Chic. Sexy. Delicious. Three words that Chef Drew uses to describe his up-and-coming sushi restaurant, Shima.
Shima, which means ‘island’ in Japanese, is set to open in the coming months and is the culmination of decades of culinary experience that began on a charter boat to the Bahamas. Drew Tsang got on that charter boat as a Boy Scout’s Sea Explorer, working over the summer during high school. The crew was meant to take turns cooking each day, but after Drew cooked, everyone said, “Let the kid cook again.” So, he did, again and again.
Drew left that charter with more than Explorer experience; he left with a passion for cooking. After graduating high school, he studied Culinary Arts and Restaurant Management at university and under some of Miami’s best chefs.
Over the years, Chef Drew has earned many accolades, including Jose Cuervo Chef of the Year and one of America’s Top 100 Chefs named by Food & Wine. He’s demonstrated his skills on multiple television cooking shows like Celebrity Chefs and Food Network’s Cutthroat Kitchen.
His proudest award, however, was earned after the devastation of Hurricane Irma. From trapped tourists to first responders, Chef Drew and his team fed people 24 hours a day for 3 weeks.
“It started with a brisket I cooked from my freezer,” Chef Drew explains. “Anyone was welcome to share it, and a father came with his children. He cried as he thanked me because they had just eaten their last can of food. He didn’t know how he would feed his children and then suddenly was offered a brisket. I knew then that we couldn’t stop until everyone was fed.” So, Chef Drew did what he did back on the charter boat: he cooked again and again.
For his tireless and generous efforts, he was awarded the Humanitarian of the Year Award of Florida. This time, the award wasn’t for the quality of his cooking but for the quality of his heart. Chef Drew is well-known in the Keys. He owns and operates Chef Drew’s Island Catering which specializes in elevating any event with unforgettable flavors. His artistic flair makes the food as visually appealing as it is delectable. He is taking this same approach with his new restaurant.
The atmosphere of the restaurant, designed by John Ruldolph, is going to be as tantalizing as the food. With dark tones, bronze accents, and soft lighting, Shima will exude simple elegance. “Women will get to put on their little black dress, and men will gladly dust off their sports jackets for a chance to admire their dates for an evening,” Chef Drew says with a smile.
In addition to Chef Drew’s expertise and talents, Shima will benefit from another renowned local chef, Chef Camellien Octela. Formerly of Nikai Sushi, Chef Camellien is now part-owner and Head Sushi Chef of Shima. Together, they expect great things (as does the culinary world). Shima will undoubtedly be known for sushi and its elevated menu, but Chefs Drew and Camellien are also excited about its champagne cocktails and, eventually, private cooking classes. They plan to close the restaurant on Wednesdays to host classes, which makes for another great date or enjoyable outing for their patrons. This merging of food, atmosphere, and experiences reflects what Chef Drew’s mentor, Chef Charlie Trotter, taught him. Chef Trotter told Drew, “If it was only cooking, kid, it would be too easy.” With that always in mind, Shima will offer much more than good cooking. It will offer edible art that pleases all of the senses. Expect to want it again and again.
– Jerrica Mah is a writer, army wife, and freelance book editor, who loves to travel with her family