Not many people can say they’ve put their talent on the chopping block on national TV. Chef Adrienne Grenier triumphed on the popular Food Network series Chopped – and has probably never looked at a “mystery basket” the same again. “Chopped definitely took me out of my comfort zone,” says the $10k grand prize winner. “It helped me realize that I didn’t need to overthink, over-manipulate. People really enjoy simple, delicious, properly seasoned food.”
What next? She went from the A-list to A1A, where she’s continued building her reputation as executive chef of 3030 Ocean.
3030 Ocean has a lot to offer. To start off, it’s a seafood restaurant by the ocean (located at the Marriott Harbor Beach Resort and Spa) that has remained a staple for Fort Lauderdale locals and tourists throughout the years. But how does it stay on top of its game?
“I [have] made it my job to seek out local farms, discover what they had to offer and establish relationships with them,” Grenier says. Inspired by the farm-to-table craze that began in California, the self-proclaimed farm girl became one of the pioneers behind this concept in Florida.
Her résumé includes Michelin-starred restaurant Gordon Ramsay at The London in California and 1500° at the Eden Roc Miami Beach. The latter earned a spot in Esquire’s “Top 20 Best New Restaurants in U.S.” during her time there.
However, her professional cooking career is deeply rooted within 3030 Ocean. She began learning under the wings of former 3030 chefs Paula DaSilva and Dean Max. “3030 has maintained a great reputation over the years because it has always had great chefs,” she says. “Most people still think of Dean Max and Paula DaSilva, which is okay with me because I worked at 3030 for both of them and my style has certainly been influenced by them.”
It was Chef DaSilva who mentored and encouraged her to compete on Chopped.
Her style involves not over-complicating things. “I like natural simplicity,” she shares. “I like to source the best local/seasonal ingredients and really let them be the star.”
Freshness takes a center role when creating new dishes. Chef Adrienne “considers what season we are in and whether I want something light and fresh or warm and comforting,” while being mindful of which fish are in season and the produce that is in abundance at the local farms.
Keeping with the theme, her favorite dish on the menu is made up of veggies. “Everyone asks me this,” she says of picking a favorite. “I tell them it’s like choosing a favorite child! If I honestly had to choose…it would be our vegetarian plate. I really, really love vegetables and this is basically a sampling of all of the vegetables on the menu.”
As much as she enjoys cooking the food, she also enjoys eating it. “I definitely love sitting outside and eating oysters and peel-n-eat shrimp or fish dip.”
While the food is always important, everyone knows the ambiance of the restaurant really sets the tone of the overall dining experience. Chef recommends the best time to enjoy your meal is right before the sunset. “The sky over the ocean during sunset is always magnificent.”
The Dish: Frisée Salad
With Shaved Persimmon, Fennel, Pomegranate Seeds & Lemonette
- 4 cups cleaned frisée (yellow part only)
- 2 ripe but firm persimmons, very thinly sliced
- ½ fennel bulb, very thinly sliced
- Seeds from 1 pomegranate
- 2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 Tbsp. honey
- ½ cup grapeseed oil
- Salt and pepper
In a large bowl, combine the frisée, shaved persimmon, fennel and pomegranate seeds. Season with salt and pepper to taste. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, Dijon and honey. Gradually whisk in the grapeseed oil. Toss the lemonette with salad and serve immediately.