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ANDREA CURTO-RANDAZZO and FRANK RANDAZZO
TALULA
210 23rd Street
Miami Beach, FL 33139
305-672-0778

Biography »

Interview:
Joy Johnson: Why did you start cooking? What or who inspired you to become a chef?
Andrea Curto-Randazzo: I’ve always loved to cook. Growing up in an Italian family, my grandmother was the epitome of an Italian cook.
Frank Randazzo: I started out as a busboy and worked up to a waiter. I enjoyed learning about the restaurant and the kitchen. I wanted to be well- rounded and learn the full spectrum. I enjoyed the kitchen more than I anticipated, and I was successful.

JJ: Who are your mentors?
ACR: From the beginning Alice Waters was my mentor. I watched a film in school about her, and she was the first woman chef to look up to and appreciate.
FR: Daniel Boulud, Thomas Keller. They are business-minded and creative.

JJ: What is your most indispensable kitchen tool?
ACR: I can’t do without my chef’s knife, or a wooden spoon (to make my risotto).
FR: There are so many basics like a hot sauté pan, a chefs’ knife, or tongs. I would also say a really good quality grill.

JJ: What cities do you like for culinary travel? Why?
ACR: New York –it’s got the best pizza, the best chefs. It’s just amazing and so cultural. I also love New Orleans and San Francisco. California has the best produce available.
FR: New York is the best in the world, you can find it all. Diverse, quality food and the best chefs are all at your fingertips.

JJ: What are your favorite food haunts in Miami?
ACR & FR: Doraku for Japanese, Ortanique, which is owned by our friend, Rosanella for dive-y Italian, and Pub Haus- it’s a German restaurant.

JJ: What is your favorite spice? Why?
ACR: My favorite herb is chives. I also like to experiment with lavender lately. I make a dish with lamb, goat cheese, truffle and lavender.
FR: It’s not exactly a favorite, but I use chili a lot.

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ANDREA CURTO-RANDAZZO
and FRANK RANDAZZO

Talula | Miami Beach, FL

Culinary couples are a regular occurrence in the restaurant world, but there’s something magical about this star-crossed Miami duo. Andrea and Frank first met while working in New York’s Tribeca Grill and then again at the Heights in South Florida. Now they’ve realized their dream of owning and operating their own restaurant together. Talula is a cozy neighborhood spot where locals and others in-the-know converge for a fine meal any day of the week. Its eclectic menu is inspired by Andrea’s and Frank’s shared Italian heritage, as well as flavors from the Caribbean, Asia, and the Americas.


Grilled Shrimp Tamale

Chefs Andrea Curto-Randazzo and Frank Randazzo of Talula - Miami Beach, FL
Adapted by StarChefs

Yield: 6 Appetizer Servings

Ingredients:

    Tamale:
  • 1 poblano chili, roasted, peeled and diced small
  • 16 jumbo shrimp (size 16/20), peeled and deveined
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • cup Italian parsley, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup fresh corn kernels
  • cup chicken stock
  • 1 cups heavy cream cup Masa Harina*
  • Salt and white pepper
  • 4 cornhusks
    Sauce:
  • ½ cup fava beans, blanched and peeled
  • 2 shallots, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon white peppercorns
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 stick butter, chilled and diced into ½-inch cubes
  • 1 teaspoon tomato paste
  • 2 Tablespoons chives, chopped
  • ½ cup teardrop tomatoes, cut in half
*Masa harina is a specially prepared corn flour used to make corn tortillas, tamales and other corn-based doughs. It is available in many chain supermarkets and Latin groceries.

Method:
For tamale:
Place whole chili over high flame and turn until charred and blistered on all sides. Immediately place pepper in a paper or plastic bag to steam. Close bag and let sit for 10 minutes. Remove pepper from bag and scrape the skin off with a knife. Cut the pepper open and remove stem and seeds. Chop pepper into small dice.

Marinate shrimp in garlic and parsley. Season 8 whole shrimp with salt and pepper, then place on grill on high heat. Cook for 2 minutes on each side. Roughly chop remaining 8 shrimp and place in preheated sauté pan with a small amount of butter over medium heat. Add corn and poblano chilis- sauté until shrimp begin to cook. Add cream and chicken stock, reduce slightly, add Masa Harina and stir over low heat until well cooked, about two minutes. Season well with salt and pepper.

For sauce:
While peppers are steaming, remove fava beans from pods. Bring a saucepan filled with water to a boil, add beans and blanch for 1 minute. Drain and immerse in ice water. Drain again and slip the skin off each fava bean.

Place shallots, peppercorns, lemon juice, wine and bay leaf in a saucepot and reduce by 3/4. Whisk in butter cubes over high heat to emulsify. Strain through a chinois or a fine mesh strainer. Stir in tomato paste, chopped chives, teardrop tomatoes and fava beans. Season with salt and white pepper.

To serve:
Divide cooked tamale among 4 cornhusks, each placed on a serving plate. Garnish with 2 grilled shrimp each and 2 Tablespoons of sauce. Serve hot.

Interview Cont'd

JJ: Is there a culinary technique that you have either created or use in an unusual way?
ACR: I like to go back to traditional dishes to give me inspiration, then I invent. We like to do creative but approachable food at the restaurant.
FR: Yucca- I peel, boil and puree it until it turns to this pasty, milky texture. Then I flatten it out to dry for 48 hours and fry it.

JJ: What advice/ tip do you have for culinary students just getting started?
ACR: I would tell them to watch fewer food shows and get real experience in the field. I feel young people don’t have a grasp of how difficult the reality is- the long hours and hard work.
FR: Work for the best chef in the city or town you live in. They’re more likely to simply cook the best food.

JJ: What is your best food memory?
ACR: Sunday dinners, with my family spending time together. My grandmother would prepare antipasto, pasta, meat, fruit, nuts, etc. Also, a 9-course tasting meal at French Laundry when Frank proposed to me.
FR: I remember a meal with Andrea at Mesa Grill in NYC - good food and a fun time. Also, eating my grandmother’s scungilli with red sauce growing up.

JJ: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
ACR: Owning more than 1 restaurant, and continuing to be successful enough so we have more personal time (for pedicures, tennis, etc.)!
FR: Enjoying the restaurant business, and having more time for our family.




   Published: October 2004
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