The food world is changing, suddenly chefs are more like rock-stars and the term celebrity chef is par for the course. Celebrity chefs serving up every buzz term from molecular gastronomy to comfort food call Miami home.
Take a look at Miami’s latest crop of Celebrity Chefs:
Chef: Michael Schwartz
Restaurants: Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink; Harry’s Pizzeria; Restaurant Michael Schwartz at The Raleigh; The Cypress Room
James Beard Award-winning chef/restaurateur Michael Schwartz has been on television on the TODAY Show, CBS Early Show, MARTHA: The Martha Stewart Show, and a guest judge on Top Chef. Nationally he's been in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Food & Wine, and Travel + Leisure. He began his career in Philadelphia, and spent time in kitchens from Los Angeles to New York City. He moved to Miami in the early 1990s and in 2007 he opened the eponymous Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink, in Miami’s Design District in 2007. It was a rousing success, garnering national attention and is still one of the hottest spots to eat in the Design District.
Three years later, he opened an outpost in Grand Cayman. That same year, Schwartz won the James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef: South in 2010. The following year, 2011, proved to be even busier as his first cookbook, Michael’s Genuine Food: Down to Earth Cooking for People Who Love to Eat, was published in February, and Harry’s Pizzeria (named after his son) opened in September. Harry’s Pizzeria marked the third Genuine Hospitality Group restaurant.
A month later, in October 2011, 150 Central Park by Chef Michael Schwartz opened aboard Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas. During 2013, Schwartz announced that he'd be taking over food and beverage operations at Miami Beach's legendary Raleigh Hotel with the opening of Restaurant Michael Schwartz. He also added 150 Central Park by Chef Michael Schwartz aboard Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas and also opened The Cypress Room in the Design District.
Chef: Michelle Bernstein
Restaurants: Michy’s; Crumb on Parchment
An award-winning chef and Emmy-nominated host of Check Please, Michelle Bernstein can do it all. A Miami native of Jewish and Latin descent, this local girl exudes the city’s mix of cultures and flavors. “My food is luxurious but approachable,” says Bernstein. When the Mandarin Oriental Miami was opening they held a nationwide search for their in house restaurant, Azul. She beat out hundreds and in 2001 took the helm of Azul. Esquire magazine’s John Mariani praised her work, calling Azul “the best new restaurant in America.”
Four years later, she and husband David Martinez left Azul to start their own restaurant, dubbing it Michy’s. Her latest venture once again garnered national attention. In 2007, she was awarded the prestigious James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef: South in 2007. Her first cookbook, Cuisine a Latina, was released in 2008. That same year she opened Sra. Martinez in Miami’s Design District, which later closed in July 2012 with Bernstein explaining the reason for the restaurant's closure, "The fact of the matter is we really want to spend more time with our son, Zachary, as well as focus on several new projects in the works that we're very excited about."
In 2009, Michelle Bernstein’s Restaurant opened at the Omphoy Ocean Resort in Palm Beach. For her latest location, Michelle kept it simple with Crumb on Parchment, a sandwich and dessert shop. Miamians instantly fell in love; she’d once again fulfilled a need. All of this while serving as a consultant for Delta, co-hosting for the Food Network’s Melting Pot, making celebrity appearances on Holland America ships and at Macy’s department stores, and developing her own line of cookware for HSN. Miami’s hometown girl is busy indeed!
Chef: Andrew Carmellini
Restaurants: The Dutch
Thanks to annual trips to visit his grandparents in Miami, Andrew Carmellini understands South Florida’s dynamic and ever evolving personality. Early days spent basking in sunshine surrounded by tropical fruit trees in his grandmother’s backyard and time spent with his grandfather who ran the original Surf Club, prepared him to open a Miami Beach outpost of his successful New York restaurant, The Dutch.
But it all began in his hometown of Seven Hills, Ohio where he began cooking in a local Italian restaurant at the ripe old age of fourteen. He went on to college on the east coast and then spent years going back and forth between New York and Europe. Carmellini was the opening sous chef at Le Cirque but in 1998 he opened Café Boulud as chef de cuisine. He spent the next six years there, winning two James Beard Awards and a three-star review from the New York Times. In 2009, he opened Locanda Verde inside Robert DeNiro’s Greenwich Hotel.
Now, this Michelin starred chef has shifted his focus from the Old World to New American cuisine, with The Dutch and The Dutch Miami, located at the W Hotel South Beach. The Dutch Miami has been generating lots of buzz with its eclectic menu featuring everything from short rib mole to Florida red snapper with mussel-ginger sauce.
Chef: Norman Van Aken
Named the “Walt Whitman of American Cuisine” chef Norman Van Aken is internationally known as “the founding father of New World Cuisine.” His dishes are a mix of Latin, Caribbean, Asian, African and American flavors. Van Aken’s Tuyo sits atop Miami Dade College’s Miami Culinary Institute, where Van Aken is the chef and director. He’s also chef and owner of fine dining restaurant NORMAN’s in Grand Lakes, Florida. He is the only Floridian to have been inducted into the prestigious James Beard Foundation's Who's Who of Food and Beverage in America.
In 2006 at Madrid Fusión, Spain's annual international gastronomy summit, Van Aken was honored with Alice Waters, Paul Prudhomme and Mark Miller as a "Founder of the New American Cuisine." Van Aken is the author of five books, including Feast of Sunlight, The Exotic Fruit Book, Norman's New World Cuisine, New World Kitchen and My Key West Kitchen.
With delicious dishes like Brazilian creamy cracked conch chowder, Mongolian barbeque veal chop and pan-cooked fillet of Key West yellowtail there’s no reason not to experience Tuyo.
Chef: Daniel Boulud
Restaurants: db Bistro Moderne at JW Marriott Marquis Miami
James Beard Foundation award winning Chef Daniel Boulud blends traditional French cuisine with the flavors of the American market at the popular db Bistro Moderne located at JW Marriott Marquis Miami. His love for French cuisine started at a young age. Raised on his family’s farm near Lyon, France, Daniel Boulud grew up surrounded by the rhythms of the seasons, the wonders of produce fresh from the fields, and of course, his grandmother’s inspiring home cooking.
His formative years were spent training with several renowned chefs. After two years in Copenhagen, where he worked as a chef, Boulud headed to the United States where he became the chef of The European Commission in Washington, DC. From 1986 to 1992, Boulud served as executive chef at New York’s Le Cirque. Now, Boulud is chef-owner of ten award-winning restaurants and the Feast & Fêtes catering company. Boulud has mastered the culinary scene and is today considered one of America’s leading culinary authorities.
Over the last two decades, Boulud has evolved from a chef to a chef-restaurateur, bringing his artistry to his New York City restaurants including Daniel, Café Boulud, DB Bistro Moderne, Bar Boulud and now, DBGB Kitchen and Bar. Boulud is well known with a restaurant in Palm Beach and Las Vegas. In May 2008, the chef extended his culinary reach internationally to Beijing, China. Boulud and his restaurant management company, The Dinex Group, have also formed a partnership in Vancouver.
It was in November 2010 that he opened db Bistro Moderne in downtown Miami’s five star JW Marriott Marquis Miami. The restaurant’s striking contemporary design and soaring 16-foot ceilings are just as seductive as the welcoming bar and lounge, a street-level dining terrace overlooking the water and two private rooms accommodating up to 60 guests.
Additionally, Boulud is the author of seven cookbooks, the recipient of three James Beard Foundation awards, including Outstanding Chef and Outstanding Restaurateur and was named a Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur by the French government, as well as Chef of the Year 2011 by The Culinary Institute of America. He has created three seasons of his “After Hours with Daniel” television series.
Chef: Jeff McInnis
Restaurants: Formerly of Yardbird Southern Table & Bar
Jeff McInnis first came on our radar screen in 2008 competing on Top Chef Miami. His good looks and charm caught everyone’s attention but his talent kept him on everyone’s lips. McInnis, like most culinary talents, began his career early; he was cooking on the line at 16.
McInnis’ career took on new flavors while he was living in St. John in the Virgin Islands and working at Asolare. After that gig, he moved on to Azie in San Francisco and then Keswick Hall in rural Virginia.
In 2004, McInnis returned his home state of Florida and worked with Chef Norman Van Aken. He then honed his skills as Chef de Cuisine at The DiLido at the Ritz South Beach. But it was in 2010, with his turn as Executive Chef of Gigi in Miami’s Midtown neighborhood, where the public was exposed first hand to McInnis’ talents.
In 2011, he launched Yardbird Southern Table & Bar in Miami Beach. The restaurant marks a return to his Southern roots and has already garnered national attention. McInnis made a name for himself as head chef, serving classic and refined Southern cuisine. The restaurant was named one of Bon Appétit’s 50 Best New Restaurants of 2012 and was a semi-finalist for the James Beard Foundation Awards’ Best New Restaurant 2012 category and a finalist for the same award in 2013.
In July 2013, it was announced that McInnis departed the restaurant. He told the Miami New Times that the reason he left was "to get back to why I fell in love with this industry in the first place.”
We’re keeping our culinary radar on McInnis and excited to see what new ventures will be added to his list of accolades.
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