James Seyba

Meet James Seyba, the new chef in the house! Before joining the team and introducing our tastebuds to a whole new level of culinary magic, James was busy hopping around the country – everywhere from St. Louis to Miami – learning from the best in the industry, including James Beard Award-winning chef Michael Schwartz. During last Sunday’s epic BBQ with Ancho Reyes liqueur, we caught up with James over some badass pork tacos to talk all things chefery, Miami and The Broken Shaker’s new food menu.

Freehand Miami: Who inspired your passion for cooking?

James Seyba: My mom is a retired creative writing teacher and she has always been a great cook. She inspired me to express myself and be creative. Working for and around talented chefs inspires me too.

Tell us your five favorite ingredients:

1) salt
2) good olive oil
3) pork
4) ginger
5) eggs

How has traveling and working throughout the United States (and on a cruise ship) influenced your career as a chef?

I think living and working in different cities has probably been the most intelligent thing I have done for my career because it exposed me to different cultures and flavors. Also, I met some of my best friends working on the Oasis of the Seas cruise ship, and have learned some incredible techniques from them. When I need hints on a good Jamaican jerk recipe, I ask my buddy in Ocho Rios…

What are your favorite places in Miami Beach to grab dinner and/or drinks?

On the beach I like Pubbelly. I also like traveling across the bay and dining in the design district. My favorites there are Mandolin, Harry’s Pizzeria, and Buena Vista Deli.

Favorite libation at The Broken Shaker right now?

Bourbon, bartender’s choice, or a Tecate.

What was the process for revamping Broken Shaker’s food menu? Any new items popping up over the next few months?

The process starts with the ingredients. We love to source as local as possible, making sure to use only the highest quality. Then we just try to create dishes that highlight the ingredients and pair well with the drinks.

Keeping in mind that all of our food is hand held, we are working on some new sandwiches. Also, on Sundays we host an outdoor BBQ with a new menu every week, so it’s a fun chance for us to create and experiment.

If you could cook dinner for anyone, who would it be? What would you make?

Roasted chicken for Thomas Keller.