Mandarin Oriental Chefs Cook at James Beard House and Bring Menu Back to Miami

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Carina Ost
Lobster.
The Mandarin Oriental can shine a little brighter in Brickell Key. Azul Chef William Crandall and La Mar by Gastón Acurio Executive Chef Diego Oka hosted a dinner at the James Beard House in New York this past Saturday.

We got a peek into the kitchen of this home turned foundation and exclusive dining venue during prep for this exciting meal. We witnessed the antithesis of chaos as the 6 foot 7 chef Crandall and Oka expertly navigated their way through tight quarters and aimed to bring a taste of Miami along with their own perspective.

For Miamians who always wanted to get a taste of James Beard House level cuisine, you can sample some of the same dishes served until October 20th at the two restaurants in the Mandarin Oriental during dinner service.

See also: La Mar: Peruvian Classics Elevated to Haute Cuisine

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Station 5 Table and Bar: Try the Braised Short Ribs With Cheetos

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Photo by Holly Wachowicz
Station 5 Table and Bar
Serendipity led Julia Ning to Station 5 Table and Bar. Everything just began to fall into place, her sous chef Michael Gierden moved down from Chicago, then she met Eddie and Sharon Torres, the owners. From there, the front of the house and kitchen all just came together effortlessly.

Ning reminisces about the five older women who helped mentor her and shape her as a chef. These women made a strong impression on Ning's life, and many of her creations are attributable to them. Station 5 is named after these women, who taught her Italian, Chinese, Cuban, northern Thai, and French-Canadian dishes. The restaurant is a melting pot of all these different cultures.

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Cindy Hutson on Her New Cookbook: "Vibrant, Colorful, and Ethnic"

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Courtesy of Ortanique on the Mile
Chef Cindy Hutson putting all her memories into a cookbook.
Chef Cindy Hutson has been a major player in the restaurant scene since her 1994 debut, Norma's. In recent years, her Coral Gables favorite, Ortanique on the Mile, has seen continued success while the chef has expanded her reach to the Caymans, the Bahamas, and, soon, to Brickell. The new Southeast Financial Center restaurant, called Zest will serve "cuisine from the sun." The attached Zest Mrkt will offer made-to-order and packaged sandwiches, salads, and a Cuban coffee window.

Zest will also feature a shawarma rotisserie -- think curried lamb or jerked pork with various and delectable aiolis for the perfect wrap or sandwich -- inspired by her travels to Istanbul. Ever expanding her horizons, Hutson is making the move to publishing with her upcoming cookbook From the Tip of My Tongue.

See also: Cindy Hutson Celebrates 15 Years of Ortanique: "It Takes People, Skills, and Fresh Ideas"

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Hannya Opens in Brickell: Larry Chi Continues the Akashi Legacy and Then Some (Photos)

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All photos by Carla Torres
Sashimi variety? Yes, please!
Larry Chi has been working with fish in raw form since his early 20s. His restaurant, Akashi, which opened in 1993 near Sunset Place, was among the first sushi bars in South Miami. Twenty-one years later, it is a landmark of the local culinary scene.

Two decades, two Akashi locations, and one renovation later, Chi has mastered his craft and has now opened the doors to Hannya, bringing sushi, along with some new dishes and Vietnamese brunch, to Brickell.

See also: Hannya Asian Cuisine to Open in Brickell This September

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Fabio Viviani's Siena Tavern Opening in November

Categories: Chef Interviews

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Photo by Laine Doss
Fabio Viviani's Siena Tavern coming soon.
One of the most anticipated restaurants scheduled to open in Miami this fall is Siena Tavern. The restaurant, which hails from Chicago, will open in the old China Grill space, a massive 10,000-square-foot space.

Viviani, who garnered fame from his two seasons on Bravo's Top Chef franchise and whose good looks and charming Italian accent won him the "fan favorite" title on the show's fifth season, is looking forward to actually having Miami fans eat his food.

Right now, Viviani says the restaurant is on track for an early fall opening, far in advance of the teeming masses of tourists and snowbirds that grace Miami Beach's sands. "November 7 or 8 is the official opening right now," he says.

See also: Top Chef's Fabio Viviani Talks Pizza and Plans for Siena Tavern Miami

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Chef Adrianne Calvo: "I've Never Been One to Follow Trends"

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All photos by Carla Torres
It's been seven and a half years since Adrianne Calvo first opened Chef Adrianne's Vineyard Restaurant & Bar and much has changed, both in terms of her culinary development and the industry.

"When I opened we had a similar menu to the one we have now where everything was farm-to-table, organic, and locally sourced produce or grass-fed beef," says the chef. "Everyone told me I was crazy."

See also: Dining in the Dark at Chef Adrianne's: Enlightening!

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Eating House, Broken Shaker Alum Steve Santana Opening Miami Beach Taqueria

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Courtesy of Steve Santana
Taquiza's tortillas.
If you've ever visited the Broken Shaker, Eating House, or become pork-drunk during one of Jeremiah Bullfrog's special events you might've noticed a quiet guy with glasses and short-cropped hair doing some heavy lifting.

His name is Steve Santana, and next month he's opening Taquiza, a pocket-sized Miami Beach taqueria that will serve traditional Mexican fare -- think huitlacoche (a corn fungus), nopales (edible cactus), and squash flowers -- on house nixtamalized and pressed tortillas.

See also: Tiny Taqueria Serves Miami's Most Authentic Carnitas

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Fit to Fight: Chefs Look Back at the Shed Pounds

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All photos by Laine Doss
Miami chefs post-workout at SoBe Kick.
In the beginning of the summer, a dozen Miami chefs entered the Fit to Fight challenge. The challenge, created by Top Chef alum Mike Isabella, started in Washington D.C., where the toque enlisted his Beltway peers to work out and raise over $30,000 for cancer support and research. The challenge was so successful, with 14 chefs losing a combined total of 300 pounds and raising money, Isabella decided to bring it to Miami.

Each Miami chef has committed to raise $1,500 personally to benefit Live To Fight, a non-profit organization that brings together people in the martial arts and mixed martial arts community to raise money and offer additional support for people within that community with life-threatening illnesses. The chefs have also agreed to change their lifestyles, incorporating exercise and healthy eating into hectic schedules that too often involve late nights, rich foods, and a few end-of-shift drinks.

See also: Fit to Fight: Miami Chefs Compete in Weight Loss Challenge for Charity

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Gabriela Machado Launches Paladar Dinner Series

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All photos by Laine Doss
Paladar's Gabriela Machado and Uvaggio chef Bret Pelaggi prep the cheese course.
The whole affair was a little mysterious. An email invite to dinner at an unnamed location by an unnamed chef.

Taking the challenge, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the chef who was returning to the Miami dining scene was none other than Gabriela Machado, the chef behind Copperbox Culinary Atelier, the combination culinary proving ground/pop-up dinner party that the chef hosted from her Wynwood space.

Machado closed Copperbox just when she learned all she could from it, telling Short Order that she the project was a way for her to hone her skills, not only on a culinary level, but business-wise and people-wise.

"I came from Venezuela four years ago without knowing anybody. Copperbox was a studio for me. For me to be a better chef, I needed to have a studio to learn. It was an experiment and a test to learn about Miami and learn about what I needed to know to grow. It was me learning and learning the United States. It developed into something beautiful."

See also: Underground Dining Guide: Kulinary Therapy to Cobaya to Shelley-belly to Copperbox

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Goats and Toasts With Zak the Baker's Sasha Ullman

Categories: Chef Interviews

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Image courtesy Sasha Ullam
Sasha Ullman shucks peas at Zak Stern's Wynwood bakery.
Zak Stern, better known as Zak the Baker, didn't see his Wynwood bakery with a bustling café when he envisioned the place. Then, a line cook at Michy's told him about a woman who was into farming and goats.

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