Let’s take a trip to Miami for this month’s Local Tastemakers column, an ongoing feature in Florida Food & Farm where we feature local members of the food community who we want to tell the world about. This month, we travel to db Bistro Moderne Miami to visit newly appointed Executive Chef Clark Bowen, who has been at db Bistro Moderne Miami since 2011. He brings with him appreciation and love for French cuisine, but is excited to add his own creative touch to the menu, which will include lighter dishes on the menu for the spring, including many seafood dishes that highlight the bright, vibrant flavors of Miami.
Name: Clark Bowen
Title: Executive Chef
Restaurant: db Bistro Moderne at JW Marriott Marquis Miami
Florida Food & Farm: How long have you been working as the Executive Chef?
Clark Bowen: Since mid-February 2016
FFF: What has been your biggest challenge so far?
CB: Trying to expand on the cuisine, but keeping with the French concept
FFF: Have you changed the menu yet?
CB: Not yet, but expect it to come out during the first part of April
FFF: Now back to the beginning and how you got started. Tell us about your first kitchen experience.
CB: I started working at Subway when I was 15 and then, at a few pasta places. It was a way to pay for school. After working in restaurants for awhile, I realized that food was an art form, a way to express myself. When I was more excited about going to work than to school, I knew where I should be.
FFF: What kind of culinary training have you had?
CB: I didn’t go to culinary school. I started working at restaurant at an early age. I learned from the people that I worked with and surrounded myself with the best that I could. Pascale Oudin [of Pascale’s on Ponce] was someone that I looked up to. He taught me what it takes to run a restaurant.
FFF: What’s your drink of choice?
CB: Any kind of beer or scotch or bourbon
FFF: What’s your last meal?
CB: A good barbecue
FFF: Do you have any advice on those looking to become a chef?
CB: Get prepared to work and truly love what you do. If its not, than this career is not for you.
FFF: Tell us about the local farms that you work with
CB: Swank, Paradise Farms, KSS Sales for mushrooms
FFF: When did you start working with local farms?
CB: I’ve been working with Paradise Farms for over ten years, so for quite some time. It actually started when I was a kid and would go out and pick strawberries.
FFF: Who’s helped you get to the place you’re at?
CB: Pascale Oudin [of Pascale’s on Ponce]. He taught me what it takes to run a restaurant.
FFF: Do you work with any little guys who we should know about?
CB: Trigger Seafood. Their fish is freshly speared and they are still flopping around when we get them.
FFF: Now back to DB Bistro Moderne — Why should we love the restaurant, and what are you doing that’s truly unique to the restaurant and to you as a chef.
CB: Our exciting bar scene, our happy hour specials — and although we offer an outstanding menu, it’s our level of service and professionalism that sets us apart. If you’re eating there for the first time, you should definitely try our burger, which is served in all of Daniel’s [Daniel Boulud] restaurants.
FFF: And, what about the madeleines?
CB: Yes, and the madeleines.
FFF: You can never have too many madeleines.