1. Michael Schwartz: Genuine Culinary Genius

Categories: Food All-Stars

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New Times' Best of Miami 2014 issue is here. To celebrate, Short Order is paying tribute to Miami's culinary all-stars. These people forged our city's food scene into what it is today -- a thriving amalgam of tastes and cultures. Through their insight and talent, they've given the city a unique flavor and paved the way for bright new chefs and restaurateurs to follow their lead and take the Miami food scene into the future.

Michael Schwartz simply and genuinely, earned his number one status on our countdown. The James Beard award-winning chef has put Miami on the culinary map by serving honest food that respects both the source of the produce and proteins and the patrons who come back time and again.

See also: Michael Schwartz Talks Work, Home Brew, and What's Ahead For Miami

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2. Myles Chefetz: The King of South Beach

Categories: Food All-Stars

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Courtesy of WorldRedEye
Myles Chefetz
New Times' Best of Miami 2014 issue is here. To celebrate, Short Order is paying tribute to Miami's culinary all-stars. These people forged our city's food scene into what it is today -- a thriving amalgam of tastes and cultures. Through their insight and talent, they've given the city a unique flavor and paved the way for bright new chefs and restaurateurs to follow their lead and take the Miami food scene into the future.

Myles Chefetz is a prisoner of his own success. Throughout the day, his cell phone buzzes with friends and acquaintances begging for a seat inside his celebrity-powered steakhouse Prime One Twelve. He never turns anyone down, but knows they'll have to wait at least an hour for a seat.

See also: Prime Fish: Myles Chefetz's Newest Is Destined to Be a Winner

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3. Michelle Bernstein: Miami's Culinary Darling

Categories: Food All-Stars

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Photo by Michael Pisarri
New Times' Best of Miami 2014 issue is here. To celebrate, Short Order is paying tribute to Miami's culinary all-stars. These people forged our city's food scene into what it is today -- a thriving amalgam of tastes and cultures. Through their insight and talent, they've given the city a unique flavor and paved the way for bright new chefs and restaurateurs to follow their lead and take the Miami food scene into the future.

Michelle Bernstein not only embodies the heart and soul of Miami cuisine, she embodies Miami itself. Like her native city, the chef is beautiful and sunny, but there's substance there, too.

Bernstein, a former ballerina and Johnson & Wales University graduate, worked with some of the best chefs in the business like Mark Militello and Jean Louis Palladin before capturing national attention in the late 1990s as executive chef of Tantra on Miami Beach, then as the top toque at Azul at the Mandarin Oriental Miami, where Esquire magazine's food critic dubbed it the "Best New Restaurant in America."

See also: Michelle Bernstein to Open Restaurant at Thompson Miami Beach Hotel

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4. Douglas Rodriguez: Pioneer of Pan-American Cuisine

Categories: Food All-Stars

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New Times' Best of Miami 2014 issue arrives June 19. To celebrate, Short Order is paying tribute to Miami's culinary all-stars. These people forged our city's food scene into what it is today -- a thriving amalgam of tastes and cultures. Through their insight and talent, they've given the city a unique flavor and paved the way for bright new chefs and restaurateurs to follow their lead and take the Miami food scene into the future.

Like many chefs, Douglas Rodriguez has had a roller coaster ride of a career. Through all the openings and closings, TV fame, and accolades, Rodriguez maintains his title as the "Godfather of Nuevo Latino Cuisine." The son of Cuban immigrants, Rodriguez was raised in Miami, fully immersed in Cuban-American cuisine. After perfecting his skills at Johnson and Wales University in Providence, R.I., he exploded onto the dining scene in 1989 with Yuca, the Coral Gables spot regarded as South Florida's original upscale Cuban restaurant.

At Yuca (an acronym for Young Urban Cuban-Americans), Rodriguez gave locals a first taste of "Nuevo Latino" eating, a combination of traditional Latin ingredients and South, Central, and North American cooking. By pioneering this practice, Rodriguez quickly became the most celebrated chef in Miami, winning "Chef of the Year, Miami" award from The Chefs of America. Rodriguez took his talents to New York in 1994, where he opened restaurants Patria and Chicama, a Peruvian ceviche bar, along with Pipa, a tapas bar. He received the 1996 James Beard Foundation's Rising Star Chef of the Year Award, and in 1998 was awarded an honorary doctorate from Johnson and Wales University. Rodriguez was nominated again by the James Beard Foundation for Best Chef South Florida in 2008 and 2009.

See also: Hennessy Celebrates Latin Music, Culture With Help From Artist Miguel Paredes and Chef Douglas Rodriguez

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5. Felipe Valls: From Santiago de Cuba to Versailles

Categories: Food All-Stars

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Courtesy of Versailles
Felipe Valls (right).
New Times' Best of Miami 2014 issue arrives June 19. To celebrate, Short Order is paying tribute to Miami's culinary all-stars. These people forged our city's food scene into what it is today -- a thriving amalgam of tastes and cultures. Through their insight and talent, they've given the city a unique flavor and paved the way for bright new chefs and restaurateurs to follow their lead and take the Miami food scene into the future.

Versailles Cuban Restaurant is a dose of unselfconscious camp. Walk through its doors and you'll be struck with imitation boiserie, frosted mirrors and fake chandeliers as far as the eye can see. But no, this isn't Kimye's rehearsal dinner -- it's the epicenter of Cuban cuisine in Miami. Here, the talk among aging Cuban exiles tends to flare up with wild gesticulations, as tourists snap photos of the most famous dining spot in Calle Ocho. Though it's faced a few hurdles recently, including a lawsuit filed by former employees, the restaurant remains an iconic Miami destination. Even more common than the out-of-towners crowding Valls' establishment are the regulars, some of whom have been stopping in for cafecito and conversation for decades.

See also: Versailles: 40 Years of Politics, Cafe Cubano and La Vida del Exilio

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6. Stephen Sawitz: Stone Crab Legacy

Categories: Food All-Stars

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New Times' Best of Miami 2014 issue arrives June 19. To celebrate, Short Order is paying tribute to Miami's culinary all-stars. These people forged our city's food scene into what it is today -- a thriving amalgam of tastes and cultures. Through their insight and talent, they've given the city a unique flavor and paved the way for bright new chefs and restaurateurs to follow their lead and take the Miami food scene into the future.

Joe's Stone Crab is known the world over. Presidents, celebrities, and heads of state have dined at Joe's. Two percenters fly in for a quick dinner; people without jets have stone crabs flown to them. The restaurant is the scene of countless birthdays, anniversaries, engagements, and other celebrations. So what makes Joe's so special?

It could be the longevity. In a world where so many things lack substance and history, Joe's Stone Crab has been around longer than just about anyone on the planet. The restaurant, which recently celebrated its centennial, started as a lunch counter on Miami Beach.

See also: Yardbird, Michael's, Joe's Make The Daily Meal's List of 101 Best Restaurants in America

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7. Allen Susser: Mango Magnate

Categories: Food All-Stars

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Chef Allen Susser
New Times' Best of Miami 2014 issue arrives June 19. To celebrate, Short Order is paying tribute to Miami's culinary all-stars. These people forged our city's food scene into what it is today -- a thriving amalgam of tastes and cultures. Through their insight and talent, they've given the city a unique flavor and paved the way for bright new chefs and restaurateurs to follow their lead and take the Miami food scene into the future.

"Chef Allen" Susser gained national attention as part of Florida's Mango Gang, a quartet of chefs that included Susser, Douglas Rodriguez, Norman Van Aken, and Mark Militello who celebrated Miami's local bounty and put "Florida cuisine" on the map. Susser was instrumental in changing the way Miami restaurateurs cooked meals and how diners ate. Now, instead of replicating heavy meals from the Northeast, chefs were working with tropical fruits and freshly caught seafood.

In 1986, Susser opened Chef Allen's, which was an immediate hit. In 1991, Food and Wine Magazine named the talented chef one of the top ten new chefs in America and the New York Times called Susser, the "Ponce de Leon of New Floridian cooking." In 1994, he won the coveted James Beard Foundation's Best Chef Award 1994, Southeast region. After writing several books and consulting on various boards including (naturally) the National Mango Board, Susser closed Chef Allen's in 2011 after 25 years of service.

See also: Susser Leads Charity Dinners for Japan

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8. Bacardi: Spirited Family

Categories: Food All-Stars

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Courtesy of Bacardi
Facundo Bacardi and Robert Furniss-Roe.
New Times' Best of Miami 2014 issue arrives June 19. To celebrate, Short Order is paying tribute to Miami's culinary all-stars. These people forged our city's food scene into what it is today -- a thriving amalgam of tastes and cultures. Through their insight and talent, they've given the city a unique flavor and paved the way for bright new chefs and restaurateurs to follow their lead and take the Miami food scene into the future.

In 1862, Don Facundo Bacardí Massó purchased a small distillery in Santiago de Cuba with bats living in the rafters. The bat, a symbol of good health, and good fortune, became the company's symbol and the rum was prized for being smooth-bodied -- a rarity compared to the usual harsh "ron" found in Cuba.

The distillery became a favorite with American soldiers when, celebrating a victory in the Spanish-American war, asked for Coca-Cola and Bacardi, toasting to a free Cuba with the first Cuba Libre.

See also: Legacy of the Cocktails Showcase: Bacardi Prepares for Its 150th Anniversary

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9. Lee Brian Schrager: Miami's Culinary Showman

Categories: Food All-Stars

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New Times' Best of Miami 2014 issue arrives June 19. To celebrate, Short Order is paying tribute to Miami's culinary all-stars. These people forged our city's food scene into what it is today -- a thriving amalgam of tastes and cultures. Through their insight and talent, they've given the city a unique flavor and paved the way for bright new chefs and restaurateurs to follow their lead and take the Miami food scene into the future.

Miami has hundreds of food and drink festivals celebrating everything from beer to chocolate to the mango. But none are a spectacularly opulent and massive as the South Beach Wine & Food Festival. But how did a simple university fundraiser turn into one of the world's largest fetes, with foodies and big-name stars of the culinary stratosphere cavorting on Miami Beach's sands annually? Three words: Lee Brian Schrager.

The vice president of corporate communications and national events at Southern Wine & Spirits of America Inc., is the driving force behind the multi-day wine and food extravaganza. Each year, Schrager mixes it up with new events and favorites like Burger Bash.

Now heading into its 14th year, the festival attracts over 64,000 people annually, who come for the wine, the food, and the chance to mingle with their favorite chefs and television personalities. With all this growth, Schrager has kept close ties with Florida International University, with hospitality students cooking alongside the likes of Geoffrey Zakarian and Bobby Flay. The festival continues to be a fundraiser for the school.

See also: Our coverage of the 2014 South Beach Wine & Food Festival

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10. Norman Van Aken: The Father of Fusion

Categories: Food All-Stars

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Courtesy of Norman Van Aken
New Times' Best of Miami 2014 issue arrives June 19. To celebrate, Short Order is paying tribute to Miami's culinary all-stars. These people forged our city's food scene into what it is today -- a thriving amalgam of tastes and cultures. Through their insight and talent, they've given the city a unique flavor and paved the way for bright new chefs and restaurateurs to follow their lead and take the Miami food scene into the future.

Norman Van Aken is no stranger to accolades. Chefs like Wolfgang Puck, Mario Batali, and Anthony Bourdain sing his praises, along with the late James Beard winning chef and restaurateur Charlie Trotter, who called Van Aken the "Walt Whitman of American cuisine." Though he's been recognized around the world for his contributions, his influence is felt most keenly in South Florida, where he discovered a new culinary landscape over 25 years ago.

See also: Van Aken's No Experience Necessary Whets the Appetite With Tales of Kitchens Past

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