Bienvenidos Versailles Cubano Pizza!

It’s a community thing. But who gets the croqueta is each friend for themself!

Are you picking up what we’re putting down?  If it’s a croqueta on your Versailles Cubano Pizza then you have the right idea!  So does Chef Schwartz.

It’s love at first bite as Michael makes Miami’s most iconic sandwich open-faced for a limited time only featuring Versailles house roasted pork and glazed ham, bread and butter pickles, mustard sauce, fontina and gruyère cheeses, and finished with a Versailles croqueta!  From Monday, January 14 until Valentine’s Thursday, February 14, find this pie in the sky collab as a special at all South Florida locations of Harry’s Pizzeria and Genuine Pizza for $16.  It’s the first time this local legend has done a collaborative pizza highlighting one of their specialty menu items, so we are especially honored and excited to have this unique opportunity… and to share it with all of you!

Since 1971 the original Calle Ocho location of Versailles, the world’s most famous Cuban restaurant, has been a cornerstone of the Little Havana neighborhood and a community gathering place for conversation whether over a cafecito or its famous Cuban sandwich, “El Cubano”.   Almost 50 years later, this culinary icon has achieved ubiquitous global recognition as a symbol of Miami’s diverse cultural identity and the unique food traditions that have developed as a result.

Click to watch how it’s made, to the tunes of Palo!

“I’ve been a fan of Versailles since moving to Miami in the early ‘90s and as a chef I have a keen appreciation for the Valls family’s commitment to keeping it simple, doing things right, and bringing the community together,” Michael says. “We love to get creative with topping combinations on our pizzas, and taking this one for a spin is a long time coming! We are so grateful to everyone at Versailles for not only entrusting us with these unique ingredients, but their genuine enthusiasm in having fun with the formula. We think the result tastes pretty great and is something we can all gather around and share – if there’s any left!”

Inspired by this memorable combination hot-pressed inside fluffy, crispy Cuban bread, Chef Schwartz is sourcing the roast pork and glazed ham from the Versailles kitchen to honor the original recipe. With layers of mustard sauce, bread and butter pickles, and the combination of fontina and gruyère cheeses to balance melt and flavor, each pie is also topped with one of its famous, mouthwatering croquetas to break open and enjoy with each slice.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with Harry’s Pizzeria and Genuine Pizza on this fun and delicious collaboration,” says Versailles owner Nicole Valls. “Our family is a huge admirer of Chef Schwartz and all he has done for the Miami food scene, and we are excited to have everyone taste this new spin on Miami’s iconic dish.”

Beginning Monday, January 14 through Thursday, February 14, the Versailles Cubano Pizza will be available all day long for $16 during regular business hours for dine in, takeout and delivery at all South Florida locations of the James Beard Award-winner’s casual pizza restaurant, including Miami Design District, Downtown Dadeland, Coconut Grove and Aventura Mall. For the restaurant nearest you visit genuinepizza.com/locations.

With whom would you like to share a Cubano Pizza? Let us know by joining the conversation on social media #genuinecubano and follow along for giveaway news, events and more @chefmschwartz, @harryspizzeria, @genuinepizza and @versaillesmiami.

Culinary Director Brad Herron with Harry’s Pizzeria Design District kitchen manager Homer Perez.  Big thanks to these guys for making test pizzas during a busy lunch service. Getting it done, per usual!

Revolve puts Chef Schwartz in the driver’s seat

MS in Blue Car

Revolve unlocks the car lover in Chef Schwartz

The Genuine Hospitality Group is excited to announce a unique partnership with Revolve, the pioneers in luxury automotive subscription.

Revolve’s tech-driven vehicle subscription service enables their customers to drive a different high-end vehicle every few months.  No longer do you have to buy or lease a new vehicle and be stuck with it for many years.  With Revolve, you select from their curated collection of the best vehicles from the top brands and have each premier ride delivered right to your driveway.

Chef Schwartz became an early Revolve member last year and sat down with me to  explain how Revolve enabled him to unlock the garage of his dreams.

Are you a car guy?

Oh, yeah, I am a total car guy.  I was never wealthy enough to a be a CAR GUY, but I always was interested in and enjoyed cars.  I have now become a car guy in a large part due to my experience with Revolve.

What was your first car?

My first car was a 1985 Jeep CJ-7 and I still have it, restored twice, five speed, manual transmission, candy apple red.  I have 125,000 miles on it, which is not that much considering how long I have owned it.  It has gone across the country a couple of times and I drove it around Mexico for six months.

What is your favorite car you have ever owned?

The Jeep was the first love.  But the best I have ever owned is the Tesla Model S.  It is like an everything car.  It is huge – fits five or six comfortably.  It has a tons of space, but it drives like a sports car – super-fast.  It is the fastest car I have ever driven.  And now through Revolve I have driven a Porsche 911 Carrera S, Mercedes S63 AMG, Corvette Z06, Lexus LC500 and others, but the Tesla is the fastest. There is no hesitation, with the all-electric power you just push the peddle and it just goes.

What do you listen to in the car?

It is usually my playlists through Spotify or Pandora.  The playlist could be Jazz (Monk, Coltrane). Rock (Foo Fighters, Black Keys) or Rap (Jay Z, Drake).  Depends on how I am feeling.

How do you like to drive?

I am a safe driver, but I like to open it up and have some fun in a sports car or convertible.  After all, that’s what those cars were mean for, and Revolve has some of the best ones available. But I usually don’t drive much, just usually over the causeway.

How long have you been part of Revolve?

For over 16 months.  During that time, I’ve had the chance to experience and drive 8 different cars, including sports cars, sedans, SUVs and convertibles.

Red Car and MS

Chef Schwartz is all smiles with Mercedes-Benz AMG GT

What appealed to you about Revolve?

I was always one of those guys that whenever I got a new car, no matter how much I liked it at first, six months later I was like “I am sick of this car.”  So, what was immediately appealing about Revolve’s model is that you get to drive a continuous rotation of different new cars all the time.

What has your experience with Revolve been like?

It has been an amazing experience because you don’t have to worry about ANYTHING. You put gas in the car and that is it.  You don’t have to worry about maintenance, or insurance, or going anywhere if the car breaks down or when they swap it. Revolve comes to you, they are super professional.  It is a completely luxury concierge service with all the best vehicles that a car guy would want to drive.

 What has surprised you most about Revolve?

What surprised me was around transitioning from one car to the next new ride and how quickly you are into the new one.  Once you have done this for a little while, you figure out how to adjust to the new car thing. Some of them are sort of the same, but some are very different.  That is where the Revolve Concierges come into play.  When they hand over the car, they go through everything.  If there is a question you can call them.  There is also a great app.  It is super easy and a ton of fun.

 What was the favorite car you have gotten from Revolve?

That’s a tough question – like asking me which is my favorite restaurant!  The standouts have been the Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG Coupe which is just a ridiculous combination of luxury and power, and the Mercedes S Class, with the incredibly smooth ride and big four doors, I loved it.  Also the Land Rover SVR, that was a good one – a big SUV that drives and sounds like a sports car.  Right now I love the current car I am driving, the Jaguar F Type R, in fact, I don’t want to get out of it!

 

Revolve is offering a $500 discount towards their Membership Initiation Fee.  Learn more about Revolve here or to apply for a membership visit www.DriveRevolve.com/Referral and site Chef Schwartz under “referred by” to receive the exclusive discount.

 

 

[RECIPE] [VIDEO] Our Favorite Wingman Drums Up Sweet & Spicy Support for Young Musicians Unite at Michael’s Genuine

Diligently home-tested and now restaurant-ready, drummer and budding chef Harry Schwartz’s Sweet & Spicy Wood Oven Roasted Chicken Wings with cucumber crema is your post-Art Basel cure-all. Beginning tomorrow, we are supporting our favorite wingman as he raises funds for his partner non profit Young Musicians Unite with his favorite thing — wings!

From Monday, December 10 through Monday, December 17, find this special menu item at Lunch, Afternoon and Dinner with a portion of proceeds supporting this Miami-based non profit. Revitalizing music programs in South Florida’s underserved communities one school at a time, YMU gives students a voice through music thanks to leadership of its founder and band director Sammy Gonzalez. Partner bands like drummer Harry Schwartz’s Arrowhead take the time to play side by side shows with YMU’s students, raise funds through performances and even help with peer to peer mentoring in our after-school programs.  We are so excited. Especially because they taste amazing! Bravo to our favorite wingman. Get your hands on these drumsticks before they’re gone!

Bienvenidos Basel: Our Private Arty & Everyone’s Invited

At French Farms on November 20, with farmer Chris French, farmer Michael Borek and new MGFD chef de cuisine Jorge Olarte.

Meet Olarte as he explores The Redland and connects the dots with local farmers in our video field report, coming soon.

To be a restaurant when Art Basel comes to town is a curious thing that might need a little framing.  Miami Art Week is the jolt of season officially arriving in Miami, the one that whispered sweet nothings in November and now wants to put a ring on it and elope ASAP.  Shotgun wedding. We want to make art and make merry, and do, but it has to be at our game so everyone else can play theirs. It’s also the official arrival of a season of another sort — the growing and harvesting of the bulk of the coming year’s produce threading the Michael’s Genuine menu.  So it’s a time of extreme creativity and intensity inside and importantly outside the restaurant — to take the precious time you probably don’t have to learn what’s out there, connect with the farmers new and old growing the product and figure it all out while being slammed with the most traffic we’ll see in a week period all year.  Did I mention there’s a new chef leading the kitchen?

Your post-Basel Week cure-all: Harry Schwartz’s Sweet & Spicy Wings. Look for them at Michael’s Genuine beginning Monday, December 10.

A strategy is in order and everyone must be aligned, from operations to marketing.  This week, we must stay the course. We focus on our own little party taking shape, and take it to the breaking point, that place between humming like a well-oiled machine and everything going down in flames, crash and burn. Because that’s what we do as genuine hospitality people.  Every service is a party.  Playing the loom, weaving the experience just so, trying to minimize the snags so it we can achieve the impossible — making it seem effortless.  It’s the game we love, that we forever chase and we wouldn’t have any other way. This is the week it unfurls in marvelous display. Game on!

As we push ourselves to share what we do in new and immersive ways, look for more video documents of our process. We think they work a little harder to highlight our dynamic team and what drives our culture.  This week we have two on deck: our 2018/19 Homestead growing season report with chef de cuisine Jorge Olarte and Harry Schwartz dialing in his wings recipe at Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink.  Home-tested and now restaurant-ready, Sweet & Spicy Wood Oven Roasted Chicken Wings with cucumber yogurt dipping sauce is your post-Art Basel cure-all beginning Monday, December 10.  Proceeds go to Young Musicians Unite, and we can all rejoice in wings’ return to the menu with a personal twist, crafted by someone who is truly passionate about his favorite food. Maybe they’ll even stick around a little longer!  Videos will hit social media and the blog this week as you execute your strategy for navigating it. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Or maybe, DO!

 

Niman Ranch Asks Chef Bradley Herron Some Questions. We Are All Ears.

Brad with Chef in Iowa in September, getting the Niman Ranch slow roasted pork shoulder ready.

Although the word chef isn’t in his title, Bradley Herron embodies what it means to be a cook at The Genuine Hospitality Group. Our Director of Culinary began as line cook at Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink in 2009 and now oversees all the chefs and menus in the company’s 10 restaurants and Michael Schwartz Events catering.

His role is multi-faceted and providing continuity and oversight of sourcing is key — from dry and paper goods to perishable product, including a constant re-evaluation of how we can do better on quality and cost while serving Michael’s vision and culture.  It’s a tall order.  Part of this process is cultivating longstanding relationships with suppliers like Niman Ranch.  In follow up to September’s visit to Iowa for the Hog Farmer Appreciation Dinner, the team posted an interview with Brad we wanted to share here — a small but important way we can recognize the person behind hard work and dedication not always visible but essential to the function and spirit of our kitchens and hospitality at the table.  We appreciate how Brad to clearly explains why things are done in certain ways versus others.  Most importantly, we count on him for his pragmatic insight on what it means to be creative as a cook — and a photo bomb or two, especially when he’s the subject!

Q&A With Chef Bradley Herron
from The Niman Ranch Blog

Q: Where did you grow up?
Southern California

Q: What inspired you to become a chef?
It’s my only career choice. I started when I was 14 and liked the way things work in the restaurant – High energy, fast pace, different every day. So, when I was a senior in high school, I had three restaurant jobs and decided to go to culinary school at the California Le Cordon Bleu to become a chef.

At Osteria in Philly, celebrating its 10th anniversary.

Q: How did you hear about Niman Ranch?
Back in southern California, my first restaurant job used Niman Ranch beef and pork. When I came to Miami, it was a name that everyone knew and it resonated with customers. When you get product from Niman it’s always great.

Q: What inspired you to care about sustainably and humanely raised beef, pork and lamb and, in turn, support family farmers?
It’s the right move and kind of the norm now. It’s about our children and our children’s children. It’s easier to do now because there is a lot more awareness, especially in California. But the quality is better and you feel better about it because it’s something you believe in while helping farmers.

2010, Slow Food Miami’s Ark of Taste Dinner

Q: Do your customers care about where you source your ingredients? Why do you think this is the case?
Yes and no. We brought Niman Ranch into one of the cruise ships we consult for and no one seemed to care. In Miami at Michael’s Genuine, our farm to table restaurants, people ask. Our reputation is built on transparent sourcing and people trust us more. If you are in California, everyone asks!

Q: Where do you see yourself in five years? Ten?
I get asked that question often, but I don’t have that scripted yet. We’ve been on an 80% growth rate for the last few years and opening a lot more restaurants. I see myself being in a similar environment doing similar things. For me, if I don’t like something, I’m going to change it and do something else. But I like what I’m doing and I’m going to keep doing that.

Cooking in the back of ella for a pop up dinner in 2015.

Q: What is your most memorable experience with a Niman Ranch product?
It was recent. It was when I went to the hog farmer appreciation dinner in Des Moines. I went with Chef Michael Schwartz, and at the end of the dinner, I spoke in front of everyone – all 600 people, about the importance of what the farmers do and how they raise their animals with such care and compassion. The farm tour was great and I have a lot of special memories from that weekend.

2016, getting ready to open Fi’lia by Michael Schwartz in Miami.

Q: What person would you most like to cook for?
My grandma Nana, who is no longer around. When I was young, she was always there with me cooking. I was probably around three to four years old and I have memories of her and the food we made together.

Q: What did you have for dinner last night?
It was Monday, so every Monday, religiously, I have a whole roasted chicken with sweet potatoes and a salad. It’s a staple to start the work week and it’s good to have roast chicken in the fridge. My wife doesn’t cook so I set her up with a big batch of things like brown rice or roasted vegetables on Monday night. She can fend for herself when I’m in the restaurant all week.

Q: What is your favorite kitchen equipment or gadget?
The iPhone. There are so many ways that the iPhone has revolutionized cooking and everything in general. It’s an important tool nowadays. If you think about every dilemma you have in the kitchen, the iPhone can solve it. For me, if someone tells me to cook something that I’ve never cooked, I usually Google it and if you watch enough videos, you can be pretty good at cooking something the first time.

At Michael’s Genuine as TGHG executive chef.

Q: Are there any foods you don’t like?
Poorly made food. Anything can be good, but if something is poorly made, it’s always going to be bad.

Q: What do you love most about your job as a chef?
It’s hard to pick just one. I guess, being where I am now, I have a lot of younger, next generation cooks and chefs coming through the ranks. Teaching them and showing them the ropes is probably the most rewarding thing. We operate 10-11 restaurants and will open five more in the next six months, I’ve probably opened 22-23 restaurants in the last nine years. So, there are a lot of chefs and cooks that I work with. It’s a pretty cool thing to teach someone something and be able to look back and say, “I helped them do that.”

Q: If you were to open a new restaurant, what style of food would you pick?
Simple foods that change daily.

Q: If you weren’t a chef, what would you do for a living?
A farmer however cooking is all I know and all I want to do, so that’s hard.

Q: Most embarrassing cooking moment?
When I was first starting out, I think I was 15, I got a real restaurant job in a hotel with real chefs. One had me break down lobsters and asked if I knew how to do it. I didn’t, so he showed me in like 12 seconds, then he gave me 20 of them. He came back after 3 hours and I was still on the second one and it was completely butchered and a huge mess. That would probably be my most embarrassing cooking moment.