Pan-surfing with Miami’s Newest Celebrity Chef

by Pamela Robin Brandt

You’re in the kitchen with chef Govind Armstrong, of Los Angeles’ famed Table 8. After tasting your Cold Seafood Salad on Warm Spring Succotash, one of his signature dishes, he pronounces it flawless, and offers you the sous chef job at Sobe’s new Table 8, scheduled to open in late summer [1458 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach; 305-695-4114].

That’s the fantasy. At a Biltmore International Wine & Food Festival interactive lunch, the reality was more like this: After our table’s overeager designated cook (me) dumped a double dose of stock in the pan, then boiled the heck out of it to reduce the flood, Armstrong leapt off the demo stage more like superhero than superchef, sampled the dish, and proclaimed it “Not a disaster!”

Laugh if you must, but from a guy who was cooking at Wolfgang Puck’s Spago at age 13, that’s practically a James Beard award.

The recipe is really very forgiving (of everything but canned corn; use fresh). And its striking contrast of elegant chilled seafood and warm veg comfort food makes the dish perfect party fare, especially since, Armstrong explained, “Everything can be done in advance, except assembling the salad and warming the succotash.” It’ll take you from your guests for mere minutes—if you use just enough stock to sauce the dish, not surf it.

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