Chef Aaron Brooks: #TNT Showdown Chef Profile

The Taco & Tequila Showdown #TNTShowdown presented by MIAbites and The Liquid Projects is locked in for Sunday November 8th 6-9 pm at the Vagabond Restaurant and Bar.  

12 chefs and bartenders will battle it out to be selected for best taco and tequila drink, and to further whet your appetite and give you a little back story, MIAbites will be profiling each of the chefs leading up to the event. Tickets to #TNTShowdown are $65 in advance and available on Eventbrite link here.

Chef Aaron Brooks:  EDGE Steak and Grill at The Four Seasons Hotel

Aussie native, Aaron Brooks made his way to Miami to launch the modern steakhouse EDGE Steak & Bar in November 2011.   A journey that took him from the Gold Coast to Vancouver and then Boston, Brooks has orbited around cultures and cuisines, from Pan-Asian to New England.  Passion about his profession, he finds culinary inspiration from each destination, offering a sense of place with his cuisine. At EDGE he features Latin flavors and influences with its bright and fresh flavors: tartares spiked with Peruvian aji Amarillo, citrusy ceviches and earthy chorizo croquetas.

His focus is on farm-to-table prime products, all-natural ingredients and perfect techniques. The better-tasting natural grass-fed beef – from family-owned Creekstone Farms in Arkansas – comes in smaller cuts; the intense heat of the special Infra-red grill it’s cooked on seals in juices and tenderness and creates a fabulous crust on the outside. As for the seafood, “We go local with mahi, corvina, snapper, and stone crabs– they’re awesome, the best crabs I’ve ever eaten, and fresh Florida spiny lobster,” explains Brooks. “But we also bring in the best of East Coast seafood,” he says. 

A local feat, he beat out five of Miami’s top culinary masterminds to win Prince of Porc in the Miami regional Cochon 555 and he has been named the Miami "Lambassador" by Meat & Livestock Australia for his expertise and knowledge of Australia’s grass-feed lamb and beef products. 

We asked Chef Aaron a few questions about his thoughts on the food scene in Miami:

How has being a chef/owner in Miami changed over the last few years?

The Miami scene is really blowing up! The thing I love about it is the tight knit Chef community and how we support each other. There are some great folks in town doing amazing things; I am stoked to be part of the growing culture down here.

If you weren’t a chef, what would you be?

 Geez… that’s a tough one, I love cooking so much.

What is your personality in the kitchen: Angel or Demon?

 Let’s say angel with a dark side. ;)

What ingredient could you not live without?  Your least favorite ingredient?

I could not live without my Maldon sea salt. It goes on everything, for me nothing is more of a letdown than an under seasoned dish. As for least favorite, I would have to say the fermented bean paste natto is my all-time most disliked ingredient.

What is the last dish you cooked for yourself?

I cooked a killer roast Aussie lamb leg at home the other night. It had Turkish inspired flavors which I absolutely love.

Your favorite restaurant other than your own (naturally)?

This is a tough one. There are so many great places in town with super talented Chefs. I did have an amazing meal at Bazi the other night by Mike and Jen the creators of Macchialina. They are doing really cool stuff. No tacos though LOL

If you cook alongside any chef…alive or dead, who would it be and why?

My mum got me into the cooking and is amazing behind the stove. She has worked in the industry for years and has really inspired me. It has been a while since we hung out so it would be fun to throw down on a good meal together for our family and friends.

Let’s talk tacos:  Corn or Flour?  Hard or Soft?  What is the craziest taco combo you have ever had? And where?  Can you give us a hint as to what you plan on submitting as your “Signature Taco” at TNTShowdown? 

For me it really depends on the application. Corn tortillas are best and especially when they’re homemade. As for flour tortillas, even when they aren’t the best quality they have a place. Either way for me it’s all about the filling. The wildest ingredient I’ve had, yet pretty traditional were the tripe tacos at Taqueria Morelia in Homestead and they are delicious!

Why do you think YOU will win?

So much strong competition, this will surely be a tough throw down. I am going to say our signature ‘Hot Source’ is gonna give us the winning EDGE!

Taco & Tequila Showdown #TNTShowdown is presented by MIAbites and The Liquid Projects and will be held Sunday November 8th 6-9 pm at the Vagabond Restaurant and Bar. Join us! Tickets available for $65 advance sale on Eventbrite: