Q & Egg with Chef Janine Booth
From her go-to cooking jams to her fondness for baby goats
Chef Janine Booth’s cuisine is inspired by the vast variety of cultures she’s explored and their power to bring people together. From an adolescence spent in Australia to time traveling through Europe and Asia, Booth finally made Miami her home — where she spent time in some of the city’s most well-respected restaurants cooking everything from Vietnamese food and Asian BBQ to Southern classics. Things started heating up in 2013, when Booth was scouted for Top Chef and competed with 18 other stellar chefs in a life-changing experience. Following the show, Booth moved with her partner (and fellow chef), Jeff McInnis, to NYC where their (now illustrious) careers as restaurateurs began. The duo opened the renowned Root & Bone, securing her rank on both Forbes’ and Zagat’s famous 30 Under 30 lists. In search of more sun, Booth and McInnis eventually moved back to Miami to open the widely-acclaimed Stiltsville Fish Bar, which earned Booth the titles of 2018’s Rising Star Chef Of the Year and James Beard Semifinalist. Today, Booth and McInnis live in Miami with their two young daughters and run Sunny Side Up Hospitality (named after their daughter, Sunny) with restaurants in Manhattan, Miami, and Puerto Rico. We nabbed a few minutes from Booth’s insanely busy schedule to chat with her about everything from her go-to cooking music to her must-have omelette additions. Let’s get cookin’!
Where did you grow up?
The beautiful sunny coast of Perth, Australia.
What is the #1 best thing about it?
The weather is beautiful all year round but the summer vibes are magical! Days are based around the beach, barbeques and being outdoors with friends and family.
Do you remember your first egg? (If not, your most memorable egg?)
I am not sure I remember my very first egg, but I clearly remember my mum making the best “boiled eggs and soldiers” — soft boiled eggs with buttery golden toasted bread cut into little rectangles, ready to dip into the golden molten yolk that had been topped with irish butter, salt and fresh ground pepper. Perfection! I now make this for my little ones, and they love it!
The first thing I do in the mornings is drink a glass of warm water with half a lemon squeezed into it and take an ice cold shower to get my body energized and ready for my day. It is usually followed by a pot of earl grey tea and a perfect french style omelette with sauteed greens and mushrooms.
Favorite breakfast spot or diner?
My favorite breakfast spot is Vans Cafe in Cottesloe Beach, Australia. A little far from the US, but it's my favorite!
Spicy Indonesian Fried Eggs, with coriander, fried shallots, lap cheong sausage and sambal. I love to eat spicy chili sauce or fresh chili with my eggs, and this dish has so many yummy flavors and textures. It reminds me of holidays in Bali!
If you could be a farm animal for a day, which one would you be?
I would be a baby goat! I hear they are doing yoga these days!
Your go-to nature happy place?
Sitting in a beach chair under an umbrella with a margarita and some good snacks!
Favorite music to listen (/dance) to while cooking?
Tash Sultana! Her music is relaxing and upbeat at the same time.
I have so many, but right now I am into the Yotam Ottalenghi series.
Favorite home kitchen tool?
My $5 potato ricer from Ikea is amazing. It rices anything from mashed potatoes and cauliflower to boiled eggs for deviled eggs.
Do you have any sustainability hacks to share?
A simple one I live by is that I take my reusable water bottle everywhere I go. I refuse to buy plastic water bottles and even use them sometimes when we go out to eat, rather than waste washing another glass.
Dinner that takes you less than 15 mins to make?
Thai Green Chicken Curry with Jasmine Rice
Must have omelette addition?
Parmigiano Reggiano and a splash of cream are non-negotiables. I usually keep it light from there with spinach and mushrooms.
Kiss, Marry, Kill: Basic, Cilantro, Rosemary
Kiss basil - it is so versatile! Marry cilantro - when I use it I go all in! Kill rosemary - I love this herb, but if you use too much, it can completely overpower the dish.
In my past life, I think I was an...
Would you rather be able to breathe underwater or fly?
Breathe underwater for sure!!!! I am scared of heights!
A word you use way too often?
“Oh Man”! My daughter Sunny has now picked up on it!