Nina Compton / Compère Lapin

Prior to filming Top Chef: New Orleans, Nina Compton, the Saint Lucia native and former Chef de Cuisine of Scarpetta had never been (but always wanted to go) to NOLA. While her original honeymoon plan to visit the French Quarter fell through, a different kind of passion landed her as runner up on Top Chef Season 11 and in the city she’d always yearned for. Obviously the rest is history as it’s no secret that Compton packed her knives in February in search of a Creole cooking future, which brings us to her new venture and little unknown secret: Compère Lapin.

We’ve got an exclusive on what she’ll be serving at her frst solo endeavor at the new Old No. 77 Hotel & Chandlery, and we’ve got an exclusive on what she’ll be serving up. Conch Croquettes with pickled pineapple tartar sauce, Orecchiette with pork cheeks and arugula and Banana Zeppoles with salted rum caramel. As well as her final ode to Miami: Her pasta dumpling recipe from the queen of gnocchi herself. 

Mash 5 potatoes. Add 3 egg yolks. Season with a pinch full of salt and a hand full of flour. Work the dough but not

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Getting Fresh with Small Farms in South Dade

Will Allen, harvesting (Photo: Growing Power)

Innovative programs, like local farm incubators to help grow small family farms in South Miami-Dade, are important to Miami-Dade Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava. “South Dade is already doing many things right, like crop diversity, smaller family farms and many tree crops that are not seasonal and are often less resource intensive.” And, she says, there’s more work to be done. “We’re looking to do things differently in Miami-Dade. We’ve been working to provide greater opportunities for small farms to innovate. We are looking to establish local farm incubators, community spaces celebrating our farming history and culture, and innovating with our University partners who are eager to help our farmers.”

As part of her efforts, she is sponsoring a free screening of “FRESH” at the Deering Estate at Cutler Fri., Apr. 17. The documentary, by ana Sofia joanes, celebrates the farmers, thinkers and businesspeople across America who are re-inventing the food system. The film features urban farmer and activist Will Allen and sustainable farmer Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms, among other leaders in the sustainable food movement, and offers practical visions for a future of food and the planet.

“We are what we … Read More

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New from Lan: Burrito San downtown Miami

Filipino Breakfast burrito san

Johnson Teh and Kazu Abe’s fast-casual Lan Pan Asian at Dadeland Station and Yuga in Coral Gables have a dedicated following for their fresh, consistently tasty dishes that truly span different Asian cuisines, from sushi to noodles and Vietnamese wraps to Filipino food, Korean and inventive mash-ups like battered and fried tuna sandwiches, made of grilled tuna with rice and seaweed and yellow curry vermicelli, dotted with Chinese sausage, shrimp and peppers. Now, they’ve brought a new idea to downtown Miami: Burrito San, fat sushi-style rolls that are filled with traditional sashimi tuna and brown or white rice, but also other unconventional choices, like crispy masala chicken or braised pork, scrambled egg, banana ketchup and roasted garlic cloves, dubbed the Filipino Breakfast roll.

Burrito San draws upon some of Lan’s greatest hits, says Abe. “The idea for this restaurant was to take the most exciting, interesting dishes and flavors at Lan and create a fast casual restaurant where we could focus on a short, more simplified menu that would be really different from anything that we saw on the market. Our burrito rolls are hand held, are burrito-sized, have the contrasting flavors, textures, and temperatures you … Read More

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Farm-to-Table Takes Wings: Local Produce at MIA

Icebox Cafe at MIA

Airport food at Miami International Airport is not only getting healthier – it’s also, increasingly, locally sourced. Icebox Cafe, long a Miami Beach favorite at Sunset Harbour, is now using local greens and vegetables for salads at its MIA restaurant, which opened in 2010. They’ve also just opened the Mediterranean Kitchen inside the new North Terminal Marketplace. There’s also an Icebox Cafe at Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW).

Farm-to-table is more than just a buzzword for Icebox Cafe founder and owner Robert Siegmann. “Icebox’s recent recognition as farm to table in airports is an extension of what the company has been doing since its inception in 1998,” he says. “We will continue to source locally no matter which market we operate in, not because it is trendy, but because we feel that it provides the best quality to our customers while supporting the local industry.”

Icebox Cafe may be the first airport restaurant certified by Florida’s “Fresh from Florida” program as a provider of locally sourced foods, but officials – and the traveling public – can look for more to come.

“Now more than ever, travelers are expecting world-class airports to provide the freshest, healthiest food options possible, … Read More

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Dena Marino / MC Kitchen

Veritage Miami 2015 is just a few days away and Chat Chow TV got to sit down with one of the event’s marquee cooks, Dena Marino of Design District’s MC Kitchen to find out more about her restaurant, its popular dishes and what to expect at this year’s Interactive Dinner.

Marino got her training with acclaimed chef and restauranteur Michael C out in Napa Valley after a chance meeting with him. After working in his kitchen California kitchen for 6 years, he asked her to run his concept in Aspen where she stayed for the 13 years before coming to South Florida and opening MC Kitchen — and cheer on her beloved Miami Heat.

Since opening in 2012 the restaurant has received praise across the city and the U.S., most notably making the prestigious “Top 20 Best New Restaurants of 2013” list in Esquire Magazine.

For this year’s Veritage she will be cooking alongside four other notable South Florida female chefs in the interactive dinner on Friday night, April 17, teaching a crowd of 700 how to make a signature pasta dish that she serves in the restaurant.

Curious what Marino will be making at the dinner? … Read More

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Cooking for Life Festival

Participants at work at a Miami Common Threads class

One in three children in this country are overweight or obese, and millions of children – especially those growing up in low-income families – have no idea how to eat or cook healthy food.

No question the U.S. has food problems. Many say what we have is a cooking problem.

One of the leaders in addressing just that issue is Common Threads, the national nonprofit organization fighting childhood obesity by teaching kids healthy cooking skills. Founded in 2003, Common Threads brings its cooking and nutrition curriculum to kids in underserved schools and communities, including 33 schools in Miami-Dade under superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho. “The knowledge of healthy cooking and eating is a powerful asset and one that should not be taken lightly,” says chef Michelle Bernstein, key local Common Threads supporter.

To raise funds for this effort, Common Threads has gathered some of the country’s top culinary superstars for the debut of the Cooking for Life Festival April 17-19 at various locations throughout greater Miami. Among the highlights:

  • Kickoff dinner at Mignonette, Fri. April 17, with 10% of the evening’s proceeds benefitting Common Threads
  • Culinary Boot Camp, April 18,
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April 7: Burger Beast Day in Miami Springs

Burger Beast and newly re-elected Miami Springs Mayor Zavier Garcia

Burger Beast and newly re-elected Miami Springs Mayor Zavier GarciaWhen Sef Gonzalez woke up this morning, he had no idea that by the end of the day, April 7, 2015 would be proclaimed Burger Beast Day in Miami Springs.

“It’s awesome,” says Gonzalez. “I still can’t believe it.”

The chain of fortuitous events got underway earlier when mayor Zavier Garcia contacted him to schedule a food truck at the golf course, where today’s elections were being held. Over the last year, Gonzalez had become friends with Garcia, who went on to win last October’s Croquetapalooza eating contest. And Miami Springs was familiar territory.

“I actually grew up eating at places in Miami Springs,” says Gonzalez. He would ride with his father as he made deliveries to businesses in Miami Springs, Hialeah, Medley and Virginia Gardens while working for the Wise Potato Chip Company. In 1992, Gonzalez briefly worked at Bryson’s in Virginia Gardens. He knows the Springs well – rattling off the incarnations of the supermarket on the Circle (Grand Union, Piggly Wiggly, now Milam’s) – and has been eating there often recently, as noted on his website and Instagram Read More

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Raising Our Glasses to Miami Beach 100

Miami Beach is throwing out all the stops as it celebrates its centennial –including a mega-concert on the beach Thurs., Mar. 26, featuring luminaries (many local) Barry Gibb, Gloria Estefan, Jon Secada, Andrea Boccelli and Flo Rida, to name just a few – and an amped-up Miami Beach Food Truck and Music Fest Wed., Mar. 25, with the Spam All-Stars (celebrating 20 years!) and birthday cake.

Everyone’s joining in the fun. Cocktail doyenne Jen Massolo of The Liquid Projects, who recently signed on with the new AC Hotel Miami Beach to help develop their beverage and food program, came up with two original cocktail recipes. They honor Miami Beach’s official birthday and delicious Florida spirits and fruit. Cheers!

The Indian River  

1.5 oz Miami Club Rum

2 oz fresh blood orange juice

1½ oz coconut water

¼ oz simple syrup

½ oz lime juice

1 mint leaf

Blend all the above, serve over ice and garnish with a mint sprig


Sobe Centurion

1.5 oz Wicked Dolphin Rum

2 oz guava puree

2 oz starfruit puree

5 chili flakes

½ oz lime juice

Blend all the above, serve over ice and garnish with a bay rum leaf on a … Read More

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Fabio Viviani / Siena Tavern Miami

Last Fall, Chicago’s popular Siena Tavern opened its doors on Miami Beach in the iconic China Grill building. At the helm of the restaurant is the ever-charming Top Chef alum Fabio Viviani, who sat down with Chat Chow TV to talk all about Siena Tavern Miami location and its menu.

Viviani has been working in kitchens since he was 11 years old in his native Italy. By the time he was 28 he was the owner of five different restaurants when he decided to sell them all and come to America. Since then he has opened several successful restaurants throughout the country and has become a well-recognized and well-liked chef.

When Viviani and his partners decided bring the Siena Tavern concept to Miami, the restaurant team partnered up with local vendors like Bar Lab and Wynwood Brewing to help create the bar program. As for the menu, Viviani tells Chat Chow that he enlists his friends, family and co-workers to help narrow down the menu from 300 dishes to 35 “cravers.”

As for what deems a dish as a “craver” he notes, “we like to have the ‘wow’ kind of dishes, because if I can’t get the reaction where … Read More

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Food Conference for World’s Fair at Miami Dade College

South Floridians can get a taste of the upcoming World’s Fair in Milan right here in downtown Miami at an all-day conference at the Freedom Tower and Miami Dade College this week.

An impressive gathering of top culinary names, dignitaries and food experts are slated to appear Thur., Mar. 12 at the MDC Wolfson Campus and Freedom Tower for a pre-launch conference to kick off Expo Milano 2015, the World’s Fair taking place May 1–Oct. 31 in Italy.

The day-long forum, “America and the Old World: Food, Health and Culture,” includes chef/restaurateurs Lidia Bastianich, Scott Conant of Scarpetta and Corsair, Maricel Presilla and Giorgio Rapicavoli; Dorothy Cann Hamilton, founder and CEO of the International Culinary Center; and Mitchell Davis of the James Beard Foundation, among other notables.

It’s a big deal, says Art Furia.

Furia, a partner at Shutts & Bowen and general counsel of the National Italian American Foundation, was instrumental in efforts to bring this event to South Florida. Miami’s significant and growing ties to Italy, in business and in culture, were among the factors that led to the choice of Miami for the event, the only one of its kind in the U.S, … Read More

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