Culinary Corner with Chef Eric Do
By Bobby Killgore
It’s here that Executive Chef Eric Do mans the burners, dishing out a plethora of delectable dishes inspired by his multi-cultural staff. We’re talking fusion cuisine from all over — places like Honduras, Colombia, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, El Salvador, Puerto Rico, Nicaragua and Peru, to name just a few. Mix in Chef Do's Asian background (he was particularly inspired growing up by his Korean grandmother’s passion for food and cooking) and West Coast flair (he hails from California, where he graduated with honors in culinary arts from The Art Institute of San Diego), and you’re in for a truly memorable dining experience. Whether you opt for Blue Matisse's popular On-the-Fly Executive Lunch Buffet or an a la carte dinner, Chef Do and his international team won't disappoint you.
Chef Do invited me to enjoy the array of selections on his Executive Lunch Buffet. Between set-up and the lunch crush, I sat down with Eric to chat for a few minutes. Interestingly, he's managed to marry his love of the sea and fishing with his vocation, resulting in some wonderful seafood creations along the way. Here's what he had to say:
I understand you’re an avid fisherman — what’s your most memorable catch?
Probably a tarpon that weighed about 150 pounds. That was a battle, but I always want to get them back in the water as quickly as possible. I started fishing as a kid with my dad in California, and I’ve been hooked ever since.
Name three of your favorite ingredients to cook with.
Garlic — it’s probably one of my most used flavors. Green chili paste for sure. And shellfish — I really love cooking with crabs, shrimp and lobster. I love fish in general. And miso. I guess that’s more than three ingredients!
What would you be doing if you weren’t a chef?
My first plan was to be a marine biologist in San Diego.
I understand you enjoy spending time in the Keys. Tell me a bit about that.
What’s the best part about your job?
That I’m able to be creative and develop new flavors. I like doing different things and not being so cookie-cutter. For me that’s what keeps it fresh and people wanting to come back for more.
And the worst?
I would say probably the regular hours, which can be long and intense at times, especially now that I have a big family with three kids. They are so young, and sometimes you feel that you’re missing out. It’s hard to make plans and be there for certain events.
What would your last meal be?
You know, I’ve never thought about that before. It would have to be shellfish - I love seafood. I’ve always wanted to go to the Tsukiji fish market in Japan, it’s the biggest in the world. I would just go to town in every imaginable way there.