Interview with Chef Charles Coe - Part II

We're continuing our interview with Chef Charles Coe. Part I of our interview can be found here.  

Clean Plate Charlie: What tips do you have for chefs who want to try a greener approach in the kitchen?

Charles Coe: It's not a new way of thinking, it's an old approach to food. I think that you have to concentrate on finding the best ingredients and focus on how you prepare them. Instead of confusing the palate with a hundred ingredients, if you make a dish simple the flavors will shine through. When I do tastings in the restaurant, people say they don't like this or don't like that, and I say just try it - it's not about whether you like the dish, it's about learning about it. It's about trying new things and learning from them.

Why did you choose to open a restaurant in Palm Beach Gardens?

I knew the area. My uncle is the developer for City Place. I have some family in the Jupiter area. I felt kind of at home here. I was recruited by Starwood's Singer Island resort. I decided to leave because I was doing the show and filming and I knew I wouldn't be able to film and be at the hotel, so I took basically a year off.

What else do you have on the horizon?

This is my life. I invest about 140 hours a week into this. Chef Charles is pretty much a brand at this point. I say this humorously, but it's true. I have spice lines and sauce lines coming out in partnership with the show. I love the restaurant business. I was just peeling celery root and I was thinking about how many people have prepared celery root in so many different ways. I tell everyone this isn't for everyone but this is for me. You're not opening a can, you're devoting hundreds of hours a week. And that's what it's about. We have a great opportunity in this restaurant, which is only three weeks old. 

What do you want for Blue Water Grill?

We want to be known as a neighborhood spot. I think restaurants have been taking advantage of people for a long time. I don't think people want to be taken advantage, of no matter how much money they have. Our mantra is great food innovatively prepared, affordably priced and efficiently served. And if you hit those points of service you can't be unsuccessful. My partner and I have been given a great opportunity and we want to give back to the community. 

What do you want your restaurant patrons to know?

When you go out, trust your chef. When my car breaks down, I bring it to a mechanic. I don't try to fix it myself. Trust your chef. It seems simple to me, but it's what I've always done.

Follow Clean Plate Charlie Facebook on Twitter: @CleanPlateBPB.

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Laine Doss is the food and spirits editor for Miami New Times, covering the restaurant and bar scene in South Florida. She has been featured on Cooking Channel’s Eat Street and Food Network’s Great Food Truck Race. Doss won an Alternative Weekly award for her feature on what it’s like to wait tables. In a previous life, she appeared off-Broadway and shook many a cocktail as a bartender at venues in South Florida and New York City. When she’s not writing, you can find Doss running some marathon then celebrating at the nearest watering hole.
Contact: Laine Doss