Sunday, July 14, 2024

Best of Boca: Restaurant Spotlight

Joey Giannuzzi wants you to eat healthier. He wants you to eat organic and natural. But he doesn’t want you to suffer. He wants you to eat healthy, organic and natural food that tastes really, really good. He has, in fact, staked his reputation as a chef on it. As chef-partner (with hotelier Mitchell Robbins) ofFarmer’s Table in Boca, a stylish outpost of healthy, organic and delicious fare, Giannuzzi is continuing the journey he began almost 10 years ago at Henry’s, proving food that’s good and good for you are not mutually exclusive notions.

You’ve become an evangelist for healthy, organic, “clean” eating. How did you get to that point?
It started at Henry’s with the chef’s toy box from the produce company. One day it was eggplant, zucchini, squash and red bell pepper. I called my purveyor and said, “What is this?” And he said, “It’s organic.” He explained how it impacts the environment, its health properties. So I sliced them up and grilled them. They tasted great, and I started experimenting with vegetables, coming up with fun side dishes. Then I found out there was organic salmon and beef and chicken, and I started making organic specials. I found a new passion for creating food that was healthy.

A lot of people still have the idea that healthy food is bland and tasteless. As a chef, how do you combat that?
That’s the biggest obstacle to overcome. Everyone thinks it’s rice cakes and bean sprouts and everything tastes like cardboard. It starts with using quality ingredients. Most of our sauces are simple reductions of juices, and vinaigrettes and purées. A lot of times the food only needs a drizzle. The flavor is already in the food. It’s not what you put into it; it’s what’s already there.

Your customers are pretty sophisticated when it comes to food. How do you reach people who eat mostly processed and fast foods?

I’ve got to get them in the door. [Then] it’s about generating excitement. Once you get someone excited about [eating healthier], they’re at least going to give it a try. Then it’s our responsibility to execute it at the highest levels, so they won’t miss the butter and salt and cream.

To view the online version of Best of Boca, click here. You can also view the full Best of Boca feature here.

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