Trained at the Florida Culinary Institute, chef Aaron Black travelled across the United States honing his craft before joining Titou Hospitality, the name behind some of South Florida’s most highly regarded restaurants. The result is PB Catch, the acclaimed Palm Beach restaurant located a short way from The Chesterfield Palm Beach, which celebrates the region’s fantastic seafood in imaginative and delicious ways. Here, Aaron talks to us about sustainable fishing, his ‘seacuterie concept’ and his favourite local spots in Palm Beach County.
How and why did you open PB Catch?
“We opened PB Catch because we saw that there was a need for a seafood-specific restaurant in Palm Beach as well as an opportunity to put the TITOU spin on that genre.”
Can you tell us about the signature ‘seacuterie’ concept at PB Catch?
“Before PB Catch, I gained experience at our sister restaurant Pistache French Bistro where we were continually inspired by the typically French ‘food on a board’ concept. The seacuterie idea seemed like a natural progression from that and also allows us to put a variety of flavours and textures together on one plate, which I think offers a great start to the dining experience at PB Catch.”
How does PB Catch support sustainable fishing?
“We support sustainable fisheries by bringing awareness to our diners, educating our waiting staff, promoting events that support sustainability, and most of all, by committing to a relationship with purveyors that are sourcing responsibly, such as Cod & Capers Seafood.”
What are the biggest influences on your cooking?
“The biggest influence on my cooking is a continued search for new ingredients, spices, produce, types of shrimp and seafood, and then figuring out the right technique to bring out their unique flavours.”
What have your career highlights been so far?
“I would say that highlights in my career or significant milestones include the restaurant teams that I’ve been on for new openings. There is no greater challenge than starting from scratch and getting to grow something with the chefs and staff I’ve met along the way. I’d also say my experiences at the Palm Beach Food & Wine Fest because cooking with people who have that level of expertise in a casual environment is always inspiring.”
What local ingredients do you most enjoy cooking with?
“One of my favourite local ingredients is shrimp that is harvested off of Cape Canaveral for about two weeks each year. They have such a high fat content and all-around richness. We just poach them and serve them ‘peel and eat’ style because they don’t require anything else.”
What local specialities do you recommend visitors try?
Describe your ideal day in Palm Beach?
“To me, an ideal day in Palm Beach is any day that I can manage to take a small break and walk by the beach down the street before service begins. The North Lake Trail is just a short walk from the restaurant, it’s popular with both cyclists and those on foot, and has great views over Lake Worth lagoon.”
Can you tell us any local secrets that visitors don’t usually know about?
“Some things that only locals know about are the sandbar in the Jupiter Inlet, where those in the know go to swim and sunbathe, Peanut Island, a peaceful island that’s only accessible by boat and the beach at Coral Cove, which is amazing for snorkelling.”
Are there any other chefs from Palm Beach that you admire?
“Chefs in Palm Beach that I admire include Rick Mace for his charcuterie as well as attention to detail, the guys over at Meat Market, and those at Buccan for integrating their food with a great bar scene and also the chefs at Palm Beach Grill for cooking great food for everyday dining.”
Enjoy a spectacular seafood dinner at PB Catch before heading back to The Chesterfield Palm Beach for a nightcap in the famous Leopard Lounge Bar.
Image Credits: Lead image © Tom Bollinger. PB Catch Raw Bar © Montana Pritchard. Seacuterie board © Ben Rusnak. PB Catch fish dish © Ben Rusnak. Coral Cove © iStock/dosecreative. Jupiter Inlet © iStock/CG-Photos.