If you love sushi, you need to be in Miami now—or next week, anyway.
Just in time for the February 24 kickoff of the South Beach Wine & Food Festival, the coolest-ever sustainable rooftop restaurant, called PREY, is popping up at eco-conscious luxury hotel 1 Hotel & Homes South Beach.
The owner of Miya’s, the world’s first sustainable sushi restaurant, Chef Bun Lai will be at the helm of PREY, serving up local sustainable seafood and menu items that are indigenous to Florida, many of which he will forage, dive, and hunt for himself!
We asked Chef Bun Lai about his connection to the coast, what PREY diners can expect, and why practicing sustainability is so important.
You’re known for innovating sushi made with sustainable seafood and invasive species. Why invasive species?
“Invasive species are destructive to the biodiversity of habitat, so at PREY at 1 Hotel South Beach, one of our focuses is on invasive species. By consuming invasive species, we can help restore biodiversity to damaged habitats. In Jamaica, for example, where there has been a national campaign to eat lionfish, the population of this voracious predator has dropped by more than 60 percent.”
You hunt, dive, and forage to supply Miya’s sushi bar, and now the PREY menu. Why?
“Modern ways of food production have separated human beings from nature. By utilizing invasive species, by catching and foraging for them ourselves, we reconnect with the living planet that nourishes us.”
What is your own connection to the coast? How does that inform Miya’s menu?
“My siblings and I grew up foraging and fishing along the coast of Connecticut. We have a hundred-acre clam and oyster farm, just a few miles from Miya’s, where we dive for shellfish and seaweed, and catch and collect all sorts of invasive species. Many of our chefs and servers are also divers, fisherman, and foragers, too. Miya’s could not exist without a relationship to the coast. Nothing is more worth fighting for, and nothing makes me feel more alive or more at peace with the universe than the ocean.”
What can diners expect at PREY?
“PREY is the culmination of a cuisine that my family and I have created at Miya’s over many decades, with the unwavering support of all of all our friends in New Haven who were open-minded enough to embrace an unconventional vision. PREY is different from Miya’s in that it will be custom tailored to reflect the problems of the local ecosystems of Southern Florida. PREY will utilize abundant but underutilized species that are particular to this region.”
What do you hope patrons of PREY take away from their dining experience?
“It’s not enough that food tastes good or is beautiful. Food is the most important way we connect to the world. Through our mouths, we bring nature in. The goal of our cuisine is to nourish people and the planet that is their shared home.”
What should people know about practicing sustainability when eating seafood?
“Global fish populations are quickly being depleted by human activities—overfishing, climate change, pollution, and the destruction of habitats. Furthermore, when we live and eat in a way that destroys the oceans, ultimately, we harm ourselves. Ocean plants produce half of the air we breathe. And half of the world’s population relies on the ocean for the food they eat. All of us are inseparably connected to the ocean, in countless ways. Start using one of the many guides, such as the Seafood Watch app, to make better seafood choices.”
The pop-up restaurant will be open from February 24 through April 30. Reservations can be made by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks to 1 Hotel & Homes South Beach for the beautiful photos!
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