Chef Brad Kilgore (right) with JWU North Miami CULINARY Dean BRUCE Ozga and scholarship recipient Andrea Leiva.
Chef Brad Kilgore’s restaurant Alter was an immediate sensation when it opened in early 2015.
Vogue called Kilgore “one of Miami’s great talents,” and Alter took home two Eater Miami Awards for “Restaurant of the Year” and “Chef of the Year.”
The '06 Denver alum recently spoke at JWU’s North Miami Campus as a Distinguished Visiting Chef. He also demoed one of his signature dishes, octopus with black quinoa, yuzu, celeriac “dulce de leche” and Béarnaise.
Not yet 30, Kilgore has a notable resume that includes Grant Achatz’s Alinea and Laurent Gras’ L20. After an acclaimed stint at Jean-George Vongerichten’s J&G Grill, he decided it was time to strike out on his own.
Prior to opening his “casual, progressive” restaurant, Kilgore and his business partners, Javier Ramirez (of the GourmandJ blog) and Leo Monterrey, held a series of collaborative popup dinners leading up to Art Basel, Miami’s biggest week of the year.
Since opening last February in its permanent Wynwood space, Alter has become one of Miami’s most talked-about hotspots. Kilgore’s adventurous dishes — like his soft-cooked egg cloaked in a Gruyère cheese espuma and topped with a wafer-thin Gruyère crisp — continue to wow diners and critics alike.
Some highlights from his talk:
On returning to JWU:
It was an honor to be asked to go back and teach some of the things I’ve learned after graduating.
Advice to students:
Just because you’re in culinary school, it doesn’t mean you’re going to be a chef. There are many paths you can take.
You need the basics and classical techniques. Once you have mastered them you can expand and express yourself in the food with modern and personal technique.
Focus and be passionate. See your hard work come to fruition, right in front of you.
Why he loves Miami:
I like that it’s a fast-paced, growing city in the food scene with great chefs with curious and excited diners.
Miami’s seasonality is very different from anywhere else in the US. You find different and amazing ingredients that are perfect for this multicultural city — they make for intriguing but delicious combinations.
On cooking with the seasons:
Give respect back to all the product — especially farmer’s hard work, and all their time.
So you want to start a restaurant?
Make sure to take your time before you open your first business. There is a lot to learn along the way — make sure you work for people you consider successful to learn their good habits.
Related Reading: Career Advice from DBGB DC’s Ed Scarpone '09
Bradley Kilgore and Giorgio Rapicavoli (Eating House) plating at the Alter popup in Miam Cafe in Wynwood. Below: ALTER’s NEO-INDUSTRIAL INTERIOR.