Fontainebleau's Bakery and Chocolate Factory: Golden Ticket to Miami's Wonkavilla

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All photos by Laine Doss
Executive pastry chef Jordi Panisello takes us inside Miami's own Wonkaville.
A lot has changed at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach since its opening in 1954. The hotel has undergone renovations and upgrades, but some things remain constant: the resort has always been the most lavish playground on Miami's famed stretch of beach and the resort has always had a coffee and patisserie shop for its guests.

Chez Bon Bon, which opened about a month ago in the former Solo space, continues this tradition of offering a sweet treat and a caffeinated pick-me-up to hotel guests and locals alike.

See also: King Crab City: Inside the Fontainebleau's "Water World"

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Fit to Fight: Chefs Look Back at the Shed Pounds

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

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

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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Patpong Road Celebrates One Year With Free Drinks This Saturday

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Photo by Laine Doss
Don't have plans for Saturday night? Patpong Road, the bar founded by restaurant group 50 Eggs and located above Khong River House, is celebrating its first anniversary with free well and signature Laidee drinks till midnight. Laidee drinks come in a cool plastic bag and mix the Chinese spirit Bye Joe with tropical juices and fruit. The weekend is looking up all of a sudden.

John Kunkel is a man of many restaurants, but Patpong Road was his first foray into the wonderful world of cocktails. Inspired by his travels to Bangkok and its notorious red-light district, Patpong Road has been a favorite among locals this past year. In fact, it was New Times' choice for best new bar.

We chatted with Kunkel about Patpong's first year and its future.

See also: Better Days in Brickell: '70s Playboy Mags and Ouija

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Can National Hotel Chef Gaston Sanchez Match SLS, Delano, Ritz?

The National Hotel, a Miami Beach landmark, has undergone a $12 million renovation that promises to bring the property up to par with neighbors that include the Delano, SLS, and Ritz-Carlton.

Part of the renovation includes the hiring of Gastón Sánchez as executive chef of the hotel. Sánchez is tasked with overseeing all of the National's culinary operations, including Tamara Bistro, Aqua Bar & Grill, the Blues Bar, and all in-room dining and catering.

See also: Vagabond Hotel Opens Today; Restaurant Coming in October

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For Miami Restaurants, No Such Thing as a Slow Summer Anymore

Alex Markow
Crowds fill the streets during August art walk.
It appears there is no place left to hide.

Lincoln Road in mid-August is flooded with throngs of tourists who require you to have both twinkle toes and ankle-breaking jukes just to get to Shake Shack. Brickell is slammed, even though few restaurants in the area are worth your time. And despite the fact that most of Wynwood's best art galleries snub art walk, NW Second Avenue this past Saturday was as clogged as ever and the restaurants were packed.

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"They Just Didn't Sell:" Richard Hales' Struggle to Keep Blackbrick an Authentic Chinese Eatery

Courtesy of Richard Hales
Miami, Y U no like stir-fried tripe?
There's little doubt Miami's dining ecosystem has expanded and improved by light years in only a decade or two. Chef-driven concepts and smartly sourced ingredients aren't as pervasive as many would like, but they're here and thriving.

However, gastropubs continue reproducing like rabbits. Miami diners still annoyingly cling to lowest-common-denominator dishes -- salt, fat, and starch bombs -- that people ogle and share on social media.

See also: Blackbrick Named One of Bon Appetit's Top 50 New Restaurants

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La Bottega in Coconut Grove: Igor Ferraro's Homemade Squid Ink Pasta and Basil Gelato

Categories: Chef Interviews

All photos by Carla Torres
Igor Ferraro, chef and owner of La Bottega in Coconut Grove, hasn't quite adapted to U.S. culture yet. "It is very different here," he says. "I guess I am more old-school Italian." Originally from Venice, Ferraro founded, operated, and sold several businesses in Italy before making his way to America -- first to California and then to Miami. "This is closer to Italy for my wife and kids to be able to go back and forth. Besides, I got this great chance to do something I love here with La Bottega. So why not?"

The chef cooks from the heart and makes small batches of everything from scratch daily. Short Order had the chance to get a taste of La Bottega a couple of months ago at the Coconut Grove Dish Crawl. Because it was the last destination of the evening and Ferraro had been expecting crawl guests an hour earlier, pasta had been made to order and then was reheated. In kitchen talk, this is no bueno. Chef Ferraro invited Short Order back for a second round and a chance to get up close and personal with his food.

See also: Vegetarian and Vegan Guide to Miami Spice 2014

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Azul's William Crandall Fuses French, Asian Influences With German Heritage on New Menu

All photos by Carla Torres
Tuna poke appetizer from Chef William Crandall of Azul.
The upscale restaurant inside Brickell Key's Mandarin Oriental, has been helmed by many top toques. Michelle Bernstein, Clay Conley, Joel Huff and Jacob Anaya have all led the kitchen of Azul at some point since its inception. A sudden closure last year during the hotel's renovation period had many speculating whether the fine dining restaurant was going to reopen at all.

But it did so in April with a new look, new menu, and new chef. Previous sous chef William Crandall has stepped up to the plate as executive chef after being with the company for three years. Short Order was invited to get a taste of Crandall's new menu that's steered by French technique and Asian influences.

See also: At La Mar, Peruvian Classics Are Elevated to Haute Cuisine

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