Chef Michael Schulson Tells Us His Favorite Drinks, Karaoke Songs And His Inspiration Behind Monkitail
It's not a secret that the Diplomat Beach Resort in Hollywood is a frontier for celebrity chefs and restauranteurs to makes waves in the South Florida dining scene.
We recently spoke with Monkitail's chef Michael Schulson to discuss his career, his inspiration behind the restaurant and more, previewing the upcoming event he will be hosting at Monkitail on Nov. 3 called, "Dinner & A Side of Whisky."
What's your favorite type of whisky to drink? What's your all-time favorite alcoholic beverage?
A nice, aged Japanese whisky. I'm a tequila guy; I love a nice anejo.
Why did you choose the Diplomat for Monkitail's location?
I loved what Brookfield was doing with the property and the location is such a great area to be in.
Why is the restaurant spelt Monkitail and not monkey tail?
The name Monkitail evolved from a combination of creative sentiments. The concept was invented in the year of the monkey (2016), leading to the exploration of the monkey as the key character. The monkey has played a significant role in Asian culture. In Japanese folklore, the monkey was the sacred mediator between the gods and humans. It represents connection and communication between our human lives and our aspirations––a connection made by food and community while dining. The monkey is also a trickster, full of mischief and mayhem. It speaks to the more playful and secretly lively side of the restaurant. The name is a combination of both Japanese and English terms –– monki, meaning monkey in Japanese. This blending of words speaks to the idea of me bringing my own creative take on Asian cuisine.
You're at a karaoke bar with friends. What song do you choose to sing?
Something old school by Michael Jackson.
What tips do you have for anyone who wants to make sushi at home?
It's not easy but make sure you get an electric rice cooker and start with amazing fish.
What's your secret to balancing so many restaurants in the Schulson Collective?
That’s easy; I just don’t sleep a lot. Seriously, having a great team around me is the key and I wouldn’t be able to do this without each and every employee we have.
What's the most memorable food you've ever eaten?
I'm not a fancy guy; I prefer ethnic food done well. I really like authentic Cantonese food, as well as really good dim sum.
What's the one kitchen utensil you can't live without?
A spoon. You can do everything with a spoon. Baste, eat, flip food and even open a bottle of beer.
What's next for Monkitail? What are your goals for the restaurant?
Monkitail is still brand new (less than six months old) and we are about to hit our first busy season, so we aren't planning much new right now. My goals are the same in all the restaurants: to make sure we have great service, food, design, lighting, music and value.
To find out more information on Monkitail and the upcoming "Dinner & A Side of Whisky" event hosted by Schulson, go to monkitail.com.
3555 South Ocean Drive, Hollywood; 954.602.8755; monkitail.com
Photos courtesy of Monkitail
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