Get Ready for Good Food at BlogHer Food '14: An Interview with Award-Winning Chef Gerd

BlogHer Original Post

With the Early Bird pricing for BlogHer Food '14 tickets fast expiring (10 days!), I wanted to let you know something wonderful. Not just wonderful: Delicious! Our host hotel, the Downtown Miami Hilton, is home to an award-winning chef. Chef Gerd has been in the hospitality industry for over 25 years, getting his start back in his parents' restaurant and bakery in his native Germany. Since then he has traveled the world, cooking up amazing dishes and winning multiple awards. You know what that means for BlogHer Food attendees? Good, gooood food.

I had the chance to ask him a few questions -- the kind of questions you might wonder about your favorite food bloggers, too. He graciously answered the questions with such detail that my mouth watered. I can't wait to see what he cooks up in Miami! Read on to learn a little more about Chef Gerd -- and to take a glimpse at a few of his beautifully created dishes.

Chef Gerd, used with permission

You said that at a young age you grew to love food: What's the first dish you remember creating?

Growing up in a small town in the southern Black Forest Region -- with strong culinary influences from Alsace, France and Switzerland and Italy -- I do remember lots of good things. I grew up in my parents' restaurant and coffee shop. My father made the most delicious Black Forest cake, mountains of chocolate sponge cage layered with sweet vanilla cream, dark fresh cherries and lots of chocolate shavings on top… How can I forget that?

He also made this amazing trout dish, since we had a creek full of trout right behind the restaurant: Trout “Almandine" -- pan-seared, lightly floured dusted trout, seasoned with fresh lemon juice , salt and pepper, Worcestershire sauce, fresh butter toasted almonds, served with garden fresh bibb lettuce and parslied fingerling potatoes.

Your international career has taken you all over Europe, then to Jamaica, and now Miami. While I imagine it is hard to pick a favorite, can you share with us a location-specific dish that sticks out in your mind as amazing?

Every station in my professional career was amazing, every country brought something amazing to the plate, every culture has something amazing to offer -- so that makes this question very difficult. Every stage of my life was of course different and I had different priorities during my career.

However one dish that keeps popping up is a Seafood “zarzuela,“ which I learned to cook and love in Barcelona, Spain. A very simple dish created by the fishermen, but rich on flavor and taste. They used a terracotta stone type of casserole, sautéed some fresh garlic with extra virgin olive oil, saffron, onions and bell peppers and fresh diced tomatoes, then added calamari, fresh chunks of sea bass, snapper, mussels, clams, shrimps sautéed and fresh herbs, finished baking in the oven… really heaven, this dish.

I must add the conch fritters I had in Jamaica too, served with a spicy-sweet fruit salsa -- delicious. You can try at my bar menu!

In Miami now, what's your favorite dish or singular food to serve?

In Miami, I am truly happy now that we are having a culinary renaissance going on, with lots of young chefs coming up with new, interesting dishes. Again my time in Barcelona keeps me coming up with tapas-style small dishes to share, especially with an international twist.

My ahi tuna tartar is a Miami classic. I put my twist to it and added some fresh diced melon and Jamaican scotch bonnet pepper to it, served over wonton crisps and seaweed.

I then asked Chef Gerd what BlogHer Food '14 attendees have to look forward to on his menu. Here's a delicious sneak peek!

Some Delicious Creations by Chef Gerd

I want to thank Chef Gerd for taking time out of his busy schedule for an interview with us to give attendees a glimpse into the mastermind behind the good food we'll be eating in Miami this May. If you haven't yet registered, do so now. Early Bird pricing expires after January 31, 2014. You'll save $100 by registering for the conference now!


Family & Events Section Editor Jenna Hatfield (@FireMom) blogs at Stop, Drop and Blog.