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In the kitchen with Pedro Flores of The Table Creekside

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pedro flores

Chef Pedro Flores.

Chef Pedro Flores’ reverence for infused, seasonal flavors dates back to his Mexico City childhood, and it enlivens the plates at Phillippi Creek Village Restaurant and Oyster Bar and The Table Creekside. For 3½ years, Flores has been elevating the cuisine at both Sarasota locales to a new level of globally inspired freshness.

What foods or food rituals did you enjoy growing up, and how did they influence your career?

I grew up with a big family in Mexico City, so we’d enjoy a lot of Sunday meals with seafood and stews. My mother, Alejandra, and my grandmother, Sonia, were my mentors; they were helping me in the kitchen all the time. I never thought I was going to be a chef but it just happened that way. One of my first jobs was as a dishwasher and I moved up to a busser. I started finding my passion when I saw ingredients and fusions in Europe and America, and that developed my culinary style.

What are one or two dishes on your menu that have become legendary?

People love the short ribs and that’s one people have loved since we first opened The Table. Also, the scallops with pancetta pumpkin mash.

Are you experimenting with any fun, new ingredients lately?

Right now, it’s a lot of peaches, watermelon and fresh herbs. Whatever we can find in Florida in season is what I like to focus on.

If you could eat only one dish forever, what would it be?

Just pizza with cheese and pepperoni. I like to make complicated foods for my customers but I like simple foods for myself.

Aside from cooking, what is your favorite aspect of working in the restaurant industry?

I’m very grateful and fortunate to work at two restaurants. When I can, I love to walk back and forth and talk to my customers. I like to give the people what they deserve. I’ll do anything for my customers.

RECIPE

SHRIMP SURINAM
(serves four)
Jerusalem artichoke, sweet jumbo shrimp sofrito, and English cheddar Gruyere macaroni and cheese.

For macaroni and cheese:
Ingredients:
4 ounces Gruyere
4 ounces Manchego
4 ounces cheddar
4 ounces Fontina
2 egg yolks
16 ounces heavy whipping cream
1 cup milk
6 ounces lager beer
1 tablespoon horseradish
1 cup butter
1 tablespoon minced shallots
Sea salt, to taste
1 pound elbow macaroni, cooked

Method:
Over medium heat, reduce butter, lager beer, shallots and heavy cream. Slowly whisk in cheeses. In a stainless steel mixing bowl, temper eggs and add hot mixture. Add cooked macaroni and blend slowly. Move macaroni mixture to baking pan. Bake uncovered for 15 to 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

For Jerusalem artichokes and jumbo shrimp:
Ingredients:
8 ounces Jerusalem artichokes (peeled, sliced thin)
3 ounces fresh garlic (peeled, sliced thin)
2 tablespoons fresh basil, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ cup white wine
2 teaspoons butter
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Sea salt, to taste
6 large shrimps in shell (per serving)

Method:
Over medium heat, sauté peeled shrimp (save shrimp shells), garlic, artichokes and olive oil. Before the shrimp are completely cooked, add white wine, sea salt and butter.

For Surinam reduction:
Ingredients:
Shrimp shells (saved from jumbo shrimp)
½ cup minced shallots
2 cups white wine
2 tablespoons butter
3 cups heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon minced thyme
1 pinch saffron threads
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Sea salt, to taste

Method:
On high heat, caramelize shrimp shells, shallots, lemon juice and butter. Add white wine and saffron and reduce to half heat. While reducing heat, add heavy cream and bring to a simmer. Add thyme.

Phillippi Creek Village Restaurant and Oyster Bar
5353 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota
925-4444; creekseafood.com
The Table Creekside
5365 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota
921-9465; tablesrq.com
Last modified: September 13, 2013
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