From Pizza Class To Food Festivals, Be Party To These Upcoming Genuine Events

Even the most typical of dinner services at our restaurants can feel like a party. The energy of the environment and surprises from any number of variables affect a dining experience — something as simple as a new bottle of Riesling on the list or the arrival stone crabs to the raw bar — are what keep us in this business and you coming back for more.  When we can collaborate with people inside and outside our organization that make it extra special, that’s cause for extraordinary celebration. Here are three such opportunities!  As Michael heads to #NYCWFF this weekend to cook with Dan Kluger, get a jump start on the action coming to a genuine restaurant near you. Tickets are a click away below, until they’re not!

Florence in the genuine house.

MICHAEL’S GENUINE® FOOD & DRINK – South Beach Wine & Food Festival presents Dinner Hosted by Tyler Florence and Michael Schwartz – Thursday, February 21, 7-10PM  [TICKETS HERE]
The South Florida favorite known for putting Miami’s fashionable Design District neighborhood on the culinary map lights up with the force behind successful California restaurants Wayfare Tavern, El Paseo and Tyler Florence Rotisserie & Wine. He may be a fan-favorite Food Network personality known for the hit series The Great Food Truck Race and cookbook author but we know Tyler as a Chef first — and one who cooks pretty much the ultimate of everything.  We can’t wait to see what this collab produces, an East and West Coast explosion of flavor accompanied by wines from the Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits portfolio.

AMARA AT PARAISO –South Beach Wine & Food Festival presents Dinner Hosted by Greg & Gabrielle Denton and Michael Schwartz -Friday, February 22, 7-10PM  [SOLD OUT]
It’s no surprise that South Florida favorite Chef Michael Schwartz’s new Amara at Paraiso in Edgewater is the most buzzed about new waterfront restaurant in town. This James Beard Award-winning chef has created an oasis that embraces the dynamic energy of the Magic City and serves up bold Latin American flavors that pay homage to the city’s diverse culture. He’s joined by the James Beard Award-winning husband and wife chef duo Greg and Gabrielle Denton, the grilling cookbook authors and force behind the much buzzed about Argentinean grill Ox and newly opened Bistro Agnes in Portland, OR. Enjoy this cross-country melding of flavors, accompanied by perfectly paired wines from the Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits portfolio, in the heart of downtown Miami.

GENUINE PIZZA Pizza-Making Class & Dinner (Aventura Mall) – Thursday, October 25, 7-9PM  [TICKETS HERE]
A fun night out with the family is about more than just gathering around the table. Get your hands doughy and eat your pizza too! Everyone’s happy on third Thursdays, when Chef Michael Schwartz’s casual pizza restaurant holds a monthly pizza-making experience to teach you how to shape perfect pies with a meal along the way.  Hosted by pizza trainer Blair Anderson at our Aventura Mall location, bring the kids, friends, a date, you name it — we have the fun covered.  Make your own pizzas, with toppings just the way you want them with a Pizza Kit to take home to make it easy to practice what you learned in your kitchen.  $29 includes 4 Courses, Assorted Snacks — Salads — Make-Your-Own Pizza — Panna Cotta and a take-home pizza making kit with recipe and ingredients.  Tax & gratuity not included. Wine, beer, sangria and full beverage menu available for purchase on consumption.

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Wellness in the Schools is Right on Target in Broward County Public Schools!

Like father, like son!  Class is always in session with Wellness in the Schools and last night was no exception at Wynwood Yard where we celebrated some important school year-end milestones with cooking class led by Chef and inspired by recipes from Genuine Pizza and Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink, with help from Harry Schwartz and TGHG culinary assistant Brandon Green.  The tireless team behind this cause close to our hearts in NYC and Miami reached this year’s goals with the Broward County Food & Nutrition Services including first annual Cook Camps.  This week they will train 10 new schools and their cafeteria staff on new menu items from local chef partners including:  Michael Schwartz Kale inspired Pizza, Clarke Bowen’s Black Bean and Plantain Quesadilla, Chef Aria’s Pesto Panini, Roasted Veggies from Chef Julie Frans, and Whole Foods Pesto Pasta with Tomatoes.

Back in October, when Chef launched the Kale Pizza at McNicol Middle School, he got to experience a day in the life of the cafeteria. Spending time with Ms. Naomi, the heartbeat of that kitchen, the students and watching them try a new food item such as Kale, made his day.   Every chef who participated in “Chefs Move to Broward” worked to generate excitement in the cafeteria, amongst the students and to get their recipe on the line!  Next year will only get better.  Amazing job as always by NYC founding leaders Nancy Easton and chef Bill Telepan and the team on the ground in Miami led by Allyce Perret-Gentil, our in-school chef partner Leonor Azpurua, and so many more.   As Michael says, they do all the work! We’re just humbled to be along for the ride.  Here are the recipes from last night’s festivities for your home use.

Fairytale Eggplant & the Novel of South Florida’s Growing Season Charms

Beautiful Fairytale Eggplant from Mother Earth Miami

Michael’s Genuine® chef de cuisine Tim Piazza has his hands in a box of artichokes.  Peeling them, especially baby ones, is not exactly a stimulating activity, but Tim is wearing one of his wide-eyed smiles, the one that makes him look a little crazy.  Spring is here, and he is clearly in the zone.

“Last night Mother Earth harvested like 50 pounds of greens in the dark with little headlights, because that’s the best time to harvest greens — at night when the temperature cools down,” Tim explains.  “Katia just grows like the nicest, coolest stuff.”

Mother Earth Miami, sprouting from Litter River Cooperative’s Farmer Incubator Program, is a new source for us this season, with Tim bringing in vegetables and greens like turnip, carrot, spigariello kale and fairytale eggplant. This kind of organic growth in the local farming community is a definite reason to get excited. And to make Eggplant Tomato Curry.

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Eggplant Tomato Curry

The combination of Indian spices and local ingredients has proven to be a hit, maximizing the flavor potential of a curry.  Roasted eggplant is sautéed with cinnamon, star anise, cardamom, coriander, cumin, black pepper, lemon pepper, fenugreek, and fennel seed, served at room temperature with lightly-marinated chickpeas, some cilantro and a freshly-made cucumber raita served with a side of fresh pita.

“It’s cool to work with people who care about what they’re doing and are trying new things,” Tim continues. “Getting good ingredients helps us elevate the simplicity of what we do and these relationships are essential to the process.”

Katia last year at a pre-opening wine tasting for staff at Amara.

Ms. Bechara, a wine rep by trade raised in Colombia found she had a green thumb and founded Mother Earth Miami in November 2015.  The move began in her backyard after participating in various small farmer workshops with experienced leaders like Margie Pikarsky of Bee Heaven Farm in Homestead and John Gentzel of J&P Apiary.

“It was the best canvas for my budding farming career,” says Bechara of her impromptu home project.

She volunteered for urban farmer Muriel Olivares in 2013, to learn the ropes from one of the best who started small.  Olivares chose her last spring to participate in the incubator. Designed to educate and give urban farmers starting out that extra boost for success, it provides them with a plot of land and shared farm tools, as well as classes.  It’s the ultimate small business resource when you deal in seeds and soil.

“I consider Muriel, and Tiffany Noe, my mentors,” says Bechara.

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Gabi (left) and Katia working together

Her current business partner and friend, Gabi Serra, was a plot neighbor in the program.  Born and raised in Venezuela, Serra’s focus on the herbalism side of farming brings great balance to Mother Earth’s proposition. They also grow edible flowers, herbs, and medicinals like calendula, nasturtiums, and moringa.

“Gabi and I love working together and we have so many aspirations to help the Miami community,” say Berchara.

At its peak, South Florida’s growing season always brings fresh, local ingredients to our doorstep thanks to new farms like Mother Earth.  Their passion is contagious and brings new ideas to the kitchen.   But it’s the mainstays that keep the flagship humming.  With its 11th anniversary this week, Michael’s Genuine® Food & Drink continues to be the nucleus of activity for seasonal change, a north star for our restaurant group, setting the tone and the bar for our chefs. If you want to get a taste of what’s happening now in the fields and who is growing what you’re eating, you need look no further that Tim’s menu.

“So it’s really coming in now from everywhere… the tomatoes from Borek are obviously a big thing for us. The run is pretty long from the end of last year but they’re peaking right now, along with the kale and eggplant,” he says. “With a restaurant that moves so much, we have to stay on our toes and utilize the farm products we order in many different ways you know; in a pasta, on a pizza, with a salad, maybe showcase it in a dish of its own like we are doing with the eggplant.”

There’s always a method to the madness. But that madness is familiar to those in our line of work.

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Tomatoes from Teena’s Pride

Working with farmers is an ever-changing, ongoing process that he’s constantly adapting to. He’s currently working with 5 or 6 farms, with familiar names such as Michael Borek’s Teena’s Pride, who we receive beautiful heirloom tomatoes from, amongst other things, every season.

When asked what he was most excited to work with ingredient-wise this season, he simply shrugged with a baffled look on his face.  Always working with what he receives and changing things up, or using standard products in new ways — it is hard for him to narrow it down.

“As a chef, you are excited about everything.”

Let Them Eat Kale Pizza for World Food Day

Testing a few versions for the final recipe with WITS chef Laura Culbreth.

Today we bring Kale pizza out of the restaurant and into the cafeteria for World Food Day!  Our effort continues this new school year to support Wellness in the Schools’ work in South Florida to improve what’s on kid’s plates and educate them on healthy eating in the process.  Chef will visit McNicol Middle School in Hollywood at lunch to serve a made-from-scratch Kale Pizza recipe inspired by a menu favorite at Harry’s Pizzeria, sourced and approved by Broward County Public Schools’ Food & Nutrition services.  It’s amazing to know that whole wheat dough, caramelized onions and fresh kale will be on the line! Michael is the South Florida Chef Ambassador to the NYC based non-profit organization, now initiating “Wellness Chefs Move to Broward” after a successful launch last year.  We laid the groundwork for kid-approval too for this recipe, hosting WITS chef Chef Leonor Azpurua and her students at Harry’s Pizzeria in the Miami Design District for a field trip in the spring.  They were able to watch how our pizza is made from flour to table and hear from our kitchen team first-hand.  Chef Leonor said the kids enjoyed the Kale Pizza more than any other pizza they tried. “It was amazing watching the children asking for more kale, and then hearing about it on the bus ride home!”

McNicol approves of Harry’s.

Each month, a local chef will introduce a new scratch cooked menu item to the cafeteria, culminating in nine new healthy and delicious recipes for the Broward school lunch menu, kicking off today with Kale Pizza. WITS chefs in each school will prepare the pizza and train Broward cooks for continued implementation. Each month a new Chef Partner will launch one of their recipes. The goal is to bring serve new healthy restaurant style dishes meals to the children!  Thank you to our restaurant chef partners for their work, including Clark Bowen (Bistro Moderne), Aaron Brooks (Edge Steak & Bar), Julie Frans (Wynwood Yard), Aria Kagan (Whole Foods Market), and Chef Bill Telepan (Oceana, NYC).

Wellness in the Schools is a national non-profit that teaches kids healthy habits to learn and live better. They partner with public schools to provide nutrition and fitness education, healthy scratch-cooked meals and active recess periods. Trained culinary graduates partner with cafeteria staff to feed kids real food, and fitness coaches encourage schools to let kids play. Our approach improves student outcomes and drives systemic, long-term change, shifting school cultures and ultimately fighting the childhood obesity epidemic.

Follow along @harryspizzeria and @wellnessintheschools, one recipe at a time.

Pesto in Your Pie Whole | A Slice of Harry’s Pizzeria® at a Whole Foods Market Near You This Summer

Harry’s pesto pizza has been a staple on the menu at Michael’s American pizzeria since day one. Might have something to do with his favorite ingredient!

Sometimes things start from a seed and grow in the right ways when you care for them, like our partnership with Wellness in the Schools.  It’s especially gratifying when the results are sweetened by a delicious and surprising biproduct, like the Harry’s Pizzeria® Pesto Pizza turning up at Whole Foods Market’s South Florida stores beginning this weekend!

As fearless founder Nancy Easton’s New York City-based non profit heads into its second school year of work here in Miami-Dade and Broward counties, we are more poised than ever to improve cafeteria food one lunch at a time working with a task force of local chefs.  Thanks to shared values — and love of good food — we found ourselves at the table with Whole Foods Market, even matching its pledge of 5% of sales on January 10 to raise a combined $44,000 and further WITS’ penetration down here.  Huge thanks to Michael and Harry’s Holdings CEO Sunil Bhatt for their commitment to this cause!

In the spirit of getting to know each other better and having some fun since, well, that’s what summer is for, you can now enjoy the Pesto Pizza by the slice and whole pie available for purchase at all 13 Whole Foods Market Pizza Bars from Palm Beach County down to Miami-Dade.  Pick up a recipe card to try your hand at home with all the ingredients, including dough, heirloom tomatoes and Mozzarita mozzarella, sourced right there in the store.  You can also purchase Michael’s dough fresh at all three Harry’s Pizzeria locations.  Thank you to the Florida region’s Carlye Wisliceny, marketing field coordinator and Brian Collaro, prepared foods coordinator and WITS Chef, for the opportunity.  It’s been a fun exercise pulling it together, and we couldn’t do it right without The Genuine Hospitality Group’s culinary team to support on recipes and training from chef Megan Hess in-store.  For participating Whole Foods Market stores near you including hours, visit its website or your nearest Google toolbar.  Make sure to tag #summeratharrys, @wholefoodsmiami and @harryspizzeria to share your slice of the pie!