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Learn How to Make Real Tamales from Executive Chef Samantha Cruz

Tamales by Chef Samantha Cruz Rum Room Miami Beach
Photos Credit: Rum Room Miami Beach

In December, during the holiday season, it is common for families in South Florida to celebrate by coming together to make tamales. This tradition of making tamales for the Christmas holidays has been passed down through many cultures for decades.

Chef Samantha Cruz, Executive Chef from the Rum Room Miami, opening in January 2023, is no stranger to this holiday favorite. Cruz, a prior Chef de Cuisine at PLANTA in Miami Beach and leading chef at events like Super Bowl LIV, Miami Open, and Art Basel Miami Beach, shares her favorite recipe for this beloved dish.

Learn How to Make Real Tamales from Executive Chef Samantha Cruz

“Tamales have always been a holiday tradition in my family. I can still remember being a little girl at family gatherings and seeing the pot of boiling tamales on my grandmother’s stovetop, with everyone crowded around it. The steam that fills the air when you cut open a tamale is something I’ll never forget – it makes the room feel warm and cozy. Everyone in my family has their own preference for how they like to eat their tamales – there’s always a big debate about what kind of protein to put inside and whether or not to add ketchup. I love how we serve tamales at the Rum Room with truffle aioli and spicy guava ketchup. There’s also a version called “Tamal en Casuela” which is like a thick soup or porridge made with corn and the same ingredients as a traditional tamale. Regardless of how you choose to enjoy them, tamales are a staple in Latin culture. There’s something special about making and eating them with family – it’s a love language that can only be experienced firsthand.” – Chef Samantha Cruz, Executive Chef Rum Room by Sodexo Live!

Find Chef Samanta Cruz’s tamales recipe here.

The Rum Room is an approximately 60 indoor and outdoor seat restaurant with Old World, tropical 1920s Florida decor, and an upscale menu that draws on Florida’s history and Miami’s Haitian, Latin, and Central American influences. Led by Executive Chef Samantha Cruz – who has 12 years experience in fine dining and sports entertainment hospitality – dishes are made with indigenous Florida ingredients like local corn, Florida River Gold potatoes, and other produce or spices found in Redlands farms and farmers markets, as well as typical Spanish ingredients like beans and sofrito, a byproduct of Spaniards passing through Miami Beach in the early 20th century. Also drawing on history, cocktails will be made with Miami Club Rum, the first distilled rum in Miami, and a collection of other high-end spirits. Guests can pair those rum cocktails with inspired menu highlights like jamón Serrano croquetas and black truffle corn tamales that are cut and plated tableside.

Restored to its former glory and soon to reopen.

Rum Room Miami Beach
2100 Washington Ave Miami Beach, FL 33139

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Tamales Recipe – Chef Samantha Cruz, Executive Chef at Rum Room Miami Beach

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