Dewey LoSasso on AQ by Acqualina: "Right Now, I'm Doing Some Research"

Courtesy of AQ by Acqualina
Dewey LoSasso launches AQ.
When Dewey LoSasso was named Acqualina's executive chef in December 2013, he was taking time to get the feel of the resort before making major changes to the menus. He told Short Order: "Right now, I'm doing some research, and then we'll start testing some menu items after Christmas and New Year's. I'm thinking, maybe, Hamptons-meets-Miami."

Now the talented chef is ready to introduce new dishes and an entirely new restaurant with the opening of AQ by Acqualina, located inside the resort that has earned both the
2013 Forbes' Travel Guide Five Star and the 2013 AAA Five Diamond.

See also: Dewey LoSasso Named Acqualina Resort & Spa's Executive Chef

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Jamie DeRosa on Tongue & Cheek's First Anniversary

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Tongue & Cheek turns one.
On April 15, Tongue & Cheek, the playful South of Fifth restaurant by chef Jamie DeRosa, will celebrate its first anniversary. Truthfully, it seems like the restaurant has been around a lot longer.

During its brief existence, chef/owner Jamie DeRosa has attracted a faithful clientele of locals -- along with a respectable list of celebrity chefs including Geoffrey Zakarian, Masaharu Morimoto, and Norman Van Aken. He's also run a successful dinner series, Kitchen Collab, where DeRosa partners with other chefs including Lindsay Autry, Robert Irvine, and Van Aken, and has won a host of awards, including a Best of Miami nod for Best Bar Program in 2013.

See also: At South Beach's Tongue & Cheek, Jamie DeRosa Gets Frisky

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Oscar Manresa on Perfecto: "Everything on the Menu... I Would Serve in Barcelona"

Categories: Chef Interviews

Courtesy of Oscar Manresa
Oscar Manresa.
"Everything on the menu at Perfecto, I would serve in Barcelona," chef-restaurateur Oscar Manresa says. Case in point: Both of the striking anchovy dishes proffered at Perfecto can also be ordered at Casa Guinart, Manresa's casual eatery inside Barcelona's storied market La Boqueria. The pickled boquerones marinate for a day in white wine vinegar and are less salty than the cured anchovies from the Cantabrian Sea. In Spain, a popular menu item combines the two varieties to create what Manresa refers to as a "marriage."

He should know, because in his native Catalonia, Manresa helms more than a handful of popular dining spots. They run the gamut from the upscale Torre d'Alta Mar, situated atop a cable tower in the old port, to 99% Moto Bar, a laid-back affair inside a Harley-Davidson store.

See also: Perfecto in Brickell Gets It Right With Tapas and a Snappy DJ

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Taperia Raca Opens Friday: Giorgio Rapicavoli Tells Us What to Expect

Giorgio Rapicavoli/Facebook
Taperia Raca will open Friday, and that's no bull.
Taperia Raca opens this Friday, bringing chef Giorgio Rapicavoli's spin on Spanish small plates to MiMo.

The restaurant, the second endeavor from Rapicavoli and business partner Alex Casanova, will seat only 16 people inside, but an outdoor garden will serve 40 guests. Rapicavoli will split his time between Eating House in Coral Gables and this new spot, aided by chef de cuisine Ryan Harrison, previously of Preservation in Sunny Isles. Adriana Egozcue, already in charge of lunch service, will take over as chef de cuisine at Eating House.

We asked Giorgio Rapicavoli the impetus behind the new concept and what diners can expect from it.

See also: Giorgio Rapicavoli to Open Taperia Raca in MiMo

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Miami Restaurateurs Weigh in on Central Florida Restaurant's Obamacare Surcharge

Bill Wisser
Miami chefs, including Michael Schwartz, weigh in on an Obamacare surcharge.
Gator's Dockside, a restaurant group in Lake Mary, Florida, has gotten a lot of press lately. It seems the corporate-owned restaurants are charging a 1 percent Affordable Care Act surcharge to compensate for the restaurants' additional costs associated with providing health care to their full-time employees when Obamacare's employer mandate begins in 2015. The additional monies collected are shown on a diner's check as a separate line item called "ACA Surcharge."

According to CNN, Gator's Dockside employs 500 people, with about half working full-time. Currently, only management receives health care, but the restaurant must offer benefits to all full-time employees once the Obamacare mandate goes into effect. The fee will allow the company to continue offering full-time hours to workers instead of cutting back hours or laying off employees, according to Sandra Clark, the group's director of operations.

But is adding a surcharge to a diner's check the best way to recoup some of the costs involved with offering health insurance to employees? Granted, Obamacare will raise the cost of doing business in the restaurant industry, but will it do the same to every small business in the United States? Should we then see surcharges with our dry cleaning or when we get our teeth cleaned? And could Miamians ever see an Obamacare surcharge at local restaurants?

We asked several Miami restaurateurs and chefs to weigh in on how they feel about an Obamacare surcharge. The answers are passionate and thought-provoking.

See also Florida Restaurant Chain Charging Obamacare Surcharge

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Nina Compton on Life After Top Chef

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Laine Doss
Nina Compton: The gnocci queen dishes about Top Chef.
If you're a fan of Top Chef (or of Miami's Nina Compton), you probably watched a bit smugly for Padma Lakshmi's pronouncement of the winner of this season, only to be in complete shock and denial when Nicholas Elmi was declared victorious.

No doubt, all of Miami (and Saint Lucia) had thoughts of packing their knives and stabbing the gorgeous Lakshmi -- until Bravo's Andy Cohen made everything better a half-hour later on his late-night talker by declaring that Nina Compton won the title of fan favorite.

Now that the craziness has subsided and Compton is back in the Scarpetta kitchen, we chatted with her about how she felt when the decision came down, winning fan favorite, and what's next for the talented chef.

See also: Nina Compton, Top Toque

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Raw Guru Matthew Kenney on His Upcoming Wynwood Restaurant and Culinary Academy

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Matthew Kenney is a leading raw food chef
Matthew Kenney recently visited five countries in the span of a week. It was an educational trip for the American chef, and Kenney's eager to put his unique spin on the knowledge he's accumulated.

One of his stops was in Denmark, as Copenhagen is home to some of the world's most innovative chefs, including René Redzepi of Noma. Like the Danish trailblazer, Kenney is similarly pioneering. In the world of high-end raw cuisine, he is widely considered the uncontested leader.

Since becoming completely vegan ten years ago, Kenney has committed himself to changing the way people view and consume plant-based foods. He does this through his speaking engagements, cookbooks, restaurants, and the Matthew Kenney Academy. Founded in 2009, the progressive raw food culinary school has locations in Maine and Santa Monica.

See also: Foraging, South Florida Style

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SushiSamba Hires New Chef David Sears, Makes Changes To Lunch Menu

All Photos by Kareem Shaker
Within five minutes of starting a conversation with any chef, you can tell how he or she views the craft. New executive chef at SushiSamba David Sears views cooking as a spiritual exercise and an art form.

"You have to remember, something died for you to be able to create art," said Sears. "As chefs, we're lucky because we get to create art that stimulates all five senses. Its not just about sustenance, you have to respect the food."

Sears has nearly 15 years of experience, most recently with Temple Orange at the Ritz-Carlton West Palm Beach. A graduate of Miami's Johnson & Wales University, Sears has held positions in a number of top-rated hotels across the country, serving as chef de cuisine of Café MoZu in the Mandarin Oriental in Washington, D.C.; executive chef at Bull & Bear Restaurant in the Waldolf Astoria hotel in Orlando; and executive sous chef of Terranea Resorts in Rancho Palos Verde, California.

"I'm always learning, it's a never ending journey," said Sears. "Grandma once told me to never to get too big for your bridges, that's when your journey ends."

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Timon Balloo Talks Negronis, Italy, and Bocce Bar

Categories: Chef Interviews

Bocce Bar executive chef Timon Balloo
At Bocce Bar, Timon Balloo doesn't replicate Italian dishes. "My goal wasn't to see a recipe and repeat it, but to learn about the culture behind it," he explains.

Before opening the two-month-old restaurant in midtown, he took two research trips to Italy. There, he explored markets, ate copious amounts of pasta, and marveled at the country's food.

See also: Bocce Bar Is Midtown's New Italian Darling

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Michael Mina's Five Favorite Restaurants in Miami

Categories: Chef Interviews

Courtesy Michael Mina
Michael Mina
To say Michael Mina knows good food is an understatement. Last year, the Egyptian-born chef was named to the James Beard Foundation's Who's Who of Food and Beverage in America. He owns 20 restaurants across the nation, including the Michelin-starred Michael Mina in San Francisco.

His empire encompasses two spots in Miami -- Bourbon Steak in Aventura and Michael Mina 74 at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach.

When he travels here from California, he visits his favorite restaurants in town. Here are his top picks.

See also: Blackbrick in Midtown Serves the Chinese Food You've Been Waiting For

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