[VIDEO] Family Trees: Fresh, Locally-Grown Lychees from Grove to Ship

150 Central Park chef de cuisine Luciano Bonci walks the JLS Lychee Farms grove in Homestead with owner/farmers Roland Samimy (right) and Harry Miller (left.)

Michael’s summer menus have been underway at 150 Central Park aboard Oasis of the Seas since June 2, with new local products cropping up on dishes from Florida Royal Red Shrimp sourced from Port Canaveral’s Wild Ocean Seafood in a local lychee salad with Vietnamese flavors, to Lychee “Tres Leches” with Homestead goat farmer Hani Khouri’s goat milk sherbet and biscotti crumbles.  And as you can tell, local lychees are everywhere!  We also have a new chef de cuisine at the helm, Luciano Bonci, as MGFD alum Jamie Seyba returns to our Miami kitchen after a stellar tour of duty.  Luciano is originally from the U.K. and had an early start in the restaurant industry working weekends at his uncle’s Italian restaurant from the age of 14.  He  graduated from Newcastle University with a degree in Culinary and Patisserie Arts, and before joining the Royal Caribbean team a couple of years ago, worked in restaurants in London, as well as at the three Michelin Star restaurant The Fat Duck.  His love of both modernist cuisine and classic cooking makes him a great fit to continue the work Jamie did to make Michael’s fresh, simple and pure food come to life in the upscale setting of 150 Central Park.

The “ditch witch” in 1992 making rows for baby lychee trees. It takes 5-6 years before they can bear their first fruit!

To get ready for this transition, Luciano trained at Michael’s Genuine in April where he worked closely with chef de cuisine Bradley Herron, and he also had the opportunity to take a trip down to Homestead to check out the fruit of the summer crop still ripening on the tree. Click the image above to learn about the grove’s family tree and what goes into getting the fruit to the table!

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