Recently, Ellie, a one time raw vegan for 6 months in 2008, attended a Love & Vegetables pop-up dinner hosted by Michael’s Genuine Miami line cook Keith Kalmanowicz. This is no ordinary pop-up, and not just because it happens to be vegan, nor because it is hosted in Little Haiti, the last place you’d expect the of-the-moment trend in foodie dining to crop up. “Love & Vegetables is magic and the amount of passion that the chefs have for food is mirrored by the level of consciousness put into every aspect of the dinner,” she explained. “The sweetness and pure joy that the chefs have towards each other and the sanctuary where it takes place is simply a pleasure to witness. And not in any of the time I was vegan did I have food as dynamic and delicious as was served.” Wait that’s peachy, but… a sanctuary? I had to get to the bottom of this, and start at the source, like we usually do here. And that was Keith. Keith, the line cook, who pays a visit to Omar in our back office on 39th street like clockwork each week, accounting for his visits to the market. Keith who I witness putting out the soup special the days I make it to lunch pre-shift.
Like most stories, there are those things at the surface, and then the juicy middles. This is one of those stories. I learned more from interviewing Keith about how our kitchen functions than I have in a longer time than I am willing to admit. Here’s why.