Chef Loris Navone

Brings His Award-Winning  Culinary Heritage  to Tamarina

By Steven Joseph

Chef Loris Navone

Chef Loris Navone

Food should inspire. The tastes, smells, textures, and presentation should move your entire being to a place where every bite is a step in a journey personally designed for you by the chef. And with every new chef who steps foot in a kitchen, they bring along with them the memories and maps of every journey they themselves have taken up to that point. The hope is that their unique experiences along their personal culinary road have honed their skill-set to maximize your enjoyment of their creations. Enter Chef Loris Navone, newly crowned Executive Chef of Tamarina in Miami, a restaurant focusing on “coastal Italian” fare.

Chef Navone’s path to Miami began in Switzerland of all places, as a young Italian boy who literally played in the kitchen with his grandmother. “I didn’t speak the language, and so my grandmother protected me from the neighborhood boys by sheltering me in the kitchen.” Navone didn’t think he was cooking at the time, “I grew up playing with pasta dough the way children in America play with Play-Doh.” Navone’s grandmother served at his extended family’s pasta store, making “to go” batches for his aunts and uncles to pick up on the way home from their jobs. Her simple, peasant-style recipes served as his jumping-off point for his love of the kitchen, but very little of his current repertoire would appeal to her pared-down tastes. “My grandmother would scorn how I mix foods, she would never believe in combining say, gnocchi and clams.” When asked what, if any, of his present menu she would recognize, Chef Navone points to the spinach and ricotta ravioli. “This is more reminiscent of what she taught me, very simple, yet still delicious.”

From Switzerland, Navone moved back to his native Italy, specifically Carnia, located in the Northwest region of the country. Navone describes Carnia as “smaller than a town. And yet, we were the ‘big village’ of 5,000 people, surrounded by even smaller groups of 300-500 people.”  There Navone honed his skills under the tutelage of his mother. As successful as he has become, Navone still relishes his trips home, and he spends his free time daydreaming about the dishes he will ask her to cook for him that remind him of his childhood. “I am excited for ‘frico di patate’ which is a crispy potato cake made with cream cheese, and ‘cjarsons’ which is a sweet and salty ravioli made with chocolate and chestnuts.”

Upon graduating from high school, Chef Navone followed his peers into engineering, but was isolated in his classes from his friends and sought out his true passion, being in the kitchen, the safe haven of his childhood. Navone bounced around a few restaurants before settling in at a locale specializing in coastal Italian, making use of the extremely fresh seafood. When a regular patron mentioned he was looking to bring an Italian chef to America, Chef Navone tagged along and soon found himself in Miami. Navone then worked his way up to Chef du Cuisine at Dolce.

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Pork Belly

Dolce, one of Miami’s most famous Italian restaurants.
Dolce was then featured on the television cooking competition “Best New Restaurant” on the Bravo network. Navone and his fellow Dolce chefs made it all the way to the finale where he and his team won the competition with a menu featuring the same “frico di patate” he craves from his mother. “People were always telling me I was a good chef, but I never believed it until we won.” The attention and praise Navone received from his time on the show attracted the attention of Yona and Tunu Puri, established restauranteurs of Indian descent.  They approached him to helm their new Coastal Italian concept Tamarina, giving him full control of the kitchen to create the Italian menu that he wanted. Navone has wasted no time injecting the menu with his playfulness and zeal. He even created a hamburger as tribute to the owners’ heritage; “It is made with lamb, which is central to Indian cooking, and the bun is infused with curry spices.”

Cheescake Brulee

Cheescake Brulee

So make your way down to Tamarina in the heart of Miami’s booming financial district. Designed by David d’Almada and Yona Puri, Tamarina is furnished with dark wood, brass accents and antique mirrors evoking Italian glamour with a Miami accent – chic and lively, yet relaxed and cozy, also showcasing a Champagne Bar Terrace. Chef Navone recommends you open your meal with something light, and experience his modern approach on crudos with the owner’s vision of a crudo bar complementing the Coastal Italian culinary experience at Tamarina. Chef Navone is constantly experimenting with exciting takes on the fresh fish classic, and is currently tinkering with an uni ice cream. “I want to make food that is fun AND delicious,” he says. Then proceed to tantalize your taste buds with his signature grilled octopus before settling into your entrée. No matter what you select from the cutting-edge menu, you’re in good hands: Navone-tested and Grandmother-approved!

Chef Loris Navone