23. Tom Wilfong and Vanessa Safie of Copperpots

Categories: Tastemakers

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Vanessa Safie and Tom Wilfong
New Times' Best of Miami 2013 issue arrives June 13. To celebrate, Short Order is serving up the top 30 tastemakers in the 305. These people have helped shape the Miami food scene into what it is today. We began with number 30 and will lead up to the county's number one. A Q&A session is included in each post.

It's Sunday night. You're perusing the aisles at Publix. Eggs, milk, bread, and peanut butter are all on your list of things to buy. In the peanut butter aisle you struggle between Skippy or Jif. That's when you notice the person next to you struggling between Smuckers varieties. But you don't even bother looking at those, because at home in your refrigerator is a stock pile of Copperpots jams. The mason jars filled with homemade spreadable goodness is far superior to what your Publix aisle counterpart is contemplating. You've got the stuff made with local produce, and expert care, and patience. That's the stuff Tom Wilfong and Vanessa Safie, owners of Copperpots, do for their loyal followers.

Tom Wilfong

The most influential person in my career has been:
When it comes to food, I would have to say Alton Brown. I love the science behind the food. If you follow a recipe, you learn that recipe but if you understand the science behind the recipe you are free to alter and create recipes. Alton Brown brought the science of food to the masses, his shows are not just a talking head walking you through a scripted recipe.

When I'm alone and in need of comfort, (an no one is there to watch or judge) the one food or drink I turn to is:
I don't need comfort like some people need roll up in a ball or fetal position and eat chocolate till you shit brown comfort and I'm not a closet eater. With that said, I think a sandwich would be that food for me.


What does Miami need more of?

Miami needs more innovators and less imitators.

You get to vote one food or beverage trend off the island forever -- what is it?
Bacon. Don't get us wrong. We love a nice juicy piece of swine as much as the next guy, but IT HAS GONE TOO FAR! They are putting bacon on everything even making bacon toothpaste. Its bacon overload!

You have unlimited funds to open a restaurant or bar -- what's the name and what do you serve?
At the moment it would be a brew pub called The Fermented Crock. The menu would revolve around fermented foods and beverages. House made Pickles, Krauts, Beer and Mead would be heavily featured throughout the menu. I think as a society of germaphobes, we will soon be doing a full 180 and get back to the thinking that these little bugs can work for us to process foods, develop flavors, and benefit our health.

Where do you see yourself in five years?
This is one of those questions where I'm supposed to have some sort of profound foreshadowing where we all look back in five years and say "He knew he was going to be great". Well I have none of that. I like to play with food, experiment with different styles and techniques. Who knows what it will be in five years.

Dream dinner party for six: Who (living or dead) are you inviting?
Marilyn Monroe, Janis Joplin, Julia Child, Andrew Zimmern, Anthony Bourdain

Vanessa Safie

The most influential person in my career has been:
Nedal from Pincho Factory because he is never willing to say an idea is too crazy or daring. He has pushed me to believe in our product and our goals.

When I'm alone and in need of comfort, (an no one is there to watch or judge) the one food or drink I turn to is:
A well made juicy cheeseburger

What does Miami need more of?
Business owners who are supportive instead of combative. We live in this tiny snow globe and I would like to see us all pulling each other up instead of pushing each other down.

You get to vote one food or beverage trend off the island forever -- what is it?
Bacon

You have unlimited funds to open a restaurant or bar -- what's the name and what do you serve?
Family House - a restaurant consisting of a bunch of small, intimate dining rooms where with the changing season a new chef comes in and cooks their favorite family recipes.

Where do you see yourself in five years?
Hopefully on a stretch of land that is all mine wondering what to plant for the season with like 6 dogs running around


Dream dinner party for six: Who (living or dead) are you inviting?

Bourdain, Amy Winehouse, Audrey Hepburn, Hillary Clinton, Jay Z, Nadia G.

2013 Tastemakers

30. Allegra Angelo
29. Aaron Brooks
28. Danny Serfer
27. Sam Gorenstein
26. Todd Erickson of Haven Gastro-Lounge
25. Keith Kalmanowicz of Earth N' Us Farm
24. Victoria Nodarse and Aimee Ortega of Spice Galore

Follow Alex on Twitter @ARodWrites.

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