Announcing Harry’s Chef Pop No. 14: Telepan Pizzeria with Bill Telepan


Bill Telepan is a great chef, but putting out killer food for the New York dining elite at his upper west side restaurant isn’t the only thing that makes him tick.  When we heard about his work with Chefs Move to Schools, a White House initiative to get better food in the cafeteria and educate youth on the importance of eating fresh and healthfully, it became clear that this chef is driven by a greater purpose. His commitment to the cause inspired us to get involved with our public school system down here in Miami, and we can’t thank him enough for that.  Now we get to reap the rewards because he has agreed to come cook for us at Harry’s.  One look at his website, and it’s no surprise what inspires his cuisine: seasonal ingredients. Bill will have plenty to work with in March here in sunny South Florida!

Chefs Move to Schools Event at The White House - Washington, D.C

Telepan is the executive chef of Wellness in the Schools non-profit in New York City, which hopes to create “healthier places to learn.” Here he is harvesting veggies in the White House garden with our January popper, Paul Kahan!

We are excited to announce that tickets are live as of this morning for Telepan Pizzeria, and this time the gift is giving back to the community and a cause close to both our hearts!  After esteemed visiting guests Gabrielle Hamilton, Jonathan Waxman, Marc Vetri, Jonathon Sawyer, Kevin Sbraga, Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo, Paul Grieco, Chris Hastings, Hugh Acheson, Andrew Carmellini, Mindy Segal, Paul Kahan, and soon to be April Bloomfield, Michael invites Bill Telepan to take over Harry’s Pizzeria on Tuesday, March 12 at 7:00 p.m.

Seating is first come, first served for this sweet and savory family-style meal!  Making new friends is encouraged and easy when you’ve got a welcome cocktail in hand with hors d’oeuvre, four courses, free-flowing wines by The Genuine Hospitality Group sommelier and Wine Director Eric Larkee and our tap beers including Michael’s Genuine Home Brew at your disposal. Go home with a special gift too from our students at Phillis Wheatley Elementary, since each seat at the event equals a seedling, guaranteeing its school garden will be planted for the 2013-14 school year.  All that and tax and gratuity are included in the ticket price of $150.

To recap the drill… Harry’s chef pop-up dinners occur about once a month, each time with a new chef in Harry’s kitchen doing a special menu from their cookbook, their restaurant, or sometimes something different. We close to regular business for these intimate evenings. They are relaxed and convivial, with a family-style meal unfolding at communal tables. Seating is first come first served. Menu is subject to change and doors open at 7:00 p.m. sharp. Tickets are exclusively sold online for the pop-up series through where our current schedule is posted with photos from past events.

Thanks for your support of this series… We hope to see you at Telepan Pizzeria!

Michael’s Genuine Grand Cayman Voted Cayman’s Favourite Restaurant at CITA’s Taste of Cayman Food & Wine Festival

Colour favourite restaurant logoCongratulations to our amazing island team, winners of Cayman’s Favourite Restaurant at Saturday’s 2013 Taste of Cayman Food & Wine Festival at Camana Bay presented by the Cayman Islands Tourism Association!  Thousands of attendees cast their votes after sampling dishes from among 36 participating restaurants.

“It’s a huge honor to be voted ‘Cayman’s Favorite Restaurant’ and extremely gratifying to know that the team’s hard work on this event and everyday in the restaurant had paid off,” says Thomas Tennant, executive chef of Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink. “We wanted to showcase the importance of supporting local farmers and products on Grand Cayman in our dishes. It feels great to see that fresh, simple and pure philosophy translate to delicious food on the plate that is enjoyed and appreciated by the Island.”

IMG_2610This first-ever overall victory by popular vote comes on the heels of a string of successful appearances at Taste in the pastry department, specifically winning the panel-judged favorite dessert award in both 2010 and 2012. This morning chef Thomas and pastry chef Adriana Duran went on Daybreak to share what was served on Saturday, including Duck Hash – an item on the new Sunday brunch menu – and Coconut Cream Cake.

IMG_2605 IMG_2620Taste of Cayman began in the late 1970’s although the date is disputed as a few years were missed here or there. The event began shortly after the formation of the Restaurant Association. It was later adopted by the Cayman Islands Tourism Association when the Restaurant Association and other associations amalgamated in 2001. The Taste of Cayman became non-profit CITA’s largest fundraiser annually and gained a full title of Taste of Cayman Food & Wine Festival in 2008. The event began in the Safe Haven field and drew a crowd of thousands of people from around the island. The event later moved around to such venues as Cayman Turtle Farm and then most recently to Camana Bay’s Town Centre where the event continued to grow. On January 26, festival organizers celebrated its 25th year.

SFD13Banner_FNLWe are so excited to high-five the crew in person on the rock on Thursday, when Roel Alcudia (chef of our soon-to-be fourth restaurant, The Cypress Room in Miami’s Design District,) Ellie, Eric, Hedy and I join Schwartz and Acheson for Slow Food Day 2013!  If you are coming from home base in Miami, it’s not too late to book a weekend getaway to our second annual event celebrating all things deliciously local.  Cayman Airways is even offering Slow Food Day travelers a special fare, so check it out and if we don’t see you in paradise, come along for the ride through the social media handles linked above.

As Luck Would Have it, OMG! Dinner & a Movie with Harry’s Pizzeria is Back at O Cinema on February 5!

OMG! LOGOFresh out of the flashbulbs of Sundance paparazzi, our partners at O Cinema have returned après festival chock full of new films on tap for 2013 at our favorite art house theater in Miami.

Without further adieu, we are proud to announce that  OMG! Dinner & a Movie, Harry’s longest running event series, is back on Tuesday, February 5 with a great menu and film!  Spanish cult director Alex De la Igleaias’ AS LUCK WOULD HAVE IT stars Salma Hayek and a cast of Spain’s A-list acting talent and follows up his award-winning The Last Circus with a darkly comic satire at its heart an emotional drama about a family’s unconditional love. He beautifully marries the earnest gravity and timeless themes of Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesmanwith his own au courant, uniquely sardonic take on sacrifice, morality, and manhood in the ultra-superficial media age. Check out the full synopsis on O’s website, as well as chef de cuisine Manny Sulbaran’s family style menu which will be served on the swankiest buffet lines there is. Doesn’t get much better than that, except there’s Hedy Goldsmith’s strawberry shortcake and sweet snack to finish!  See you at the movies.

Kitchen to Farm: A Chef Field Trip to Homestead

The morning started like any field trip I’d ever been on, except that a few of our cars sat waiting in place of a school bus, and instead of a late student holding up the rest of my class, it was a chef stuck in traffic. But that electricity was there, the groggy, early morning low hum of excitement. The gears turning in all of our heads about spending the day in a new environment that we’ve have wondered about, but never seen or experienced. That buzz was as tangible as the broken bits of treats pastry chef Amy had set out for us. And finally so was the chef, so we headed south.


“You’re not going to believe this road,” forager Chris Padin said to me as we turned off of a paved road and onto a half-paved road, “this is where I pick up the eggs.” I laughed at the irony as we bounced along and imagined how much more bumpy it’d be in the work van with even less suspension. “First time I came here I thought it was a joke,” he smiled, but I’ve been eating in Genuineland long enough to know that those PNS Farm eggs are no joke.

Alice Pena walked out onto her porch and welcomed us, then she directed us around the corner to meet her sweet three-day-old baby chickens. Us girls, and the boys, all cooed and squeaked and swooned. ImageAlice told us a sad story about someone stealing half of her hen house, the result being the chickadees in front of us. Then we walked to the hen house where she told us all about keeping healthy hens and eggs. I learned about the antibodies that shouldn’t be washed off of an egg, and that the little dance chickens do when they scratch at the ground and peck it is how they get that pretty yellow yolk we love, from the protein in the bugs they eat. My favorite fact: she’s never had a sick hen. Talk about TLC! Read more about Alice and her hens here.

Next we headed even farther south to Krome Avenue to meet mother and son Teena and Michael Borek at Borek Farms a.k.a. Teena’s Pride. We couldn’t have had a warmer welcome. The spread that Teena arranged for us was a chef’s wonderland. Purple-orange, red, green, and white peppers, heirloom, cherry, grape, and striped green tomatoes, as well as a plethora of herbs and lettuces — all that had been picked that morning. We dove in noses first, forks second. I tasted the spiciest watercress and the sweetest red peppers that I’ve ever tasted. She introduced us to the two ladies who process all the heirlooms for Michael’s Genuine and Harry’s Pizzeria. And she presented Chris an award for the great work he does for their farm with his company, Farm to Kitchen.

Then Michael took us into the cooler. Steve Martin, the kitchen manager at Harry’s Pizzeria, got to see and taste the first San Marzano tomatoes of the season. “Don’t worry,” Michael said as Steve bit into one, “they’ll be blood red before we pick the ones for you guys.” Prudence Baselais, aka Black, one of the MGFD sous chefs picked up an ear of corn. “Taste that,” Michael ordered. His uncle has corn fields not far from his tomato fields, and that raw corn was the best I’ve ever had. In telling about how good that corn was I’ve heard similar stories about standing in a corn field in late summer tasting the corn. As a born and bread Miami girl, my story is, of course, in a walk-in-cooler in January, still though, that same sweet crunch. So juicy that we all laughed and wiped our faces as we left not a kernel on our respective cobs.

Heading out to the greenhouses was an even greater adventure. Tasting everything from chocolate and pineapple mint, to a hunk of raw sugarcane that Ray, the MGFD line cook doing Sunday’s Stagiaire Supper, actually jumped into the sharp, tall grass to forage. Teena explained about their water conservation program, how the water runs through each plant bed in different and complex ways, before being purified and recycled. We learned that everything there is hand-weeded, and that certain beds are covered in silver plastic because white flies are blinded by it, they won’t fly towards it, they’ll fly up instead. We learned of the challenges of growing heirloom tomatoes in the south Florida heat, and then we saw the “wet wall.” Basically an AC condenser that stretches one whole wall of the greenhouse and has water running over it all the times, keeping the vines cool, and letting them ripen faster, giving us flowers and then fruits sooner.


“Do they ever fall off the vines?” Juan, a MGFD line cook asked.

“Never,” Michael responded.

Back inside

Teena gave us our mission. It’s called SAFFE – Save American Family Farms from Extension – and it’s simple, just go into your local grocery store and ask the produce manager if they buy local produce. Then go to customer service and request homestead vegetables. Then go home and write corporate and say the same thing. According to Teena there are only four family farms left down here, and two of those don’t have any children.

As we drove to our final stop I looked out the window as plant nursery after plant nursery zoomed by. Chris explained that there are less and less vegetable farms than there were before, because we are out-sold by Mexico. They grow the same things we do because they have the same climate, but they have less regulation for their labor and use pesticides, so they produce more and can underbid us every time. We stopped at a stop sign and a giant plow drove by. Chris said that it could plow the same field in two days with the one man driving it that 50 employees would take two weeks to do. So it would seem everyone’s livelihood is at stake.

Then we met Herb at Knaus Berry Farms, whose enthusiasm for chefs was equaled by his enjoyment of beef, and where the farm’s history is still matched by the age of their fans. In 1956 two brothers opened up to sell produce and baked goods. More than half a century later and the lines are out the door every weekend and holiday. Even in the generation of social media, an old school Knaus Berry Farm strawberry got the Harry’s Pizzeria instagram up to a record 67 likes. Herb married into the family, but he does have a picture somewhere of his father and father-in-law standing next to each other in the 4th grade class of Redlands Senior (now Redlands Elementary). If that’s not family business, as sweet as any, I don’t know what is.


We drove away from the wide fields and straight rows of the Redlands. I sipped my strawberry milkshake and looked through the pictures I had taken. I thought about Alice’s eggs and Teena’s passion. There is so much to learn on a farm. That much I knew going into it. What I didn’t know was how much I had to learn from four farmers, two chefs, four cooks, and a professional forager, or how much the combination of all of them and the farms would inspire me. Knaus Berry Farms is open daily to customers, and Teena does horticulture tours a few times a week. I recommend the trip down there to everyone. In fact, we are all but requiring front of house and back of house employees to sign up to join Chris on at least one farm run this year. Chris does these ride alongs on Thursdays departing from MGFD at 9:00 a.m. Something about all that farm fresh goodness just makes you want to be better people — and we think better at our jobs — and that’s worth the 40 mile trip from Miami, any day.


Beer, Glorious Beer! Our List Updates, What’s New in Home Brew Land & We Tap 42 for South Florida Beer Week


Winter in South Florida usually guarantees a dip in temperature, but it’s always a bit of a roller coaster. This one is as unpredictable and warm as any we can remember!  As we coast through the soft and cuddly middle of South Florida Beer Week, let’s take a moment to geek out with Beverage Director Ryan Goodspeed and hear what’s new and drinking great in this fickle fantastic weather on our restaurant beer lists and across our great beer-loving community. Cheers!

photo-143Beginning today at MGFD, Brewery Dupont Saison makes a return to menus after going out of stock for a month. Goodspeed says it’s considered by many to be the best Farmhouse Ale out of Belgium, with subtle spice and fruity aroma that makes it the perfect beer for, say, a relaxing, late afternoon lunch? It is fermented in the bottle at a slightly higher temperature resulting in a highly carbonated, light and refreshing flavor and finish.  Stone Ruination India Pale Ale, now available in 12 oz bottles from the award-winning brewery most famous for its Arrogant Bastard will satisfy the growing legion of hop heads around town.

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