Our team recently had the chance to dine at Chef Jean-Charles Berruet’s Isla Morada restaurant, The Chanticleer South. There were few restaurants in Isla Morada and out of everything we tried only two stuck out as great places to dine. The Chanticleer south stood out for amazing service (courtesy of Bob Summers) and truly special food. One of our favorite touches of the evening was being offered fish that was caught that same day by none other than the chef. We decided that we should shine a little light on this amazing little place. Next time you are in the Florida Keys make it a point to stop in. We caught up with the Chef this week to ask him a little more about the restaurant.
FriendsEAT: Tell us a little about the style of food you serve at the restaruant:
Chef Jean-Charles Berruet: French dishes, without the pomp, I was born in Brittany, so I really love to cook fish any kind of fish. My cuisine is based on classical French, but adapted to modern time. Every thing is made at the restaurant, from the smoked fish to the sorbets.
French, without the pomp, I was born in Brittany, so I really love to cook fish any kind of fish. My cuisine is based on classical French, but adapted to modern time. Every thing is made at the restaurant, from the smoked fish to the sorbets.
FE: You’ve had quite a culinary history.
JCB: I had my own restaurant on Nantucket Island for 35 years ( The chanticleer Inn) I sold it in 2004 and moved here in the keys. I have been the executive chef at the Colony Hotel in Palm beach FL in 1974. I also was an apprentice in Tours France At Charles Barrier restaurant (3 michelin stars) and was a private Chef to the owner of Gourmet magazine for 3 years. And of course, saucier at the Leofric hotel in Coventry England.
FE: Did you grow up cooking?
JCB: Yes, every Sunday with my father growing up in France, I always wanted to cook since I was a kid.
JCB: Charles Barrier where I was apprentice, he was a genius.
FE: What is the biggest misconception people have when coming into the field?
JCB: The glory. Forget about it, it’s all hard work, very hard work.
FE: If you were to give a novice a tip, what would that be?
JCB: Keep it simple, it’s not add an ingredient, it’s remove an ingredient.
FE: What are your three favorite kitchen tools?
JCB: My knives, my robot coupe, my mandoline.
FE: What is the funniest thing that has happened to you in the kitchen?
JCB: One night we ran out of gas, full dinning room, catastrophe, luckily it was the end of the evening but still had to put out a few main course. a few dishes could be done on the induction tops but souffles no way. I sent someone to my house to pick up a large BBQ grill with lids. We fired it up and cooked Grand marnier souffle right on the grill with the top down, it worked perfect no one in the dinning room knew about it.
FE: What is your favorite food to cook with?
JCB: Seafood, any thing from the sea.
FE: And when you are at home, what do you love to eat?
JCB: What my lovely wife cooks for me.
FE: Your favorite cookbook?
JCB: Ma Cuisine by Fernand Point
FE: Is there an etiquette in your kitchen that you pride yourself in?
JCB: Be on time , work clean , leave your problems at the door.
FE: We’d love to thank Chef Jean-Charles Berruet for his time answering our questions and for the lovely meal we were served. We look forward to our next visit.