1. One thing you don’t know about me is that I grew up on both of my grandparents’ working farms in Alabama where the term “farm-to-table” was more than just an expression. My grandparents only ate what they raised, from milking their own dairy cows and churning butter, to making their own preserves from the fresh picks of the day. As a result I’ve always had a passion for fresh local food.
2. If I could trade places with one chef it would be me 15 years ago knowing what I know now. The road was a rocky one, but I I’m thrilled to be here in Miami opening Yardbird, a neighborhood dining concept that utilizes regional and seasonal ingredients.
3. One of my most favorite meals was at the French Laundry, Gotham Steak and Cypress (Sorry, couldn’t pick just one!).
4. If there was no pork or chicken, I’d have no reason to live.
5. My go-to drink is bourbon on the rocks, please.
6. If I were on death row my last meal would be a chefs’ tasting menu. My favorite meals have always been when I’ve let the chef choose my path for the evening. I like to be surprised and eat new things.
7. My worst culinary creation was cooked crickets. In the end they didn’t make it on the menu. Enough said. 8. If I could change one thing about me I would love to balance my schedule to find more time for outdoor sports. I’m a huge fan of fishing, surfing and swimming.
9. My favorite junk food is coming from the world’s best pastry chef at Yardbird, Peter Merrill. Right now I’m addicted to his peach pie and his nutter butter ice-cream sundae. I’m sure that will change as he changes the dessert menu seasonally.
10. If I wasn’t a restaurant operator, I’d love to be a pro surfer or pro fisherman.
Jeff McInnis came to national prominence when he appeared on Bravo’s Top Chef in 2008. He went on from there to become the executive chef of highly acclaimed Gigi in Miami Beach. He left Gigi to become a chef/partner of Yardbird Southern Table and Bar, which opened last Fall.