Field Report: Top Hat Tomatoes Weather the Freeze

Tomatoes wear hats for the cold, too.

Forager Ali Lauria emailed me this photo after her regular pick-up from Teena’s Pride this past Tuesday.  Our farmers have become quite adept at weathering the sometimes freezing cold of a South Florida winter, but it’s not without a cost.

This new technique is one of several methods grower Michael Borek employs to keep his tomato plants alive and healthy when the temperature takes an extreme dip.  The tiny baby plants stay warm overnight, wrapped in tissue under plastic pots that act like miniature greenhouses trapping the heat inside.  I spoke with owner Teena Borek this morning about the process.

Continue reading

Video: Talking Cayman Cookout Dinner Wine Pairings with Sommelier Eric Larkee

It's fun to be schooled by Eric.

It’s official.  I have a favorite guinea pig as I feel my way through iMovie.  He is available on a moment’s notice, lets me do whatever I want, and to top it off, is an encyclopedia full of knowledge on one of my favorite topics… wine!

Enjoy the video interview below where sommelier Eric Larkee and I discuss the upcoming Cayman Cookout guest chef dinner at Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink Grand Cayman and his creative set of wine pairings that span the globe in a range of vintages (even a 1988 “library release” Riesling!)

You might just learn something… I know I always do listening to Eric!!

Continue reading

Menu Announcement: Guest Chef Dinner with Michel Nischan

January is Cayman Culinary Month on Grand Cayman Island. We are participating for the second year in its marquee event, the Cayman Cookout hosted by chef Eric Ripert, a weekend celebrating food, wine and the natural beauty of the Caribbean at the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman.

World famous chefs, sommeliers and spirits blenders descend on-island to offer tastings, demonstrations, tours and dinners! With our new restaurant now established, Michael, Hedy, and the team at MGFD Grand Cayman want to welcome you to our first ever Cayman Cookout event in Camana Bay: Dinner at Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink with Guest Chef Michel Nischan.

A thought leader at the forefront of the slow food movement in the United States, Michel is the founder/Owner of Dressing Room: A Homegrown Restaurant, located at Westport (CT) Country Playhouse, and CEO of Wholesome Wave, a nonprofit organization founded in 2007 to make healthy, affordable locally grown foods available to communities that would otherwise not have access to them.

Please check out our just completed menu, event details, and how to purchase tickets below.   Later this week, we’ll talk to Eric about how he approached pairings.  Hope to see you on-island!

Continue reading

Recipe for Success in Overtown

An opportunity to make school cafeteria food healthier sprouts in Overtown .

Yesterday we invited our Chefs Move to Schools students from neighboring Phillis Wheatley Elementary School to the fall season opener of Roots in the City Farmers Market in Overtown.  They took a tour of what’s growing at the urban farm like eggplant, peanuts, and mustard greens, and also had an opportunity to serve from the Michael’s Genuine food cart their entry into the USDA’s Recipe for Healthy Kids Challenge.

Miami-Dade Public Schools Department of Food & Nutrition administrators Penny Parham, Carol Chong, and Susan Rothstein came by the market to taste it and were so impressed with fourth grader Gerald Johnson Jr.’s Grilled Rosemary Chicken & Chopped Garden Vegetable Salad, the recipe he co-developed with chef Michael, that they’re going to try to place on cafeteria menus system-wide.  Carol and Susan were also able to set up a Monday meeting with Margie Pikarsky of Bee Heaven Farm, Teena Borek of Teena’s Pride Farm, and others to discuss ways to expand the sourcing of Homestead produce into school cafeteria lunch programs.

Continue reading

The Making of Michael’s Genuine Food

When it arrived to Michael’s doorstep some weeks ago we nearly had to scrape our jaws off the floor. Hard to believe that after nearly 18 months of meeting, brainstorming, drafting, testing, tasting, shooting, and editing, the first final bound copy to be released of Michael’s debut cookbook was here — bound and shiny, smelling of its journey from the printing press in China.

The photographer Ben Fink, no stranger to long hours executing brilliant work, raised his hand (count me in!) at our request for a video to screen celebrating the accomplishment during Art Basel week, featuring footage from January’s shoot.

We did not take pleasure in piling more on his already full platter, but the resulting beautiful short film, sewn together on a moment’s notice, brought grins from cheek to cheek.

If you didn’t catch it on the east wall of our parking lot over the weekend, it’s now available for viewing below.  Thanks to the whole credited crew (Betty Rosado, Amanda Kenny, Daphne Robboy, Rudolf Kohn, JoAnn Cianciulli, and Michael,) Casa Dragones for providing its fine sipping tequila to toast the occasion, and of course Ben; it was fun to both relive and share the experience. Continue reading