Winning Bravo’s Top Chef is a dream of millions who aspire to take over the culinary world. While it remains a fantasy to most, Jeremy Ford made it his reality by emerging as the winner of Season 13. This Florida native began his culinary career as a teenager working in a Jacksonville restaurant at just 16 years old.
Ford seemed destined for culinary TV stardom, having worked in kitchens for Iron Chef Christopher Eme at L’Orangerie in Los Angeles then at Patina restaurant under Master Chef Joachim Splichal before returning to Florida. Ford became a South Florida staple as the protege of Chef Dean Max at 3030 Ocean in Fort Lauderdale then joining culinary royalty with Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten at The Matador Room.
What does one do after working with one of the world’s most iconic Michelin star legends? Compete on Top Chef, obviously! After earning his grueling win, Ford has recently partnered with Grove Bay Hospitality Group to open his first restaurant – Stubborn Seed in Miami Beach. So without further ado, let’s go drinking with Chef Jeremy Ford.
Drinking with Chef Jeremy Ford
Tell us a little about Stubborn Seed and what you suggest ordering at the bar.
The concept has been in the works for years—since we get only the freshest ingredients, the menu can change daily. I suggest the Negroni a La Ford—the negroni is a classic and one of my favorites. This one has mezcal and passionfruit marshmallow. It’s kickass!
How did you get started in the food & drink event biz?
I was inspired by my grandmother when I was a teenager and decided to pursue my passion for food. The first job I got was at Matthew’s—a four-diamond Mediterranean-style restaurant in Jacksonville—where I learned basic chef skills. After that I had the chance to learn from some the industry’s bests like Christophe Eme, Joachim Splichal, Dean Max, and Jean-Georges Vongerichten.
What is your current go-to drink order?
Coffee or Tea?
Lots of Per’la coffee.
Tell us about your first boozy experience?
The first time I can remember, I was 14 and I snuck a bottle of Boone’s Farm to band practice. We drank the whole bottle and played music afterwards.
What is your hangover remedy?
Usually fast food—Taco Bell.
Miami is basically vacation mode all year long, what’s your quintessential warm weather drink?
What is your death row last drink?
Probably Negroni—I’m a pretty simple dude!
If you could have drinks with anyone dead, alive or fictional, who would it be and what would you both be drinking?
Beer with Jimi Hendrix.
What is your theme song in the kitchen?
Beelzeboss (The Final Showdown) from the devil rock-off scene in Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny.
Who is the is the best drinking buddy Chef for a wild night out?
My right-hand Joe Mizzoni. He’s a troublemaker!
Special shout to any bars that you think are blowing minds with their beverage programs?
My favorite guy in Miami who does a lot of simple stuff, but to perfection – Elad at the Broken Shaker
How do you describe the beverage program direction at Stubborn Seed and how it pairs with your food menu?
The beverage program was created by Helen Kim, who took my ideas and went to town. She has invented some amazingly creative cocktails that are, not only cool to look at, but taste phenomenal!
Jeremy’s Miami Picks:
- The “Only in Miami” experience?
- Matador Room, it’s right by the water so it has a great view.
- Romantic “let’s get it on” date night?
- Upland for dinner because afterward you can take a nice walk on the beach.
- Classic Dive Bar or Hole in the Wall?
- Ted’s Hideaway
- Super Crafty Cocktails?
- Broken Shaker
- Late Night (Drunk) Eats for Post-Shift?
- Momi Ramen in Brickell
Ford’s advice for aspiring young guns.
Don’t rush trying to learn fancy techniques, and don’t get caught up in the hype of all these new contemporary methods. Focus on mastering the basic skills like cooking fish, chopping veggies, etc. More importantly, don’t worry about money because it will be a long time before you start making it!
Follow Jeremy’s thirsty adventures on IG – @chefjeremyford / @stubborn_seed
Stubborn Seed Details
101 Washington Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139
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