Chef Cooper Miller is the proud owner of Forklift Restaurant in Tupelo, Mississippi. His culinary journey began in Atlanta, where he attended culinary school at Le Cordon Bleu, spending a decade perfecting his skills. The birth of his daughter prompted a return to Mississippi and to his surprise, he discovered a family legacy in the culinary world as his grandmother once owned local restaurants in Amory, near Tupelo.
With an evident passion for cooking, Miller set out to bring a taste of the big city to his small hometown. At Forklift Restaurant, he and his team craft nearly everything from scratch, aiming to provide the freshest and finest dining experience possible. Throughout his career, Miller has faced highs and lows but remains resolute in his culinary pursuit, despite the sacrifices his family endures due to the demanding hours. He’s determined to continue until his body says otherwise, unwavering in his love for the culinary arts.
At Mississippi Chef Jam during the 2023 Atlanta Food & Wine Festival, Miller unveiled his unique twist on the classic bagel and lox dish. Sticking to his made-from-scratch philosophy, the recipe featured beet-cured salmon, smoked trout roe, and crispy capers.
Cook Like Chef Cooper Miller: Beet-Cured Salmon
14 ounces beetroot
1 cup salt
⅔ cup sugar
2 ounces gin
2 pounds center-cut salmon
Whipped dill cream cheese
Red onion, diced
Smoked trout roe
For the salmon:
- Cure the salmon: In a food processor, combine beetroot, salt, sugar, and gin; blitz until smooth.
- Place salmon in a container with a lid that fits salmon snugly. Line container with two large sheets of cling wrap, overlapping and perpendicular like a cross. Make sure sheets are large enough to fully enclose the salmon once wrapped. Spread beetroot mixture onto cling wrap, and place salmon on top, flesh side down. Press down lightly to ensure flesh is fully in contact with beetroot mixture. Wrap salmon completely in cling wrap, cover, and refrigerate for 48 hours.
- Unwrap salmon, discarding beetroot mixture, and rinse to remove salt and beetroot mix. Pat dry. In a clean container, rest salmon in the refrigerator at least 12 and preferably 24 hours.
- To serve: When ready to serve, slice salmon thinly and serve with cream cheese, bagel tuile, microgreens, diced red onion, capers, and smoked trout roe.
Video and edit by: Ed Foose
Production by: Maggie Ward
Location: Kimpton Shane Hotel