The Experience of American Modern Cuisine at Slate Restaurant.
Residents of Dr. Phillips are very familiar with Slate Restaurant. I bet that if you drove in the afternoon time around Sand Lake Rd either going to Apoka Vineland or coming from there, you’ve seen that sexy fireplace lit on the window outside Slate.
Slate Restaurant and that sexy fireplace
Well, that fireplace is even sexier inside and more! So, in case you haven’t been to Slate, let us tell you what a nice experience we had. Not only the place is incredibly beautiful inside (we’ll show you great pics) but we also had the opportunity to interview and spend a great time with Chef Kevan Ho at Slate.
What a talent!
If I classify art as something that seeks to provoke an emotional effect on me, then cooking is art. Consider an artist (in case a Chef) that intends to educate the palate as the ear is educated.
To me, when a kitchen transcends itself, portrays itself, or is a theme or a metaphor, then food becomes art.
Therefore, the question is: does cooking attract intelligence?
I think so.
Let me explain with intelligent words, I do not consider culinary science as a mere nutritional procedure. On the contrary, I classify it as an aesthetic experience that goes beyond pleasure.
But to be honest, I can anticipate that a Branzino prepared by Kevan Ho can make me a better person.
I left our interview feeling like an art curator after seeing the dishes Kevan cooks at Slate. Yes, just like a person who can tell if an artist attained the desired result when viewing a work of art.
And it is not essential to be a connoisseur of anything; having good taste and enjoying a piece of art or identifying something beautiful is natural in all humans.
Awaken your senses with Chef Kevan Ho at Slate Restaurant.
Kevan Ho is one of the most important protagonists of the success of Slate.
He has a dynamic in the kitchen that shows how much he enjoys the environment around him.
We caught him by surprise while he was cooking us some delicious dishes, I leaned over and started bombarding my questions.
Hi Kevan! How is everything?
–Hello Immers3d Magazine, doing good… putting little things in place to show you what I’m going to prepare for you today. That is our Vegan Risotto, our Branzino, and our house Brisket.
– Everything looks amazing! So, Kevan, how long have you been a chef at Slate Restaurant?
-4 years now, and ready to open another Slate Restaurant!
– I’ve seen the presentation of your dishes, quite impressive. How would you define your type of cuisine at Slate Restaurant?
–I consider it Modern American Cuisine. Where flavor and beauty can work together to create a visually stunning and satisfying dish.
– Explain to me a little how flavor and beauty go hand in hand.
–Well, it’s more than that. Food is intimately linked to the emotional realm; the goal of a delicious meal is to arouse emotions and feelings of joy, resulting in experiences that can be cherished with pleasure. But to achieve that you have to awaken all the senses
-I strive so that my dishes come out and impact all your senses. That you can taste them with your eyes and nose, as well as your mouth, and delight your ears at the same time. That’s the experience I’m talking about!
-I like your philosophy. Tell us about your career in the culinary world.
-I was born in Miami but raised in Antigua. Already at the age of fifteen, I knew I wanted to study cooking so after I finished high school, I started culinary school in my country. As you know, in Antigua we have some spectacular 5-star resorts, so at the age of 16, I started as a helper in a 5-star kitchen.
-So, you started working with the pros. How was that experience?
–What can I tell you, I think, that’s where my real culinary experience began. My teachers were European “haute cuisine” chefs. I was working with Chefs from all over, Holland, France, Spain to name a few. I learned with them the importance of a clean kitchen, selection of products, and course, the presentation of the food. It was incredible. So I come from a kitchen with a lot of demands and above all a lot of innovation. Later, I worked as a private chef in my country where I did very well, I was Eric Clapton’s private chef for a while. People that come to Antigua have a good palate and know how to recognize a good cuisine. Then life took me to Florida. I had my son and I decided it was time for my career to move up.
-So today, how have you evolved in your career as a Chef?
–We could say that I used to use the kitchen to make great dishes, but now I use it to learn about it and experiment with creation and innovation systems. I am a cook who is attempting to create. People that aspire to innovate and take risks to open doors have a distinct mindset. To do important things, it is necessary to start by enjoying each day by doing small things and transmitting that joy to others.
– How about your kitchen team at Slate?
–My team is great. They know very well that I am cool, but I am also very demanding. In my kitchen, it’s all about being focused. We have 3 stations and I am like a director, I direct the orchestra. Slate is an open kitchen, so it is very important that we are all in a good state of mind, have a good appearance, and above all a good attitude. So, overall I am very satisfied with my team.
– Are there some moments of challenges during the night in Slate Restaurant?
–In reality, there are not many challenges. You just have to be focused. The food has a presentation that takes time and dedication. We can fill the restaurant and do 230 covers, but the food must come out consistently, so we have to be very fast. Now, as you can see, we have a wood-burning fireplace for Pizzas, but we are not a pizzeria. So sometimes it can become a challenge to take out 5 pizzas at once.
-Do you consider your style of American Modern Cuisine for everyone?
– Well, yes, but at the same time my “culinary art” is based on the idea of ”eating for the experience” beyond nourishing. That is why I offer a sensory experience that is what the viewer can value, in this case, the person who eats those dishes. Now, if you’re here because you want to fill your belly, that type of customer might not appreciate what we offer at Slate.
-What is your main goal as Executive Chef at Slate Restaurant?
– At Slate Restaurant we always try to take care of the way we deliver our dishes. My goal is for the flavor and beauty of our art to reflect the passion with which we prepare each meal. That’s the best satisfaction possible: the smiles on our clients’ faces, leaving them satisfied and with the hope that they will return wanting more.
-And what does Kevan Ho do, on his day off?
–Well, I’m with my family. I have a 4-year-old son, Hendrix, and I like spending time with him. I cook a lot at home and my son likes to eat well so it’s fun.
-Tell us about the Menu in Slate. Is it always the same?
–The seasons and the products that come with the time of the year constantly inspire me to change up the Slate menu. I achieve more dynamism in my increasingly innovative creations.
– As a great Chef, what do you aspire to be, one day?
– I am going to earn a Michelin star.
At the rate, you are going, your name is going to be very recognized.
Your art and charisma and love for your work will earn you more than one Michelin Star in the future.
And while we talked for at least 1 hour, Chef Kevan Ho, manage to create for us these incredible dishes:
Slate Restaurant Main Dishes
Herb Roasted Branzino at Slate Restaurant
Ingredients: Celery Root Puree, Seared Turnip Almond Cream, and Herb Oil $38
Branzino is perfect for this dish. It is light and flaky yet with firm flesh and maintains its shape when you cook it. The Branzino’s flavor is mild, not too fishy, and that helps impart the ingredients you mix with it. The Turnips give you that sensation of a Scallop… and the Celery root puree, mixes well with the flavor of the Turnip, (since the taste it’s a bit similar). The Almond Cream enhances the ultimate flavor of the fish.
Seared Romanesco at Slate Restaurant
Mushroom Risotto, Summer Truffle, and Pecan Jam $30
The second dish Chef Kevan prepared for us was the Mushroom Risotto Seared Romanesco a vegetarian delicate dish he created
As someone who is not a fan of vegan food, I was pleasantly surprised by the taste, presentation, and texture. Chef Kevan had everything ready for us: homemade almond butter, a little Romanesco crown, prepared mushroom risotto, pecan jam, and summer black truffle. Kevan then seared the Romanesco on the homemade vegetarian almond butter until it was cooked to perfection.
Then he sautéed the mushroom risotto, and at this point, all of the components were ready, so he assembled this fantastic dish. As the last touch (and for me, the best part), Kevan began slicing the summer black truffle in a very delicate lamination.
The appearance was beautiful, but the flavor was out of this world: the risotto texture combined with the subtle black truffle flavor and the contrast of the pecan jam melted in my mouth on an explosion of tastes that made it difficult to resist dipping my fork in it.
Celery Root Dauphine, Porter Glaze, Roasted Allium Marmalade, Whole Grain Mustard. $40
Slate Restaurant Brisket Review
The third dish that Chef Kevan prepared for us was a work of art in all senses. The Slate Brisket is not at all the typical Brisket.
Chef Kevan’s Brisket is presented in the form of 2 square blocks of certified Angus beef braised and demi glazed with the brisket reduction broth. The Brisket is laid in the middle of the porter glaze circle made of a combination of coffee and chocolate, then surrounded and topped with 5 celery root dauphine dumplings which are made of a paste made with flour eggs, and flour, mixed with celery root, potatoes, then deep fried. The dish was garnished with roasted allium marmalade and whole grain mustard.
Besides the beautiful presentation, the mix of flavors and textures that we experienced tasting this dish was so difficult to explain but was amazing !!.
The Brisket was perfectly cooked and melted in my mouth, the dumplings were so tasty and perfectly fried, were a great companion to the tender meat, and the garnishing gave the final and special touch.
I had always thought of a Brisket just as another barbeque option but Kevan took this traditional southern dish into another dimension. Every bite tasted more and more to all the combination of ingredients that were inside this dish.
What can I say, it awakened my senses in a way and I understood more the philosophy that Kevan has in the creation of all his dishes.
” Experience the awakening of your senses “
I highly recommend this dish as well as the other ones we had tried and will continue to try and Immers3D Magazine invite you to experience the amazing dishes created by Chef Kevan as well as the perfect ambiance at Slate Restaurant, a unique experience.
Inside Slate’s 360 Panoramic Views
View of the area of Slate’s sexy fireplace
Slate’s back Dining Area
Slate’s Outside Bar Courtyard area
Kitchens have evolved, transformed, and adapted to the globalized and digitized world in which we now live. A chef no longer only needs to know basic recipes or techniques, now a chef needs skills that allow him to adapt to the new paradigms of gastronomy, and the new restaurant business models.