Chef Dale Talde’s passion for cooking began at a young age in his native Chicago where he learned to prepare meals alongside his mother in the kitchen. The proud son of Filipino immigrants, he grew up immersed in his family’s cultural heritage while also enjoying the life of a typical American kid. Now, as the Chef/Partner of the popular restaurant TALDE with two locations in Brooklyn & Jersey City, We’re thrilled to have him join the Thompson Hotels family with his newly opened TALDE Miami Beach, located at Thompson Miami Beach.
We were lucky enough to chat with Dale about the South Floridian influence on his newest TALDE location, what made him fall in love with cooking, how he spends his days off in Miami, and more.
Do you remember the meal that made you fall in love cooking? What was it and how does it influence your cooking to this day?
One of the meals / experiences that made me fall in love with cooking was a family trip to Chinatown in San Francisco. I was with my mother and a family friend on an evening walk through Chinatown. It was a perfectly beautiful, romantic summer night. The fog was rolling in, and it was pretty chilly. They say the “coldest winter is summer in San Francisco.”
There are a million Chinese restaurants there, but we walked up this steep hill and stepped into one of them. It was a traditional congee house with Chinese BBQ, Peking duck. As I was flipping through the pages, all the dishes sounded amazing. I had menu envy — and couldn’t decide what I wanted. I went with a rice soup with roasted duck. It was incredible.
That San Francisco Chinese restaurant visit was one of the experiences they helped me fall in love with cooking. Dining is about the overall experience. It’s all about who you’re with, the setting and of course the food. I still incorporate that experience into how we run our restaurants. I remember how I felt being with family, enjoying my time, excited about the variety of dishes. It was a special moment for me, and it’s the special moments you remember from dining experiences. If people can remember their meal, experience at TALDE, then we’ve done our job.
What dish from your hometown of Chicago has influenced you most?
Vietnamese noodle soup; it’s one of my aunt’s holiday / Christmas dishes. Oxtail Kare Kare. It’s on our menu but with braised short rib instead of oxtail. My aunt’s dish totally influenced me with its tasty shrimp paste, creamy peanuts, the richness of the meat.
How does the atmosphere of TALDE Miami Beach differ from TALDE Brooklyn?
TALDE Miami Beach has an edgier design than Brooklyn. Ironically, there’s more grit in our Miami Beach restaurant than Brooklyn. The style / design / aesthetic of TALDE Miami Beach are very Brooklyn-inspired; it’s all about the interiors and moments we’ve created through the design within the space. The sexy, dark bar and lounge with traditional Chinese decor and knick knacks; the shipping container with booths; the banquettes along the graffiti wall featuring a mural of our TALDE Brooklyn storefront. In contrast, TALDE Brooklyn features bay windows looking onto the streets, so those ‘moments’ happen outside instead of inside the restaurant like Miami Beach. And, of course, there’s a lot more space in Miami Beach….
You’ve been experimenting with South Florida flavors and spices. What’s been your favorite discovery?
We wanted to open up with dishes that we could execute perfectly, so we didn’t introduce a brand new menu in Miami. We feature signatures from Brooklyn and Jersey City. But, we’re incorporating traditional spices, seasoning, select ingredients from the Caribbean. Jerk seasoning, Haitian rice and peas. I’m playing with mojos for a ridiculous pulled pork bun. Love experimenting and introducing into our signature dishes a lot of Latin flavors and spices. Mainly island flavors – a plethora of the citruses and spices.
Were you familiar with Miami before opening Talde Miami Beach? What do you love about the city?
I’m really familiar with Miami. I helped opened Makoto in Bal Harbour. What I love most about this city is how proud people are to be from or live in Miami; there’s a real pride, which I can relate to. In culture, in food. People are always so proud to tell you where they love to eat; that’s a strong sign of proud culture. That to me is amazing because of their cultural pride, which I also share. Locals always know where to send you for the best foods.
Describe your perfect meal in three worlds.
Family. Fun. Laughing. If those things enter a meal, then you know you’re walking away with a smile. Whether the food is good or not. Could be over crappy pizza, but it’s those three elements that really matter.
What local foods are you most excited about right now? Where do they appear in the menu?
Citrus! Especially clementines. They’re ridiculous; I devoured four within minutes the other day. I use clementines in our charred salmon dish; black bean brown butter, edamame and clementines.
What’s the first rule in any kitchen?
Smile when you’re walking into work. It’s sets the tone for a successful or not day. 100%.
What’s your favorite cocktail on the Talde menu?
The Bondi Kelly. It’s so fresh. I love all its flavors. (Brugal Especial, Carpono Antica, Luxardo Maraschino, Charred Pineapple Syrup, Lime and Pineapple.)
How to you spend your days off in Miami? Are there any local spots you can recommend?
I love exploring the different neighborhoods, especially Wynwood. Also love being active; I try to run down the beachside boardwalk behind Thompson. When I’m exploring, I really enjoy meeting all the local chefs — it’s fun! A local spot we always hit up is Mac’s Club Deuce. It’s a total shithole, but we love it for its simplicity and characters.
It’s been a long day, and you’ve finally arrived home. What do you make for dinner?
I make a call for delivery. Seamless Web or Postmates.