The Taste of Dreams
David Rodrigues is more than a dreamer. He is a doer. His acclaim as one of the youngest in-demand pastry chefs working in the hottest restaurants like Brava at the Arsht Center and Ember didn't come overnight though. His journey has been one of long migration and struggle that has shaped the character of a self-realized man with a soul for life and a passion for taste.
When I walked into Kuten, an inclusive health restaurant positioned in the sleepy part of Sunny Isles, I was greeted with an incredible smile and a joie de vivre that brings pleasantness and peace to one's day. This smile was from David Rodrigues and I could tell he was excited to tell me the story of his latest creations. As I sat down and the staff brought me dessert over dessert from David's roster I couldn't help enjoy to see the enthusiasm that he had as he described the process that crafted classics like his Viaje al Oceano (Journey to the Ocean) shown below.
Every single dessert that David Rodrigues created had a real life experience (usually love) or an inspiring dream that led him to craft the concoction that laid before my eyes tempting me with it's seductive aesthetic and it's unique layout. The Chocolate Profiterol danced superbly with it's reinterpretation using ingredients like craquelin, rum and pralines.
The Fruit Tart surprised the palette with it's Almond and Diplomat cream which when combined with the gold flakes made it a taste for the eyes and tongue. But my greatest memory is that of the Lemon Balm Creme Brulee that carried with it the story of how David's aunt taught him about the soothing and stress relieving properties of the lemon leaf. In David's own words, "it's like a Spa Day for your taste buds." Just a few minutes after I consumed the brulee I could feel the relaxing effects that setup a day of peace and acceptance.
One thing that resonated strongly from my interview with David was the struggle of the path he had to take to get here. It wasn't always sugar and sweet cream that led him to leave his homeland in South America but he knew it was essential if he was to live out his purpose. His connection to his home country though still ways heavy and he misses it emphatically pouring in his passion into pastries for the lucky few that enjoy the comforts of the Magic City's lifestyle. While David Rodrigues may use his dreams as inspiration for his decadent desserts, this is one culinary candidate in Miami you don't want to sleep on.