March 2015 Cover Story

Scott ConantQuintessential Conant

Scott Conant fills us in on his latest venture, his business philosophies and why he believes food shouldn’t always come first.

you’re dining at Corsair, Scott Conant’s new Aventura restaurant, there’s one thing you must do. Don’t pick up the drink menu. Don’t make any food decisions. First, order the Roasted Eggplant. The simple menu description—“buffalo mozzarella, tomato”—belies the complexity and full flavor of the dish. “We roast the eggplant until it’s falling apart and then layer it with tomato sauce, Parmesan cheese and torn basil,” describes Conant, who gets lost in the dish as he describes it. “The tomato sauce is barely cooked—just 20 minutes or so—and only has a handful of ingredients. The eggplant is meaty and earthy with the bright basil and creamy Parm. It
all comes together in one perfect bite after the next. You just want to rub it all over yourself.”

Realizing what he’s said, he resurfaces, and chuckles. But this is quintessential Conant, the chef-cum-entrepreneur-cum-mentor, who admits, “There is something so emotional about food. The older I get, the more I appreciate the little things. To experience the journey over time and realize that everything is in constant motion is a real gift. What worked for me five years ago wouldn’t work for me today, and five years from now, I hope to say the same thing.” His words ring true. Conant’s latest venture couldn’t be more different than Scarpetta, the fine dining Italian restaurant at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach. The juggernaut of success he’s experienced with the restaurant, which opened in 2008 with a rarely seen four-star review from the Miami Herald, has made the James Beard Award-winning chef a household name; his role as a judge on Food Network’s culinary competition, Chopped, has
also helped.

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