Miami's Celebrity Chef Scene
Miami's dining scene is one of the nation's hottest thanks to some powerhouse chefs leaving their culinary mark. From haute cuisine to funky food trucks, Miami's hottest chefs are dishing up award-winning, attention-grabbing meals. With many Miami chefs also opening their own restaurants, and becoming local and national television personalities, it's easy to understand why foodies are flocking to Miami as a must-try culinary destination. Below you'll discover some of the hottest names currently gracing Miami's culinary scene, and where to find their prized creations, from udon carbonara to the city's tastiest Southern fried chicken. Tuck in your napkin, and sink your teeth in for one tasty ride.
1. Yardbird Southern Table & Bar
McInnis eventually moved on to trendy Gigi restaurant in Miami’s Wynwood district, where he honed his skills cooking up Asian-inspired meals, before opening Yardbird in 2011. Since then, praise has been heaped on McInnis from the esteemed likes of Bon Appetit for creating Southern fare with flair, from ’77 Elvis Pancakes (think chocolate chip pancakes, banana compote, bourbon maple syrup and peanut butter) to the Big Ol’ Cheddar Waffle, using farm-fresh ingredients like locally grown Florida heirloom tomatoes. Belly up to a table at Yardbird, take a deep breath and start ordering: Chicken biscuits with pepper jelly, shrimp and grits, and the "27-hour" fried chicken -- yup, it takes 27 hours to prepare.
Together, the 2 chefs have created an innovative menu, with dishes like pork belly and scallion dumplings with onion marmalade; as well as udon carbonara with green peas, confit pork belly-poached egg, parmesan and bacon. Try Pubbelly's most popular small plate, the McBelly, a fatty hunk of barbecued pork belly on a soft potato roll served with kimchi and pickles. And put the “pub” in “belly” with the restaurant’s ever-changing selection of beers from breweries in Europe, Asia and the Americas, as well as a wine list that focuses on boutique growers from Europe and the Americas.
3. Michael's Genuine Food and Drink
Schwartz often switches up his restaurant menu to feature what's in season, such as Meyer lemons, or what's arrived from local farms or fisheries, such as basil and heirloom tomatoes from Teena’s Pride, a third-generation farm in nearby Homestead, FL, and heritage Hereford pork from Palmetto Creek Farms, about 3 hours north of Miami. Menu highlights during a recent visit to Michael's included the stracciatella, a decadently creamy cheese served with heirloom tomatoes, locally grown basil and fleur de sel. Schwartz's dishes are all a la carte -- consider ordering one of the tasty sides, such as wood-roasted cauliflower or asparagus, or garlic mashed potatoes to complement your meal!
In 2012, Hoffman helped launch a food truck venture, Latin Burger and Taco truck, which allowed her to give culinary school students from nearby Johnson and Wales a place to hone their cooking chops. The truck's mainstay is the Latin Macho burger, a chorizo, chuck and sirloin burger topped with Oaxaca cheese, caramelized onions and jalapenos with Hoffman's signature "avocadolicious sauce" or a red pepper mayo.
The Napa Valley-inspired restaurant features popular items like crispy panko-crusted French goat cheese served with figs, prosciutto and balsamic and a New Zealand lamb rack served with a merlot demi-glace. Interested in experiencing a true eating adventure? Calvo has also incorporated monthly "Dark Dining" nights at her restaurant: Lights are turned off, guests are blindfolded and out comes from the food -- all of it a complete surprise -- that guests savor with a sense of taste heightened by suppressing their sense of sight.