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  • The Check Podcast

Episode 9: Miami Vices

Updated: Jul 3, 2020

An excursion to the Sunshine State provides an opportunity to interview a chef on a private yacht and learn more about the ins and outs of onboard cooking—and better yet, eating and drinking.





In Miami, seafaring chef Jodi Burton joins Alvin and Brady on The Check podcast aboard the yacht Scarlet.


Chef Jodi Burton's social media and contact information


Episode Transcript

July 2, 2020


Alvin Williams

Hey Brady, how you feeling this week?

Brady Viccellio

I'm feeling good Avin. Feeling just fine.

Alvin Williams

Well, it's really good to be back in town. Last week we were fortunate enough to get out of town for a couple days.

Brady Viccellio

It was nice. Yeah. We went to Miami.

Alvin Williams

Miami. Yes, awesome. Awesome town, great meals, vibrant food, nice nightlife, great scene.

Brady Viccellio

In spite of COVID-19, we were able to have enjoy ourselves and a friend of ours was able to hook us up with a with a yacht, and we were there to celebrate an occasion that will be revealed later in the podcast.

Alvin Williams

Indeed, we had a great time.

Brady Viccellio

And of course, even though we were on a vacation, we remain dedicated to our listeners of our podcast and keeping them informed on what is going on.

Alvin Williams

Vacation? It was a kind of a short break, you know, one, two days day off. But indeed our dedication is strong. And we did the podcast on the vessel, on the yacht.

Brady Viccellio

Yes, indeed.

Alvin Williams

We might want to apologize a little bit in advance because we had a couple of drinks because the thing is, when you're in Miami, the heat’s beating down and you got to stay hydrated.

Brady Viccellio

You do have to stay hydrated. We were well, well watered.

Alvin Williams

There were a few cocktails going backwards and forwards and down our necks.

Brady Viccellio

Right. Well, of course. We were safe. When we came aboard the vessel we were checked for temperature.

Alvin Williams

And they asked questions.

Brady Viccellio

It was pretty good. We signed waivers. And of course there was a captain aboard, there was a chef onboard. We were well taken care of and not required to have any responsibility other than to have fun.

Alvin Williams

Well, being in Miami, we had some awesome meals. One restaurant we hit was called Sea Spice and it was great. But the best meals that we found ourselves partaking in were actually on the yacht.

Brady Viccellio

Yeah, that's right. They were certainly the most memorable. And it was great because the chef was kind enough to sit down with us and do a podcast with us. And without further ado, first podcast on the high seas.

Alvin Williams

Welcome to The Check everyone.

Brady Viccellio

Welcome to The Check and I'm really excited because we have an opportunity to talk to somebody who's completely outside of our normal repertoire.

Alvin Williams

Absolutely. We have with us, Chef Jodi Burton.

Jodi Burton

Hi there.

Brady Viccellio

Hi, Jodi. The cool thing is that in the background we have a bow thruster. Yeah, we're actually on a boat right now. We're docking. So the sound is actually--well, it's a mid thruster, isn't it?

Alvin Williams

I'll just real quickly say Jody is a chef and she cooks on boats and moving vehicles, which is a little different to what Brady and I do. We're in stationary kitchens. So Jodi, tell us a little bit about what you do and how you do it.

Jodi Burton

Okay, I've been working on yachts for over 20 years. I started cooking at a very young age. How do I do it? I shop heavily and get it going. Doesn't matter the weather. It can be rough. So I do a little balancing act.

Brady Viccellio

We talked a little bit earlier about your history, about how you got started. As a chef, apparently, you've been a chef since … I know Alvin had early days as a chef, and my restaurant career started making coffee in my family's restaurant. And as soon as I could reach the coffee urn, I was able to be productive. So I think yours may have started even earlier in life.

Jodi Burton

Oh yeah, definitely. So, as the story goes, when I was a baby, my mom would give me pots and pans on the floor. And I would sit there and bang around with the pots and pans when I was like three years old. And then I got older. My parents divorced and my mother had to work late nights, and she left me with a full kitchen to have my reins with it.

Brady Viccellio

Was your mom a chef? Was your mom a cook?

Jodi Burton

No, absolutely not.

Brady Viccellio

So she was just hopeful.

Jodi Burton

She would say “Okay, let's go to the grocery store” and I would just go in and pick out whatever I wanted. She bought it for me.

Brady Viccellio

You’d cook it?

Jodi Burton

Yes. For me, and my friends while my mom was away at work

Alvin Williams

So have you worked in conventional restaurant kitchens before?

Jodi Burton

I have--not for not for long periods of time. I took more of a liking to this.

Alvin Williams

So how does cooking on yachts and boats differ?

Jodi Burton

Well, as you can see on this vessel, my space is very limited. So I do everything myself as opposed to having a team of helpers.

Brady Viccellio

There would never be a more efficient kitchen than one which is found on a boat. Thankfully, I've had some exposure to boats growing up. And I remember my uncle had this boat and my mom used to go on these trips on this boat, and it had a gimbaled stove and it had a sling that he wrapped around you. And you take the sling because the boat might be heeling. It was a sailboat and he'd wrap this sling around you and you'd work on this gimbaled stove and my mother used to have these stories about how much she liked to cook on this boat with the gimbaled stove tied on -- literally tied to the stove. And it's not much different than what I saw on this boat.

Jodi Burton

Right. Sometimes we'll be out on really rough seas and you know, it's like I said, it's very much of a balancing act. It's crazy.

Alvin Williams

What are some of the challenges that you face cooking on a boat with regards to getting product onto the boat rather than you working in a conventional restaurant?

Jodi Burton

Oh, it's definitely a lot. You know, it's a lot of running around, that's for sure. Especially when, for instance, for we had to have some Wagyu beef for this particular day. And, you know, it wasn't easy to find, but we found it. You got to do your research and do whatever the client asks for.

Brady Viccellio

So you have you have clients, some are difficult, some are not difficult. And you just have to make it happen.

Jodi Burton

You got to make it happen. That's exactly what we do.

Brady Viccellio

Well tell me about the COVID-19 situation. I mean, I mark it at about March 11. And that's when really, things started to happen. And we started to hear it was a serious issue.

Jodi Burton

Definitely.

Brady Viccellio

And here we are. June 25, if I'm not mistaken.

Alvin Williams

Absolutely correct. June 25. Very special day.

Brady Viccellio

I'm sorry, Alvin. Why is it a special day?

Alvin Williams

Yay. It's my birthday.

Brady Viccellio

All right. So June 25, March 11. We're from there to here. And we're still in well into the

COVID-19 situation. So March 11, which was kind of the start of like, Oh my gosh, this is real, this is a real thing. And we've got to change the way we live. Tell me a little bit, Jody about how that's affected you and your job.

Jodi Burton

We stopped about basically the end of March. And then we were probably out of commission for a month. And then, you know, people started to want to get back out and do things. So we kept our distance and whatnot and had limited people on board. Like I said, it was maybe just a month, which we were so busy prior to that it really was fine.

Brady Viccellio

That's really interesting to me, because January and February were probably the best January and February business I've had in a long time. So you saw that as well. You were booming.

Alvin Williams

We were rolling.

Brady Viccellio

I was really excited for 2020 January in February and then this whole thing hit and the bottom dropped out. But you basically missed a month is what you're saying.

Jodi Burton

That’s it, yeah.

Brady Viccellio

Wow, that's great.

Alvin Williams

So how have you practices changed--anything different with the cleaning and sanitizing? You know, we came on board and we has temperature checks and that kind of stuff, which really we're happy you did that because we know that we're safe and that you’re trying to protect us. What's different for you in the kitchen?

Jodi Burton

Well, basically, not much has changed for me in the galley because …

Alvin Williams

Sorry, the galley. Sorry, boat speak.

Jodi Burton

Basically I do a complete wipe down before and after every time anyways, so really hasn't changed for me and also for myself. You see where I work? It's down below. Nobody comes down. So I kind of have my own little area.

Brady Viccellio

Yeah, the beauty of a galley in a boat is that it's very much separated. The working areas of a boat are designed to be very much separated from the guest area so to speak. You're used to being in a closet, attached to the stove.

Jodi Burton

Yes sir.

Alvin Williams

This seems to be a very well designed, efficient space. Is that what you like? Do you like being by yourself or do you miss being with other chefs?

Jodi Burton

I do like being by myself. I get my work done. I stay focused.

Alvin Williams

You don't have to worry about other people not pulling their weight kind of thing.

Jodi Burton

Correct.

Brady Viccellio

Only one person to blame.

Alvin Williams

So what happens if there's a bad meal? has that ever happened yet?

Jodi Burton

It doesn't … I can't say that it has.

Brady Viccellio

This is no exception. We've very much enjoyed all of your cooking.

Jodi Burton

Thank you.

Alvin Williams

Excellent. The Wagyu was quite exceptional. A great presentation -- we eat with our eyes first and everything was delicious.

Brady Viccellio

Thank you. You started as a junior chef, as a child. What was the transition from banging around with your mother's pots and pans and a free rein at the grocery store to professional chef? Can you tell me about that transition?

Jodi Burton

Well, I worked on yachts and I actually did the job of three people. I was a stewardess, a first mate and a cook. So as the years progressed, everyone finally decided that my best place was in the galley. So all those jobs led into one. And now I've made a name for myself so that now I'm not only on the yachts, I'm in homes and catering parties and all that.

Brady Viccellio

What do you prefer? Do you like to be on a boat or do you like to be in somebody’s kitchen in a house?

Jodi Burton

Well, I guess I prefer the boat. Because it depends on where you are in someone's home. Sometimes you're out in the open and sometimes that can be messy. You know?

Alvin Williams

How do you get these jobs in the homes? Are they from guests who have been on the boat?

Jodi Burton

Yes.

Alvin Williams

So it's a great networking thing. So Jodi, is this your passion? Are you going to stay here? Or are you going to go on to do something else?

Jodi Burton

Oh, no, this is by far my passion.

Brady Viccellio

What some weird, strange requests that you've gotten from guests?

Jodi Burton

I can't really think of anything.

Alvin Williams

Nothing too strange. Do the guests usually behave?

Jodi Burton

No.

Alvin Williams

Alrighty then.

Brady Viccellio

Can you tell us about celebrities that you've served?

Jodi Burton

Well, technically not supposed to talk about any that.

Alvin Williams

Nobody listens to our podcast anyway. So don't worry. Come on, spill Jodi, spill.

Jodi Burton

Everyone I've dealt with has been fairly pleasant. I've had a lot of basketball celebrities, a few singers.

Brady Viccellio

Anybody ever sung to you?

Jodi Burton

Anyone ever sing to me? No. Lenny Kravitz did speak to my boss's child. He sang to her when she was about two years old, I'd say. That was pretty cool.

Brady Viccellio

That is pretty cool. Lenny Kravitz is known to be one of the coolest guys on the planet.

Alvin Williams

And he also knows how to wreck a hotel room.

Jodi Burton

I did not know that.

Brady Viccellio

Like I said, Lenny Kravitz is known to be one of the coolest guys on the planet.

Alvin Williams

He’s awesome. Yeah, I’d love to meet him someday.

Brady Viccellio

Yeah, I’m really sorry for whoever owned that hotel.

Jodi Burton

I have to say, one that stands out in my mind is Queen Latifah. I was about seven months pregnant onboard a vessel. And she was so sweet to me. Took pictures, was rubbing my belly. Super cute.

Alvin Williams

If you weren't doing this line of work, what do you think you'd be doing? Or are you so stoked to be doing this and this is what you always thought you'd be doing?

Jodi Burton

I guess this is what I always thought I'd be doing. I worked in a little gourmet store in Miami Beach Marina years ago, which is no longer there. But there's a store there, but it used to be much bigger. We used to specialize in gift baskets with all kinds of cheeses and nuts and whatever. We made these gift baskets, and that's kind of how I got into the yachting world. I made some spinach dip and put it out for sale and a captain came in and said this is the best spinach I’ve ever had in my life. Who made it? I said, “I did.” He said, “You have to come work with me.”

Alvin Williams

Awesome. I'm interested to know some of the technical technicalities of working in a galley. Do you get the heat to cook good enough? Are you on a grill? Do you have a hood?

Jodi Burton

The equipment on the vessels is usually very, very good. We do have a grill I have my little portable Weber actually that travels with me because grill not being up to par. But my little Weber is right on.

Brady Viccellio

We've talked about celebrities you've cooked for. Tell me about places where you've cooked.

Jodi Burton

Well, definitely Bahamas. We are all over the Bahamas. I've been all the way down to Puerto Rico and to the Virgin Islands. I've also been all the way up to Maine. So I've cooked all along the way.

Alvin Williams

Is that part of the attraction for you doing this job, the travel?

Jodi Burton

Absolutely, yeah.

Brady Viccellio

Have you ever cooked in Virginia Beach?

Jodi Burton

Yes, sir.

Alvin Williams

Have you really?

Jodi Burton

Yes. On a vessel.

Brady Viccellio

Great. Well let us know…

Alvin Williams

I wonder if we know who's yacht that was on?

Brady Viccellio

It's privileged information.

Alvin Williams

Yes, yes, true.

Brady Viccellio

But we'd love to see you in our restaurants and we'd love to have you in our kitchens.

Alvin Williams

Absolutely. If you’re ever in the neighborhood again, stop by.

Jodi Burton

Okay, that would be awesome.

Alvin Williams

Well, thank you, Jody, you've been a fantastic guest. We've enjoyed your cooking. We appreciate you, Jody, if our listeners want to find you. Where do they do that?

Jodi Burton

You can find me at OnboardwithJodi on Instagram.

Alvin Williams

On board with Jodi. That's pretty good. We'll put a link on our website, which is thecheckpodcast.com. You can find Jodi and where she cooks, what she's been doing and you'll get to see pictures. All right, once again thank you Jodi Burton for being an awesome guest. Appreciate you joining us. I'm Alvin.

Brady Viccellio

And I’m Brady.

Both

And this is The Check.







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