Derrick “Chef Teach” Turton of World Famous House of Mac has entered a new savory chapter.
After running a successful food truck for four years, Chef Teach, a celebrity favorite, has officially set up shop in a second location, located in Downtown Miami’s new food hub, Central Fare in Virgin MiamiCentral station. Teach partnered with former Carolina Panthers’ defensive end, Charles Johnson for his latest culinary endeavor.
Die-hard fans who frequent World Famous House of Mac’s other location (a restaurant in Overtown with a buoyant vibe) as well as commuters who stopped by for impromptu comfort food delights lined up to get their share at the new location’s grand opening the first week of July. Items on the menu include vegan mac and cheese, the five cheese truffle mac and cheese, lobster mac and cheese and jerk chicken mac and cheese. Teach, known for his creative spin on traditional southern cuisine infused with Caribbean flair, was inspired by his Trinidadian roots when he sought out to create the menu.
The restaurant’s official opening day is July 14.
Teach, who got his nickname from childhood because he used to wear glasses and was teased for looking like a teacher (this was before he had lasik surgery), says the nickname that started as a joke has stuck for many years.
The Brooklyn-raised, culinary-trained chef didn’t always know he would take Miami’s dining scene to new heights when he moved from New York in 1998. Teach worked in the music industry for several years, where he managed and helped to spearhead the success of entertainers such as Pitbull (he was Pitbull’s manager for over 15 years), while working alongside other artists. It took some cajoling however, to get Teach to take his passion for food and cooking more seriously.
Oftentimes, during music studio sessions, the artists Teach worked with would request his cooking.
“My artists used to have food budgets for studio time. If the studio had a kitchen, they would ask me to cook. My artists inspired me. Bun B sat me down one day and was like, ‘You need to take this more seriously. You really got something here,’” said Teach.
It was also when Teach’s father died in 2013 that he felt compelled to do something meaningful with his life.
“When my father died, even though I was part of multi-million brands, I didn’t own anything. I wanted to start focusing on building my legacy. I always cooked recreationally and therapeutically,” Teach said.
His zeal for food and affable demeanor seems to resonate with his customers and may even be the reason why they keep going back. Teach periodically leaves the kitchen to greet and check on his guests dining in and even those with take-out bags. His customers, of course, stop him when he’s on his way back to the kitchen to gush over his cuisine.
Marie Popot, a Miami-Dade resident who was at the eatery in Central Fare while on her lunch break said she had been there just a few days before. It wasn’t just the food why she returned. Popot had ordered the five cheese truffle mac and cheese and orange pepper wings.
“I was here on Friday and it is Wednesday. I came back because of the good combination of spice and seasoning but also the owner is so nice, professional and has great customer service,” she said. “I brought two people with me when I came on Friday and sent two here who came without me. Customer service is very important to me.”
Teach’s staff also say they enjoy working at the World Famous House of Mac. Barry “Bear” Prophet, one of the cooks, used to work at a five-star restaurant in the Brickell area of Miami. Prophet has been working with World Famous House of Mac since February.
“I like the ambition behind the dream and the story behind it. I’ve been cooking for 13 years,” said Prophet.
David Rodriguez, a Miami native who ordered the Smoked BBQ beef mac and cheese for the first time said he will keep going back for more.
“The food is exquisitely delicious. It’s so freakin’ emulsified in the cheeses. I will be coming again,” he said.
Celebrities also can’t get enough of World Famous House of Mac’s delectable dishes. Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson, actress Gabrielle Union-Wade, basketball star Dwyane Wade, tennis champions Serena and Venus Williams, and rap artists Bun B and Trick Daddy are just some of the celebrities who have made Teach a go-to when it comes to satiating their comfort food appetite.
Teach said he’s always been a forward-thinker and has more in the works for World Famous House of Mac. He plans on expanding the seating area for the Overtown location. Teach also wants to eventually expand to other areas. “Expansion is definitely in my sights. I do want to preserve the integrity of the brand,” he said.
Teach is also happy that he has a family-owned business.
“My wife is my general manager and this is my son’s first job,” he said. “I’m working toward building the legacy.”
Soul food and mac-and-cheese lovers alike can look forward to a buy-one, get-one-free day from World Famous House of Mac on July 14 for National Mac and Cheese Day. It is located at 600 NW First Ave. and open 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. Monday - Friday.