[UPDATED] Announcing Harry’s Pop-Up No. 19: Ford’s Filling Station Pizzeria with Chef Ben Ford

Screen shot 2013-08-28 at 12.41.02 PMScreen shot 2013-08-28 at 1.31.09 PMUPDATE:  ZAHAV PIZZERIA PHOTO MADNESS IS UP! CHECK IT OUT AND THANKS FOR THE FUN TIMES MIKE AND TOM.  #LAFFAFORLIFE #SURFSUPMIAMI  : )

We take a super quick break in September and are excited to announce Ford’s Filling Station Pizzeria with chef Benjamin Ford coming to Harry’s on Tuesday, October 1 at 7:00 p.m.!

Ben is known not only for his creative techniques, but also for his innate understanding of the ingredients in his dishes, which celebrate the cycle of life and freshness of the earth. In 2006, he opened Ford’s Filling Station in Culver City, California, serving seasonal food for the people of the community. Designed to be casual, open and familiar, the room is full of artifacts from Ben’s life, his books are on the shelves, and his music plays on the stereo. It’s a soulful space, a place of substance to come and revive the senses and refuel the mind, body and spirit. The “Filling Station” metaphor and slogan “Fuel No Gas” are representative of a place to come to fill up on all the good things in life.

WE LIKE THAT!

So 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, April Bloomfield, Bill Telepan, Joey Campanaro, Jeff Michaud, Matthew Accarrino and Michael Solomonov, Michael is thrilled to invite chef Ben Ford to take over Harry’s Pizzeria. The menu is being set next week, but first a recipe for Ben’s welcome cocktail to get things buzzing.  Click here for the just released tickets!

Bee Sting
Add 1oz Fresh Lemon Juice, .5oz Mint Honey Syrup, and 2 dashes Angostura Bitters in shaker with ice and shake gently, to chill but not over water down. Strain into 14oz Collins glass over ice Add 1.5oz ginger beer.  Fill with IPA, Sculpin if you can find it.  Garnish with a fresh mint sprig.

Going MAD to Stay Sane & Planting Seeds for New Beginnings

Screen shot 2013-08-26 at 12.06.55 PMIt’s back to school for the youngsters, and with it a rush of new beginnings and inspiration. In Copenhagen this weekend, the third annual MAD Symposium engaged chefs, cooks and farmers in a platform for idea-sharing, collaboration and learning. A catalyst resulting in grassroots change with global purpose. You can follow along and view past videos on the MAD website and blog. Today, California chef David Kinch presented on how restaurants can set up their own farms. Bravo to the organizers for bringing important conversations to the table, stimulating our own creativity and challenging us to think differently.

Here at home, South Florida farmers are readying for the upcoming winter/spring 2014 season, and for the first time The Genuine Hospitality Group chefs are working with forager Chris Padin to identify new heirloom ingredients to grow with them.

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[UPDATED] The Recipe for a Great Summer Salad May Not Be a Recipe at All

Update: Eric Larkee is the MAN! Here are the wines we tasted today — incidentally available at various genuine venues below — along with Chef’s kick-butt salads.

Rose
-Prieure de Montezargues, Tavel, France 2011 (Grenache Blend) VINTAGES-Schloss Gobelsburg, Gobelsburger, Kamptal, Austria 2012 (Zweigelt) MICHAEL’S GENUINE FOOD & DRINK
-Lucien Crochet, Sancerre, France 2011 (Pinot Noir) MICHAEL’S GENUINE FOOD & DRINK
-La Croix de Carbonnieux, Bordeaux, France 2012 (Cabernet Sauvignon & Merlot) MICHAEL’S GENUINE FOOD & DRINK
Sparkling
-Bollinger, Special Cuvee, Champagne, France NV MICHAEL’S GENUINE FOOD & DRINK AND ARTISAN AT 150 CENTRAL PARK
White
-Bonci, Carpaneto Vineyard, Castelli di Jesi, Marche, Italy 2009 (Verdicchio) ARTISAN AT 150 CENTRAL PARK

FLORIDA LOBSTER AND LYCHEE SALAD butter lettuce, avocado, pickled onion, macadamia nuts, jade dressingFLORIDA LOBSTER AND LYCHEE SALAD rice noodles, bean sprouts, coconut milk, puffed rice About one year ago today, then guest blogger Emily Codik offered up Michael’s keys to building a great salad, using as an example one of his best recipes and a personal favorite — Butter Lettuce with orange, hazelnuts, avocado and shallot-hazelnut vinaigrette. We now find ourselves aboard Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas, sailing the warm waters of the eastern Caribbean to St. Thomas in the height of what has shaped up to be a particularly hot summer in the tropics and craving food to match.

Somewhere in the Atlantic!

Somewhere in the Atlantic!

Sea days also mean everyone’s on the ship – all 4,000 plus passengers – each looking for stuff to do. For us, it means we have an opportunity to gather a small group of people inside 150 Central Park to share what’s new here now that Michael has only recently taken over the menus like we have done for a couple of years now on sister ship Oasis. What better way to share that than a new summer salad recipe or two presented with wines that love them, in the good hands of Chef and The Genuine Hospitality Group wine director Eric Larkee.

150 demo invitation_pic

We’ll post some photos and video later of the dynamic duo in action… Stay tuned!

We’re starting by taking a page from Michael’s cookbook and the upcoming “Artisan” menu here with Florida Lobster and Lychee Salad with avocado, toasted hazelnuts, pickled onions, and jade dressing. Here local lychees are subbed for papaya, since we just had a killer season in Homestead! Then, it’s even further outside of the confines of the recipe and wine boxes… Using a few great ingredients from great sources and having some basics down (of which there is a dedicated section in MICHAEL’S GENUINE FOOD,) you can make DIY salads all the time and know what to drink with them. It’s what we did in building the summer dishes and Royal Pairings for the ship, including another variation of the Lobster salad, pictured above and on the current “Meadow” menu. Relax. It’s summer, and we’re cruising.

Florida Lobster Salad with Avocado, Papaya & Jade Dressing from MICHAEL’S GENUINE FOOD: Down-to-Earth Cooking for People Who Love to Eat by Michael Schwartz

Homecoming Means Going for Special Ops Chef Thomas Tennant

IMG_8271

Thomas in The Cypress Room kitchen in June.

Thomas Tennant began working in the Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink kitchen in September of 2007.   Since then, we as a company have grown from one restaurant to four in Miami, one in Grand Cayman, and two sailing the high seas of the eastern and western Caribbean. Chef Thomas has been there through it all, most recently on the rock.  After working the line and sousing at our flagship for three years, Thomas chose to accept chef Michael’s mission of opening chef de cuisine in Grand Cayman, not a walk in the park.  First, the job required a skilled chef immersed in the genuine ways to make sure Michael’s vision was executed to a “t” in the kitchen.  Thomas did so with passion and his endless stream of fearless creativity.  He not only led and garnered the respect of his back-of-house team, but also of the people on island, not an easy feat for a foreigner.  With patience and determination, he reached out to the community, made friends with farmers, and integrated into island life like pate to crostini.

I think we can all agree Thomas earned his stripes.  So when it was time for him to return stateside, another mission was waiting for him.  Well-armed with his gift of adaptation, our new special ops chef dove head first into a number of Schwartzprojects.  First up, Royal Caribbean, and learning the ropes of our 150 Central Park program, including local ingredient provisioning, inputting recipes into its ‘Master Cook’ system, testing them, and finally implementing new menus.

150 Park Sign for OA_AL Poster_Chef Michael_Winter_Meadow&Artisan_AllureAs Ellie previously posted, summer dishes were tested in June alongside Michael, Bradley, and Hedy at The Cypress Room with the help of 150 Central Park chef de cuisine Dominic Bradshaw.  Thomas got his first taste of shiplife on Saturday, July 27 when he boarded the Oasis of the Seas for his maiden sailing and service in the galley, implementing summer’s “Meadow” and “Artisan”.  With Michael, Eric and I heading out on sister ship Allure of the Seas this Sunday to do the same, and Thomas at the gate in MIA waiting to board a flight to check back in with Grand Cayman for a few days, we rang him up to chat about his impressions of shiplife — from what happens when the pasta machine breaks down 10 minutes into prep, to how many languages he can now say “Thank You” in.

TGK:  So when I tell people I’m heading out on a sailing, they think of poolside daiquiris and a great tan.  “You’re going on vacation!” they insist.

Thomas Tennant: Yea… no. You kind of work all day. You work, you work, you work, you take a break and then you work again.

TGK:  Were you prepared for the experience? Was it what you expected?

TT:  It’s a very diverse crew, very international.  Lots of Filipinos and Indonesians, some Europeans, and lots of island people.  It was something familiar from living in Grand Cayman, so in that way it was a smooth transition in terms of learning how to communicate and work with the staff in the galley. I also made sure to get off the ship for a few hours when we were in port, especially in St. Thomas which is a US Virgin Island, to take advantage of the cell service! 

TGK:  What is the key to survival on the ship as a chef?

TT: The key is making it work through adaptability… Sometimes you don’t have an ingredient so you need to be flexible and use good judgement.  Some employees are still in training mode, but they are open to constructive criticism.  They have a strong work ethic, and everyone is open and welcoming.  Shiplife is all about the ultimate hospitality, not just to the guests, but to each other as crewmates.  Everyone lives together and works together.  That’s over 2000 employees, and you become acquainted real quick.  By the end of that week, I was already speaking three new languages.  Everyone is friendly if only just by virtue of having to get along.  The worst thing you can be disciplined with a notice from the captain. No one wants that!  

TGK:  Talk to me a little about what it’s like working in the galley?

TT:  There’s a little bit of translation from the written recipe to application that needs to happen for the staff to understand. They read the recipes, and because English isn’t their first language, you tell them to butter a steak, and they may think you mean to put a pat of butter on it.  All of them have some sort of classical training before they get on the ship.  I can’t tell you how many cooks would come up to me and show me their certifications and paperwork from the courses they passed.  The galley at 150 has the cream of the crop.  The cooks there want to be there and it’s sort of a badge of honor.  The most important thing is the discipline and structure.  No one would dare question the chef’s direction.  That just does not happen.  The culture is very different in that way from restaurants on land.  The captain is the only 5 stripe officer on the ship and the chain of command descends from there.  You have 4s and 3 1/2s and so on… These controls allow the ship to function. 

9366583638_cbacf6161b_bTGK:  Did anything go wrong that you were forced to adapt to on the fly?

Ingredient-wise, the only thing that didn’t make it on the ship were the bing cherries so we use Amarena instead. cherries…  Michael showed us another way to form the ruccoli pastas, and one of the comis (line cook) did it differently, sideways with his fingers, but it achieved a better result because it was more efficient.  Michael is always pushing the team to work better and innovate no matter how seemingly small a task may be.  We make thousands of pieces of ruccoli pasta… so every second counts.  Also our cavatelli machine broke within 10 minutes of using it.  I thought to myself oops we’re on a ship, there’s nothing we can do about it.  But the guys called engineering and after little welding and readjusting on the gears, it actually worked better than before!

TGK:  How has the response been to the new menus?  Any dishes in particular stand out to you?

TT:  One of my personal favorites is the rock shrimp salad at MGFD, and it translated really well with the lobster salad… That dish was the most talked about! Everyone really loved that, especially the jade dressing. The venison and the sausage also came back with a lot of clean plates, if they order it.  Substitutions on the ship especially in the main dining room are par for the course so that was something that required getting used to.  Also Hedy’s quattro leches.  Oh man, I didn’t stop hearing about that one!

Menu Announcement: Zahav Pizzeria with James Beard Award-Winning Chef Michael Solomonov

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If you’ve attended one of our chef pop-up dinners at Harry’s Pizzeria, the new wall of memories collaged by manager Christine Susu should bring a smile to your face and a warm, fuzzy feeling to your belly.  If you haven’t yet (yet being the operative word here,) the good news is that this dinner series in its second year and booking now through 2014 is here to stay.  It is, after all, the people that make these events stick.  The endless parade of smiles, high fives and rounds of applause that our guest chefs bring to the table accompanied by their delicious menus, each uniquely their own but so similar in the heart behind them.

And then there’s the food, and the opportunity to dine at a restaurant in a city sometimes thousands of miles away without leaving our little corner of Miami’s Design District neighborhood.  On Tuesday, August 27, a little bit of Israel comes with a lot of Philadelphia at Zahav Pizzeria, and we are proud to share what chef Mike Solomonov has cooked up for his pop, here for the first time and as the chefs begin readying their prep lists at the restaurant.  It’s going to be another one for the memory wall.  Mike says he’s bringing us some Federal Doughnuts, t-shirts are the take home gift, made special just for this event.  Too. much. fun.  So chill out, check out the menu below, and click here for… FUN!

Zahav Pizzeria

Welcome
Lemonnana  whiskey, lemon, mint

Passed
Lamb Tartare
Chopped Liver with cucumber
Watermelon with feta, dill and olive
Pizza  Zahav lamb ‘bresola’ with goat cheese and artichoke

First/Salatim
Hummus tehina with fresh laffa bread
Beets with tehina
Twice-cooked eggplant
Israeli Salad with Zahav olives

Second/Mezze
Fried Cauliflower with green labaneh
Crispy Haloumi with golden raisins and pine nuts
Local Fish Crudo with orange and olive

Third
Lamb Shoulder in pomegranate molasses with chickpeas and mint
Persian Rice
Spiced Carrots with sumac

Dessert
Konafi stuffed with chocolate, labaneh ice cream