Quick Six With...Chef Timon Balloo, Award-Winning Leader at SUGARCANE raw bar grill



At SUGARCANE raw bar grill, their small plates have big flavor when it comes to going global. It may be because of its three distinct kitchens — an open fire grill, raw bar, and traditional kitchen — or it may be because of the restaurant's gastronomic roots, but it may also have to do with the roots of the man behind the kitchen himself. Award-winning Executive Chef and Partner Timon Balloo was born into a Chinese and Trinidadian family. Growing up with days on the farm and surrounded by rich, cultural recipes, his love for cooking came to life when he began watching a television series called "Yan Can Cook."

After graduating from Johnson & Wales University, his accolades include being a Distinguished Visiting Chef, as well as a repeat winner of the University's culinary Zest awards. But while he had tons of lessons in the classroom, he felt his true studies began under his culinary role models, both James Beard Award-winning chefs, Allen Susser, who taught him humility and respect for food, and Michelle Bernstein, who took him under her wing in the kitchen of Azul at the Mandarin Oriental Miami.

Since joining the Samba Brand Management team and opening SUGARCANE in 2009, the concept has received multiple recognitions, including a coveted notable nomination for "Best New Restaurant" by the James Beard Foundation. Eater has also recognized Balloo as "Chef of the Year" in Miami, and Ballo received was nominated for "The People's Best New Chef" by Food & Wine, as well.

But this chef's sights doesn't end at the Miami shore. Soon, we'll be seeing SUGARCANE's tasty eats at the Sin City — probably because all of its dishes are sinfully good. Besides preparing to open SUGARCANE raw bar grill's first location in The Venetian on the Las Vegas Strip, what else is this chef up to? 

Find out what he had to say when as asked him six, quick questions.

Maine Lobster + Bacon in a sushi roll. Need we say more? #brunchhard // [Brunch 10am-4:30pm every Saturday & Sunday]

A photo posted by SUGARCANE raw bar grill (@sugarcanerawbargrill) on

Lunch on the lighter side: our daily fish a la plancha with market greens. [available for lunch Monday-Friday 11:30am-5pm] #comeandgetit

A photo posted by SUGARCANE raw bar grill (@sugarcanerawbargrill) on

The Quick Six

Foodable: What’s the first meal (that you can recall) that changed your life?  

Timon Balloo: Foie gras dumplings at Annisa by Chef Anita Lo. It brought me to later move and cook in New York City.

Foodable: Who is your culinary mentor?

TB: Many, but it ranges from Michelle Bernstein to Allen Susser.

Foodable: One ingredient you could not live without?

TB: Gochujang paste.

Foodable: What's the most important lesson you learned (good or bad) in your first year of owning a restaurant?

TB: Success depends on your staff.

Foodable: What’s your guilty culinary pleasure?

TB: Double cheeseburger at Shake Shack!

Foodable: Favorite kitchen hack?

TB: Use the microwave for melting chocolate and dehydrating olives, or steaming vegetables. Can help when in a bind.

Quick Six With...Artisan House's Chef Karo Patpatyan

Quick Six With...Artisan House's Chef Karo Patpatyan

By Mae Velasco, Custom Content Editor

Chef Karo Patpatyan, who graduated from Le Cordon Bleu Collage of Culinary Arts-Pasadena, has a fine touch when it comes to fine dining. This seasoned chef spent more than a decade with the famed Wolfgang Puck's Spago and recently emerged as the executive chef of downtown Los Angeles' Artisan House last year.

With him, he brought major Californian, Mediterranean influences to the menu at this urban restaurant, bar, and market. Before he manned the helm of Artisan House, which is also known for its promise to sustainable and organic practices, he lent his expertise in menu development and restaurant management as a hospitality banquet chef. 

Want to learn more about this culinary master? Check out what he had to say when we asked him six, quick questions.

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Quick Six With...Rising Star Chef of Los Angeles, Diana Stavaridis

Quick Six With...Rising Star Chef of Los Angeles, Diana Stavaridis

By Mae Velasco, Custom Content Editor

Award-winning chef Diana Stavaridis of Manhattan House may now be serving up some upscale, farm-to-table fare, but her story began more humbly than that — in her grandparents’ house at 6-years-old, harvesting tomatoes from their backyard and cleaning up lobsters in their kitchen. Growing up, she had stints in a deli, pizzeria, bakery, Cuban restaurant, and even an ice cream truck.

Since then, she graduated from culinary school and worked with celebrated Los Angeles chefs, including Neal Fraser, who promoted her to sous chef when he opened BLD Restaurant in 2006. While known for her masterful vegetarian and vegan flair (Did someone say vegan benedict with house-smoked tofu bacon and a vegan chickpea burger with japaleño cashew cheese?), what else makes this Rising Star Chef of Los Angeles and guest judge of the “The Next Food Network Star” tick?

Read to see what Stavaridis had to say when we asked her six, quick questions.

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Chef Q&A: Dimitri Moshovitis, Cava Mezze Restaurant Group

Dimitri Moshovitis  | Courtesy of Cava Mezze Restaurant Group

Dimitri Moshovitis | Courtesy of Cava Mezze Restaurant Group

It’s been a hell of a year for Dimitri Moshovitis and his brand, Cava. Making up one-third of the Cava Mezze Restaurant Group co-founder trio, alongside Ted Xenohristos and Ike Grigoropoulos, Dimitri is the man behind the food at Cava Mezze and its fast-casual spinoff, Cava Grill. The name of the game, if it wasn’t already obvious, is Mediterranean — putting an American twist on Greek dishes in an affordable, healthy way using fresh ingredients. Dimitri and the guys are also behind Brusco, a sandwich counter attached to the Cava Mezze location in Baltimore, and Sugo Cicchetti, a small-plates, Italian concept, where he is also chef.

As part of Foodable's Quick Six series, we sat down with the reputable chef and asked six questions to find out what meal changed his life, what ingredient he could not live without, and more. Read the full article here.