Wine & Food and restaurant trends…
Congratulations on opening Catch Miami, how’s it going?
They’re doing really well down there, no complaints so far. We took a lot of our favorites from NY and we lightened up a few dishes. We added some local fish, tater tots and a bit of Latin influence - just a little bit to make the restaurant Miami-ish.
What are your impressions of the city?
Miami is amazing. I remember being down there for five years ago for Top Chef and thinking holly shit, the food is really, really good. I was really impressed by most places we went. I actually enjoy dining there more than in New York, because I’m not working that much and I get to enjoy the food
Tell about your plans for the Wine & Food Festival
We’re doing Best of the Best on Friday. Other than that, hanging out with industry peers & meeting people. I know there’s so much food going on, we’re going to end up stumbling on a good time
How has TV changed food?
For me, it’s been the same since I won Top Chef, except my head is bigger. It has helped open a lot of doors, I still see hard work - you got to crush your balls to be where you want to be. TV has also helped awareness of the quality of food & exposed people to new types ingredients. Iron Chef has glamorized our profession, rather than in the 80s when we were servants.
What food trends are you seeing?
I think Indian food is still coming up a lot. Also Thai and Vietnamese. A lot of places are going back to the basics. People just want decent, solid food that’s tasty and not manhandled. We’re going back to authenticity.