29. Aaron Brooks of Edge Steak & Bar
New Times' Best of Miami 2013 issue arrives June 13. To celebrate, Short Order is serving up the top 30 tastemakers in the 305. These people have helped shape the Miami food scene into what it is today. We began yesterday with number 30 and will lead up to the county's number one. A Q&A session is included in each post.
Since opening in 2011, Edge Steak & Bar at the Four Seasons in Brickell has undoubtedly become the most approachable upscale restaurant in town. And that's no surprise, given executive chef Aaron Brooks' reign of the place. The kitchen life is really all the Australian-born Brooks knows; that explains his unforgiving quest to dominate the Miami culinary scene. Now, having lived in the 305 for a few years, Brooks is enjoying the fruits of his labor with his wife and two children. Miami is a backyard paradise for him just as much as his restaurant is a paradise for all of us.
The most influential person in my career has been: Going way back to my apprenticeship in Australia, I had the pleasure of working for an extremely talented chef, Art Knauder. He taught me to really taste what we put in our mouths and be adventurous, take the time to season properly and enjoy what you are eating, treat what you cook with respect. Simple philosophies which are often overlooked by some.
When I'm alone and in need of comfort (and no one is there to watch or judge), the one food or drink I turn to is: Buffalo Trace old-fashioned.
What does Miami need more of? I would love to see a great culinary store for industry professionals, somewhere we can go to purchase great books and tools for our trade.
You get to vote one food or beverage trend off the island forever -- what is it? Not really a current trend, but if I never saw another strawberry on a salad, I would be a happy man.
You have unlimited funds to open a restaurant or bar. What's the name and what do you serve? The restaurant would be called True Blue Kitchen, and we would only serve shrimp off the barbie, lamb chops, and Foster's in big cans.
Where do you see yourself in five years? That's a tough one... I love it here -- this town has been good to me, and the scene is vibrant. So let's say in five years I see myself hanging out on the beach here with my two kids enjoying the continued success of Edge. If things keep going the way they are, life's only going to get better for this city.
Dream dinner party for six: Who (living or dead) are you inviting? Having left home over 12 years ago and spending that time traveling, I have made many friends that I miss dearly. I would handpick a certain few of my dearest friends from the industry and spend the time cooking together and drinking some fine wine.
Follow Alex on Twitter @ARodWrites.