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8 Miami Chefs Share Their Favorite Pantry Staples

Time to stock up

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With South Florida’s stay-at-home orders in full swing, many people are using their kitchens a lot more frequently. So how does one stock it up like a pro? We turned to eight top chefs around Miami to ask for their best tips for pantry staples.

Below eight different chefs from around Miami share the ingredients and tools that help them prepare restaurant-caliber meals at home. So stock up on those groceries, and get to cooking.


Native Guy honey

Shio Koji, shiro miso, soy sauce, fish sauce, good quality olive oil, chicken stock, and something spicy like yuzu red kosho. I never run out of oats. I eat a big bowl of rolled oats with homemade yogurt and fruits every day. I tend to my fermentation projects, such as kombucha, yogurt, and sourdough. Once you get them started, you just have to maintain and refresh them. — Oliver Lange, Zuma Corporate Executive Chef

Coarse sea salt - it’s great for finishing your dishes both sweet and savory. Apple cider vinegar - my boyfriend influenced this as he’s a huge advocate for the health advantages so we have found ways to incorporate it into almost every meal that we cook at home. Braggs is definitely our favorite brand. Native Guy Honey - supporting local is very important to me but even more important is quality, and I love having this floral delicious high quality honey at home while supporting a local company. My favorite is putting it on top of pizza — even if it is a frozen pizza that I’m just heating up. — Dallas Wynne, Stubborn Seed

Fish sauce, miso/doengang, and canned anchovies. Fish sauce can be used in place of salt in almost any dish to add a subtle layer of umami. Miso (or the Korean variety, doenjang) is another ingredient that has many versatile uses. It can be used similarly to tomato paste in pastas, sauces, and soups. It gives incredible depth and complexity to the food. And lastly, canned anchovies. Once again, an incredible flavor enhancer, and also a great snack on its own when served with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and soy sauce to make a great dip for bread. Ben Steigers, 50 Eggs Hospitality Group

Maesri Red Curry Paste

Maesri brand canned curry pastes — green, red, massaman are my favorites. I love to slow cook chunks of cheaper cuts of beef like chuck with the massaman paste and other pantry staples like potatoes, peanuts and coconut milk. Serve with steamed jasmine rice and a fresh aromatic herb and fresh chili salad and you have an amazing meal. Papadams and mango chutney from my local indian store. Throw the papadums on the grill or in the microwave and your have delicious crunchy chips to accompany a meal or dip into some home made raita. Canned anchovies and calabrian chilies add huge punches of flavor to pastas and veggie dishes. Milo - a delicious and crunchy chocolate malt based powder. I sprinkle on ice cream or I drink with ice cold oat milk, because I am pregnant and while most people are drowning their sorrows with wine, I choose chocolate milk! — Janine Booth, Root & Bone, Stiltsville, and Mi’talia Kitchen & Bar

Aji Amarillo and Aji Panca are staples, now that we are cooking lots of Peruvian dishes at home! Almond butter is also a key item in our pantry – it’s my son Malki’s favorite for breakfast with his toast. Arepas paisas is also a staple in our pantry, it’s my wife’s breakfast each day – she’s Colombian! — Diego Oka, La Mar

Tajin spice

Good olive oil, a variety of vinegars, sesame oil, dry rub, European jams, Mulino Bianco cookies, and Nutella! — Giorgio Rapicavoli, Eating House and Glass + Vine

Dried pasta is great to always have on hand and you can make a variety of different sauces to keep things interesting. It is also a great way to support local businesses that sell their dried pasta made in-house! Other non-perishable favorites of mine include coconut milk, canned tomatoes, lentils, tajin spice, truffle oil, nutritional yeast, curry powder and olive oil. — David Lee, Planta

One of my favorite pantry staples in quinoa because is a healthy option and easy to cook holding up well in the refrigerator. Not to mention how tasty it is in any preparation. Another staple for me would be coconut milk because is a versatile ingredient and an excellent milk alternative as well as it also provides many health benefits. — Nicolas Caicedo, Back Door Monkey

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