5 Things We Learned From Bocce Bar's Timon Balloo

By Carissa Chesanek  |  April 1, 2014

Chef Timon Balloo has been part of the Samba Brands Management family for some time now, starting at SUSHISAMBA Miami Beach working alongside Pubelly's chef Jose Mendin (the chef at Lincoln Road's sushi staple at the time). Today, he's known as the culinary genius behind SUGARCANE raw bar grill and most recently, the rustic Italian hot spot Bocce Bar right next door. We got a chance to catch up with the busy chef to discuss his new space, the brash Miami.com review and why ice water doesn't make the French happy.

1. He likes trying new things. 

Bocce Bar differs from anything that the chef is used to working with - and not just because it's the first venue he's worked at with a bocce ball court. While he's focused mainly on Asian and French cuisine in the past, this new venture offers him a way "to explore new flavors and traditions" from a whole other region. The restaurant is "symbolic of togetherness, laughter and good times; memories and feelings we hope to create for our customers."

2. He doesn't take reviews to heart.

While his buzz-worthy trendy space has received roaring reviews since it opened, a recent post on Miami.com said otherwise, stating it was "off to a bumpy start" due to a long wait and dishes that lacked "finesse." But even the toughest critics don't get to him. "Honestly, it seems as if the reviewer was a little bitter about the wait and took it out on the food," he says. "I’m proud of the food that we produce at Bocce and hope that guests will come in and experience the place firsthand. I’ve been in the business for some time now and I’ve learned that while reviews are important, they are reflective of one person’s opinion."

3. He laughs in the face of trouble. 

"I was working for a French master chef, and in one of our services I accidentally spilled ice cold water on him while reaching for something in the cooler - it was funny at the time since he was yelling at me in French."

4. He shies away from thorn-covered fruit.

One ingredient you'll never see him use on a menu: durian, the notoriously funky-smelling fruit. 

5. Nobody better get in his way when working.

Staying quiet in the kitchen is a major no-no, especially when it causes people to run into each other. That's why this chef is a firm believer on people saying “behind you” while moving around in the kitchen.