Known for his eponymous BLT brand, French chef Laurent Tourondel is recognized for his successful dining concepts in the Northeast and South Florida. He took us behind the scenes of DUNE by Laurent Tourondel, his elevated seafood restaurant located adjacent to Auberge Beach Residences.
The menu at DUNE features a bevy of artful seafood dishes
Tell us a little about your upbringing and how it’s influenced your success. I grew up in a small town in the center of France, with a grandmother, grandfather, mother and father who were passionate about cooking, so I was surrounded by that, and a great-grandfather who was a chef. We had a garden with only seasonal products. My grandmother was raised on a farm, so it was one of those things where everything was right from the beginning. And everything was right until I was ‘wrong’ at school, and then I went to cooking school and developed a passion for it. And I tried to do my training in a smart way, traveling around different countries and working with the right chefs. It was always a passion of understanding what food was about, and I think when I did understand how food was, I wanted to understand the business part of it, how it worked financially. So I think all of that was what led to my passion of making an impact.
The view outside the restaurant.
What do you hope that guests will take away from their dining experience at DUNE by Laurent Tourondel? I hope guests will enjoy a good overall dining experience first of all. Besides the food, I hope they will enjoy the good ambiance, the ability to sit right on the beach, facing the water, and that this good ambiance and spectacular dining experience will be one they will want to come back for.
What’s your favorite dish on the menu this season? We created a lot of new dishes. We have a crudo that I really like, and each of the octopus, yellowtail, salmon and tuna are prepared differently in the same dish. The octopus is prepared with lemon and oregano; salmon with apple, celery, lime and coriander; tuna with black olive tapenade, olive oil and basil; and the yellowtail with tomato, smoked pepper and almond. We also came up with a lobster piccata, which has been very well received. It’s a whole, 2-pound lobster. We take the meat and create a piccata preparation, and then we put that inside the shell and it’s really beautiful.
Chef Laurent Tourondel
What’s next on the horizon for you? Opening a restaurant on the moon, maybe? [Chuckles] What I like to do is to build different concepts, so right now I’m looking to build a lobster roll restaurant. I’ve done a lot. I’ve done pizza, steakhouse, fish house, burger joint, fish shack, sushi… a little bit of South American. I’ve done a lot of different concepts. Mexican cuisine interests me very much, which I have not done yet and it could be next.
Photography by: PHOTO COURTESY OF DUNE BY LAURENT TOURONDEL