CHEF PHILLIP BRYANT
One part southern soul, and one part chef mentality, The Local Craft Food & Drink's Executive Chef Phillip Bryant grew up in Stafford, Virginia, trained in Virginia and California kitchens, and has spent the better part of a decade honing his vision in South Florida.
Bryant was raised in a household where canning, pickling, and making your own ketchup was a way of life. A home cooked meal was part of their everyday. Bryant began working in kitchens at the age of 15 at local joints and steakhouses. Once he decided his career was in the restaurant, he moved to Richmond where he was immersed in the southern food scene on a professional level. In 2005, Chef Bryant moved to Los Angeles to work under James Beard Award Winning Chef, Norman Van Aken at Norman's on Sunset. Bryant worked through every station until being promoted to Sous Chef.
Bryant's adventure to South Florida began in 2007 on a road trip to Key West, FL. He was following his mentor Chef Norman Van Aken, to take a position as his Executive Sous Chef, at Tavern N' Town where he spent time perfecting his skills learning and executing Van Aken's award winning, New World Cuisine. He fell in love with the cornucopia of tropical ingredients and island life atmosphere. He then moved to Miami, FL to take the helm as Executive Chef for Van Aken's new restaurant Norman's 180, located in the Colonnade Hotel in Coral Gables, FL.
In 2011, he tried his luck with a new restaurant concept opening in South Beach, FL, called Yardbird Southern Table and Bar, where he took a position as Chef de Cuisine under Executive Chef Jeff McInnis. The restaurant opened to critical acclaim, making the top of best restaurant lists and being nominated for a James Beard Award for Best New Restaurant during his tenure. He went on to become the Executive Chef of 50 eggs' third concept, Swine Southern Table and Bar where he received praise and accolades for his deft touch on southern cuisine and was named one of the "Top Ten Southern Chefs to Watch," by Zagat.
Bryant is now Executive Chef of The Local Craft Food and Drink where the menu truly reflects his personal and professional journey. With an ever changing menu to keep the inventive chef from getting bored, The Local, as regulars call it, is a quaint spot in the heart of Coral Gables with a charming cult following. With scratch cooking as this kitchen's base, Chef Bryant has started rethinking ingredients at a basic level. From making his own to butter and American cheese, to rethinking a katsuobushi technique with mushrooms stems, his mind is always working.
The Local Craft Food & Drink, located at 150 Giralda Avenue in Coral Gables, serves lunch Monday through Friday from noon-3 p.m. Dinner is served Sundays from 4 p.m.-10 p.m., Monday through Wednesday from 4:30 p.m.-11 p.m., and Thursday through Saturday from 4:30 p.m.-1 a.m. An extended Happy Hour with half-off select beers, wines and spirits is offered Monday through Friday from noon-7 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 4p.m.-7p.m. A menu of light bites between lunch and dinner service during the week is also offered. Phone: (305) 648-5687. Website:www.thelocal150.com
Learn More About Phil Bryant
What is your earliest memory involving food or wine?
My earliest food memory is picking apples and making apple butter with my mom. As a kid my brother and I would wake up on the weekends excited for Saturday morning cartoons, but with my mom, that didn't always happen for us. Sheâ€™d cram us all into the car and we would go to farms to pick produce or the nearest slaughter house to get a whole side of beef. On this particular Saturday, we came home from a full day of picking with baskets and baskets of apples. We unloaded the car and thought we were done, but my mom had us start breaking down all the baskets and we went immediately into making apple butter. Gallons of delicious apple butter. This was my first encounter with seeing something come from the farm where it grows, straight into an amazing product.
If you've participated in the Festival before, what is your favorite SOBEWFF memory to date?
Easy. BubbleQ with Chef Norman Van Aken. Great event, we had a really killer dish, and there was a lady spinning upside down in spandex pouring Champange. 'Nuff Said.
If you could cook with anyone in the world, who would it be?
Chef Norman Van Aken, my girlfriend Veronica Valdivia, and my brother Chef Michael Bryant. Heaven.
I never leave home without my: