Chef Gabriel Fenton Talks Jerk Chicken Wings & Bourbon Steak

Chef_Gabe_chicken_wings.jpg
Photo by Lee Klein
The Miami Heat plays its first preseason game this coming Tuesday, October 5. That same evening, executive chef Gabriel Fenton from Bourbon Steak Miami will be introducing his own new heat excitement via "super hot jerk chicken wings" -- a new bar item on a new bar menu. Guests can watch the basketball action on the restaurant's flat screen TV while enjoying the wings -- though if you'd rather bounce a burger down the gullet during the game, Mina's award-winning specimens are still available at the bar.

We checked in with chef Fenton to find out more about these spicy wings, the recipe for which apparently comes from a Jamaican dishwasher. Gabriel not only talked wings with us, he generously shares the recipe as well. We'll post that up on Monday.
New Times: So how'd you get started with the jerk chicken wings?

Chef Fenton: We buy our chickens whole; I take the wings off for the airline chicken breast, and the legs as well. I use chicken leg confit in the restaurant, but I don't use the wings for anything, other than sometimes for stock or whatever. So I started making different styles of roasted chicken (wings) for the staff. One day I started making jerk sauce. I actually learned the recipe when I worked in Cape Cod.

That's a funny place to learn jerk.

A lot of the dishwashers there are from Jamaica, like 90% of them; they go to Cape Cod for summers. And this one guy taught me jerk sauce. It was amazing, a lot of different layers of flavor. So I copied it and just kept it in the back of my brain, and started making jerk sauce over and over again, just for fun, and I perfected it. It's got a lot of heat but other things too. It's not the kind of heat where it hurts, like some Thai food or whatever. This is an extreme heat, but there's a lot of cilantro in the sauce, and coriander, allspice, stuff like that, which all act as cooling elements.

How much will they cost?

We're still arguing about that right now. Probably around $9 for maybe nine or ten pieces. We want to keep in line with what a sports bar charges - what is that, like ten for ten bucks, a dollar apiece?

I'm really not sure.

Well we want to come in around that same price level.

Did the rest of the menu recipes come from other dishwashers?

No, but honestly, that's where I get a lot of my culinary ideas, from different ethnic people or ethnic foods. Then I'll find a way to refine it, make it better than those who originated it (laughs). I have one Jamaican guy here and he says mine (jerk) is better. It's not my opinion...it's everyone else's (laughs again, and you can hear the guy in the background laughing too).

What would you drink with that?

Probably a Singha beer or something like that. Or maybe we'll get in Red Stripe. Probably Red Stripe. I've had it with that before and it's really good.

Anything else coming up at Bourbon Steak this season?

Yeah, we're putting together a menu of bar bites that the wings will be on. That will be a more affordable way of eating here. There'll be curried mussels, some kind of charcuterie, a warm cheese, mixed olives - things of that nature, in the $6 to $12 range. People will be able to come in and hang out. We'll be having live music Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays.

When does the bar menu start?

The bar menu will go into full swing on Sunday, November 14, because we're going to start our outdoor bar then as well. We'll have a bartender and bar out by the pool behind the restaurant, and the live music will be piped through there as well. So you'll be able to listen to nice Spanish flamenco guitar, and try the new bar bites ...there'll be four or five seats at the bar, 10 seats at the outside tables to start. It's a whole other addition to the restaurant.

The wings, to sum up, start on Tuesday. The recipe for the wings will fly in on Monday morning.

Bourbon Steak Miami
Fairmont Turnberry Isle
19999 West Country Club Dr.,Aventura.
786-279-6600


Location Info

Bourbon Steak, a Michael Mina Restaurant

19999 W. Country Club Drive, Aventura, FL

Category: Restaurant


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