1. Jose Mendin of Pubbelly Group

Categories: Tastemakers

jose_mendin_tastemakers.jpg
When it came time to decide who would be on our list of Tastemakers, there was no shortage of opinions around these parts. Battles were waged, sides were taken, and there was blood on the floor. Given all that, it might surprise you to know when it came to ranking our Top 10: Jose Mendin was undisputed.

Opening five restaurants in six locations in less than three years is more than just a culinary feat, it's an edible miracle. Mendin, along with his partners Sergio Navarro and Andreas Schreiner, are responsible for: Pubbelly, Pubbelly Sushi, Macchialina, Barceloneta and PB Steak.

Take into account that every one of these restaurants are beloved by critics, swarmed by locals and respected by chefs; and you have a recipe for a definitive number one.

More »

2. Hedy Goldsmith of the Genuine Hospitality Group

Categories: Tastemakers

hedy_goldsmith_tastemakers.jpg
Hedy Goldsmith screwed Kellogg's. How did she do it? It started when your average, hungover Miamian sought the comforting Sunday morning breeze and sunshine on the patio of Michael's Genuine Food & Drink.

Amongst the fried, eggy and meaty brunch treats visitors saw homemade Pop-Tarts filled with jellies and jams made from seasonal berries. Though an angry mob of huckleberry-addled sweet freaks never firebombed the Kellogg's factory where their stale-tasting pastries are mass produced, Goldsmith set the bar for so-called childhood junk food at new heights.

As homemade Nutter Butter and Oreo cookies became a reality, the pastry chef for the Michael Schwartz's ever-expanding roster of restaurants, stretched our imagination. There's milk chocolate cremoso sprinkled with sea salt and olive oil, for instance. And basil panna cotta. Dessert will never be normal again.

More »

3. Joel and Leticia Pollock of Panther Coffee

Categories: Tastemakers

panther_coffee_tastemakers.jpg
First-rate food cities need great java. And, with Panther Coffee, owners Joel and Leticia Pollock gave Miami just that.

Panther Coffee, available at their Wynwood and Miami Beach shops, or at restaurants around town, works intimately with growers and roasts beans on-premises.

Remember when the words "cold brew" sounded like something suds-related? Or when clever drippers, Hario V60s, and chemex filters evoked memories of high school chem lab? The Pollocks introduced Miami to meticulous brewing methods. Now, walk around town and overhear folks chatting about their coffee preferences by grower and method: Ecuador's Grupo Changaimina from a clever or Nicaragua's Grupo Las Cuchillas from a chemex.

Panther Coffee's staff travels nationwide for barista competitions. The brand's Finca El Ventilador was awarded the 2013 Good Food Award, a national prize for responsibly produced and delicious food.

The Pollocks' passion is coffee. It's a sentiment they've spread across Miami.

More »

4. Lee Brian Schrager of Southern Wine & Spirits

Categories: Tastemakers

lee_schrager_tastemakers.jpg
Lee Brian Schrager is vice president of corporate communications & national events at Southern Wine & Spirits of America Inc. That's a long title, so it's best to just remember him for what made him famous -- creator of the South Beach Wine & Food Festival.

The event started as a one-day "Florida Extravaganza", held at the Florida International University Biscayne Bay campus. Now,it runs nearly a week and attracts the most important culinary luminaries in the world. To date, the event has raised more than $16 million for FIU, with over 60,000 people attending.

The event has brought world wide attention to our culinary scene, with the likes of Martha Stewart, Paula Deen, and Anthony Bourdain eating (and Tweeting) all over Miami and Miami Beach. Schrager has replicated the success of SoBe Fest in New York, with the Food Network New York City Wine & Food Festival. For being a visionary and a humanitarian, Lee Schrager earns a prime spot on our list of Tastemakers.

More »

5. Gabriele Marewski of Paradise Farms

Categories: Tastemakers

gabriele_mareweski_tastemakers.jpg
A sign that says, "Welcome! Please no meat or cigarettes. Enjoy and respect." welcomes you to Paradise Farms. The sign should simply read, "Paradise."

This piece of heaven on earth in Homestead started out as an abandoned five-acre avocado grove. With a lot of love and work, Gabriele Marewski turned the property into a place that specializes in micro greens, herbs, fruits, and vegetables. But it's the edible flowers that Gabriele Marewski likes most. So much so that Marewski is planning an entire festival based around the palatable posies.

The farm, designed with the principles of sacred geometry, is hand-tilled. That means that Marewski and her staff pull every weed, plant every seed, harvest every fruit by hand. That intimate knowledge of everything on her farm caught the attention of Miami's finest restaurateurs, who have become the farm's customers.

Marewski also hosts Dinner in Paradise and Brunch in Paradise events, where the best chefs in the area cook for the lucky guests who enjoy meals and entertainment in a truly magical place -- the ultimate farm to table dining experience!

More »

6. Kevin Cory of Naoe

Categories: Tastemakers

kevin_cory_tastemakers.jpg
Kevin Cory -- sushi master, soft spoken chef, and seafood overlord -- is the man behind Naoe, an omakase-style Japanese restaurant in Brickell Key where dinners start at $160 and most of the menu is chef's choice. Sounds amazing, right? Wouldn't you just love to go tonight? Well, you can't. Cory is booked for days. Sometimes weeks.

Folks fly to Miami to eat at Naoe. The teeny spot, which only has eight seats available per service, is one of 28 restaurants in the world awarded five stars by Forbes Travel Guide. In the entire world.

Still, our recent Short Order editorial meeting ended in quite the debate. Some think Kevin Cory to be the indisputable número uno Tastemaker. There was hollering. There were tears. And then! An arm wrestling match settled the brawl.

Forgive us, Kevin Cory. Our flimsy arms lost you the crown. To all of us, though, you are definitely one of the top Tastemakers in town.

More »

7. Gabriel Orta and Elad Zvi of Broken Shaker

Categories: Tastemakers

orta_zvi_tastemakers.jpg
A few years back, you could get a good cocktail or two in Miami, sure. But more than likely, you'd be served Margaritas made with a corn syrup-laden mix. Maybe you could get a decent martini, but you'd probably wind up with Red Bull and vodka in a plastic cup at a trendy hotel pool bar, instead.

Gabriel Orta and Elad Zvi saw the potential for a true cocktail culture in Miami. Forming Bar Lab, the duo started creating spirited beverage menus for some of the best bars and restaurants in town. They also helped form a community among Miami mixologists.

Then, the Bar Lab guys opened Broken Shaker, Miami's first pop-up bar. Their cocktails, fashioned from premium spirits, house made infusions, custom bitters, and fresh herbs were innovative and downright delicious. Then, in the flash of an eye, Broken Shaker was gone...

Orta and Zvi spent the summer of 2012 on tour, but came back to Miami in the fall to rebuild and reopen a permanent Broken Shaker. We'll drink to that!

More »

8. Larry Carrino of Brustman Carrino Public Relations

Categories: Tastemakers

larry_carrino_tastemakers.jpg
We've all seen those movies where the teenage mailroom clerk works his way up the ladder to become president of the firm. We've also all seen movies where giant lizards eat Tokyo. Both make for good stories, but neither happens much in real life.

Except, sometimes they do. When 19-year-old Larry Carrino walked into the offices of Susan Brustman and Associates, he was just a kid with no PR experience -- or any experience at all, come to think of it. But Susan Brustman, the public relations executive with a keen eye for talent, saw potential.

Flash forward about two decades later, and Carrino is not only partner and president, he's arguably the most influential PR maven in the city. His client roster reads like a culinary dream team, mostly because he cares about getting solid information out about the people and places he represents.

In a city where the life cycle of a restaurant, or a person, can be shorter than that of a butterfly, Larry Carrino has staying power. And true influence.

More »

9. Zak Stern of Zak the Baker

Categories: Tastemakers

zak_stern_tastemakers.jpg
If you were to measure a man by his passion, it would be hard to find a baker held in higher esteem than Zak Stern. Whereas most dough-makers talk levain and flour, Stern voices thoughts of wisdom, happiness, and beauty.

Zak the Baker is more than just talk, though. He's a fervent proponent for local farmers and artisans who bakes the best sourdough bread in Miami.

In February 2012, Stern started baking loaves from home. Now, his sourdough sells at Michy's, Oak Tavern, the Broken Shaker, and gourmet markets around town. Want lunch? Seek his olive and za'atar sourdough sandwiches, stuffed with hummus, sprouts, cucumber, and tomato, at Panther Coffee.

It may seem like long ago, but finding a good loaf in Miami was once impossible. Today, the Magic City has Zak Stern -- more than a baker, also an advocate and sage.

More »

10. Andres Tovar of Con Sabor a México Carnitas Estilo Michoacán

Categories: Tastemakers

andres_tovar_tastemakers.jpg
You could totally go for a taco right now. But not the ordinary kind. You crave tacos campechanos -- rich pork shoulder tacos, sprinkled with crisp bits of chicharrón. Want salsita? Pick between green (tomatillos, cilantro, onions, and garlic) or red (chile de árbol, guajillo peppers, tomatoes, and garlic). Feeling adventurous? Forget shoulder. Get tacos surtidos, filled with pork tongue, stomach, ears, and rind instead.

In fact, order one of each. They're $1.75 and you're at Con Sabor a México Carnitas Estilo Michoacán, a place where the motto is "las únicas y las mejores" (the best and the only ones). You can also get Tovar's carnitas at Wood Tavern, served from the back of a station wagon at Pancho Tacos. No one else makes carnitas quite like this.

Andres Tovar slow-cooks pig parts in lard. This makes for a fantastic taco, perhaps the best one around.

More »

Now Trending

Loading...