Joyce to the World of Grass-Fed Beef

From soil health to genetics, North Carolina-based Joyce Farms does grass-fed beef right, because that’s the only way Ron Joyce knows. Standing behind the tasty intersection of tradition, science and passion, Joyce’s energy is palpable through the phone as we recount how a jet-setting French chick became a worldwide calling to find lost heritage breeds and do the work to raise them the way they’re supposed to be raised.

“No day is ever the same,” he says. “We were in meetings on Friday, and then I saw your missed call.  It’s one foot in this year and one foot in the next.”

In November, Amara at Paraiso chef Michael Paley and senior sous Max Makowski paid Joyce Farms a visit to check in on his product mix and talk sourcing for our new restaurant’s menu including dry-aged grass-fed ribeye.  So for about a month now, I’ve been wanting to catch up with this man behind one of the most exciting ranching operations in the U.S.  It’s been much longer than that since we last connected — on Michael’s first visit in 2010 to get acquainted with the now so familiar bird on the Michael’s Genuine menu — Poulet Rouge.  Joyce left one of those impressions that sticks with you, though.  Something in his voice rang true.  Genuine…  The same voice greeted me on the phone last week, but with news to share about the his consortium of farms, the company’s focused growth and his current projects that have our ears perked.

“People eat our beef and they can’t believe the flavor. They also can’t believe it’s raised 100% on grass,” he says. “I cringe when my friends say it’s rough and you have to get used to the difference in taste. Most grass-fed beef isn’t appetizing, because it’s complicated to produce, and most are doing it wrong. This is unfortunate of course for everyone trying to do it right.”

Aberdeen Angus

Doing it right we learn is more scientific than we could have ever imagined, not to mention more expensive.  Ron explains that people tend to forget grain has been status quo since WWII. Corn is cheap, but it’s not natural and collateral damage included a shift in fat content from unsaturated to saturated, an increase in the presence of E. coli, and a change in the pH of the meat.

“When Michael Pollen published The Omnivore’s Dilemma, it was a game changer,” Joyce says. “Demand outpaced supply for grass-fed.  People were gravitating to it for the health benefits, like better Omega 6 to 3 ratio.”

The whole thing started with Poulet Rouge, and Joyce blames his father, who was with another livestock company in the ’50s and ’60s.  He would talk about how disappointed he was in how chicken had changed.

“As a younger person I put that off thinking this is about a guy getting older lamenting about the past and ‘the good old days’,” he explains.  “But then other people started saying the same thing. And then I went to France which changed everything. It made me realize that people don’t remember here in the States how it used to be.  Only the older folks do!”

Joyce explains that in Europe, they’re called industrial chickens, and most butcher shops, a fixture in every neighborhood, don’t sell industrial.  “You have a choice over there, and in many ways that’s the short term goal here.”

Chef Paley, chef Max and the team at Amara during one of four preview dinners this week. With the Art Basel pop-up wrapped, it’s time to shift gears for opening in January.

This chicken problem was the problem that got him started, and the French helped him chose the Label Rouge, a naked neck bird with thin skin at half the thickness of its industrial counterparts that renders crispy. It took Joyce a while to break even, but after they made these birds sustainable the question was naturally, what else?  In America it has been cheap and large for decades. The meat and poultry is market driven here.  It’s a give-the-people-what-they-want mentality that can be poison for a food system.  And labels aren’t helping.  They can be downright misleading. Free-range this, and pastured that.  Semantics, however, mean something.  They can mean everything. Create a movement, even.

“Chefs were asking do you know anyone doing great grass-fed?,” he continues. “They would say how they’d get requests, and then dishes would be sent back! Feedback was that it tasted gamey and livery. Something wasn’t right and I knew it didn’t have to be that way. Then we found Allen.”

Disillusioned with what universities were researching and teaching on big Ag’s dime, this farmer, Dr. Allen Williams gathered a band of rebels and dropped out of the system to form a consultancy and started working on cattle.  They found that the genetics in the animal had changed to be efficient on corn.

Allen Williams, Joyce’s soil guy.

“The animals simply didn’t do well on grass anymore,” Joyce explains. “Everything in a pasture has a purpose. If you plant a monoculture, one kind of grass and the grass is too green you get minerals and that off-putting taste. Fertilizer kills all the natural organic matter, especially weeds which are a natural dewormer.”

With no choice but to go back to the trough, a farm can get sucked into a viscous cycle that eventually kills everything. Soil becomes compacted. It loses the ability to absorb water, so there’s runoff and loss of top soil. “Animals have a strong sense of what they need to eat it, but if it’s not there.”

No grain finishing here, just fire for the Aberdeen Angus ribeye.

Now the company’s genetics and foraging expert, Dr. Williams is a sixth generation farmer and holds a B.S. and M.S. in Animal Science from Clemson University and a
Ph.D. in Genetics & Reproductive Physiology from LSU.  He has focused on soil and regenerative farming techniques to develop a grazing cocktail for the cattle comprised of 18-24 different plants including legume. Happy cows indeed. In three years, they were able to lower impact costs and eliminate use of pesticides and insecticides. This is not what your extension agent is telling you to do. This is not only maintaining soil health through a natural process, but restoring pastures to the way it used to be.  Bison will be next, the ultimate expression of this principle, because of course, prairie animals don’t belong on feed lots and there are only a handful of suppliers even doing grass.  Joyce will be field harvesting, because bison don’t like to be handled and agitation manifests bad flavors in the final product.  It’s a full-on, holistic approach to the entire ecosystem around commercial livestock and a commitment to doing it right.

“This doesn’t work if you grab a jug every time to see a pest. You have to rethink what that bug is,” he reflects.  “It’s not actually a pest. It’s an insect, and the good ones out number the bad”

[UPDATE] You Gift… We Gift Card Back!

HAPPY HOLIDAY SHOPPING! Kick back and enjoy our gift of thanks.

BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND!   We are extending our terms of endearment for one more week.  Until, December 24.  Same links below apply.  Happy gifting!

From Thanksgiving Monday, November 20 through Cyber Monday, November 27, stop by our restaurants, or order online to receive $20 for every $100 spent in Gift Cards. You can purchase physical Gift Cards or our new eGift Cards which can be sent right away to friends and family! Buy three $100 Michael’s Genuine cards, get three complimentary $20 Michael’s Genuine cards at the time of purchase. Buy two $50 Harry’s Pizzeria cards, get one complimentary $20 Harry’s Pizzeria card.

The deal is available for purchase on site at Michael’s Genuine® Food & Drink, Ella Pop Café and all Harry’s Pizzeria® locations. To purchase eGift cards online now and throughout the holiday season from the soon to open Genuine Pizza, follow the eGift Card links below or visit genuinepizza.com!

PASSIONATE ABOUT OUR FAVORITE FOOD
The Marra Forni oven is being cured and the signage hoisted. Get ready to experience honest ingredients, chef-inspired combinations and a thoughtful process at Genuine Pizza in the Aventura Mall as we prep for opening later this month.

Genuine Pizza eGift Card

Fresh, Simple, Pure
Our flagship restaurant in the Miami Design District has been shopping for season and the outlook from our favorite local farms is bountiful! Get taste of what’s growing, prepared simple and delicious, from squash blossoms to eggplant.

Michael’s Genuine® eGift Card

130 NE 40th Street, Miami, FL 33137
305.573.5550

BOLD, COASTAL, LATIN AMERICAN
Michael’s love letter to Miami is also his first waterfront restaurant. Grab the gift of the most anticipated new restaurant of the season… before it opens in January! We are firing up the Josper charcoal grill-oven and getting ready to serve a taste of what’s to come at our pop up in December (tickets here). While we get a jumpstart on opening, you can give the gift of the Amara experience now.

Amara at Paraiso Pop Up 

Neighborhood American Pizzeria
Our original place for pies is your happy place with three locations pumping out your favorite snacks, salads, pizza, entrées and dessert just like they always have in Coconut Grove, the Miami Design District and Downtown Dadeland.

Harry’s Pizzeria® eGift Card

Light & Airy Café
Ella is always ready for a celebration. From our new homemade holiday pies available for pre-order now to daily treats made fresh from our pastry team, there’s something to enjoy or share with the people you love. It’s the little things that make it special!

Ella Pop eGift Card

140 NE 39th Street, Unit 136, Miami, FL 33137
786.534.8177

SEE OUR FULL LIST OF HOLIDAY HOURS

Genuine Holiday Hours | Here’s When to Eat, Drink & Be Merry at Our Restaurants

We look forward to spending the most wonderful time of the year with the most wonderful people.  Here are our 2017 Holiday Hours to help you plan your festive gatherings with us and those you love!  For catered events and large party private dining, please contact Lindsay Guidos at MICHAEL SCHWARTZ EVENTS.

MICHAEL’S GENUINE® FOOD & DRINK
Thanksgiving
 | Thursday, November 23: Closed
Christmas Eve | Sunday, December 24:
Open for Brunch and dinner until 10:00pm.
Christmas Day | Monday, December 25: Closed
New Year’s Eve | Sunday, December 31:
Open for Brunch and dinner until Midnight
New Year’s Day 2018 | Monday, January 1, 2018:
Open for lunch regular hours and dinner: 5:30 – 11:00pm
Regular Hours of Operation
Brunch: Sunday 11am – 3pm
Lunch: Monday – Saturday 11:30 am – 3pm
Afternoon: Monday – Sunday 3 – 5:30pm
Dinner:  Monday – Thursday 5:30 – 11pm, Friday and Saturday 5:30pm – Midnight, Sunday 5:30 – 10pm
Genuine Happy Hour: 1/2 off oysters, snacks, cocktails, wine & beer 4:30-7:30 weekdays at the bar

HARRY’S PIZZERIA® [DESIGN DISTRICT, COCONUT GROVE, DOWNTOWN DADELAND]
Thanksgiving
 | Thursday, November 23: Closed
Christmas Eve | Sunday, December 24: Regular Hours
Christmas Day | Monday, December 25: Closed
New Year’s Eve | Sunday, December 31: Regular Hours
New Year’s Day 2018 | Monday, January 1, 2018: Regular Hours
Regular Hours of Operation: 
Sunday 11:30am–10pm
Monday 11:30am–11pm
Tuesday 11:30am–11pm
Wednesday 11:30am–11pm
Thursday 11:30am–11pm
Friday 11:30am–12am
Saturday 11:30am–12am

GENUINE PIZZA [AVENTURA*]
Christmas Eve 
| Sunday, December 24: Close at 8:00pm. Aventura Mall closes at 6:00pm
Christmas Day
 | Monday, December 25: Closed
New Year’s Eve 
| Sunday, December 31: Close at 10:00pm.  Mall closes at 7:00pm
New Year’s Day 2018
 | Monday, January 1, 2018: Regular Hours
Regular Hours of Operation: 
Sunday 11:30am–10pm
Monday 11:30am–11pm
Tuesday 11:30am–11pm
Wednesday 11:30am–11pm
Thursday 11:30am–11pm
Friday 11:30am–12am
Saturday 11:30am–12am
*ATLANTA TBD

ELLA
Thanksgiving
 | Thursday, November 23: Closed
Christmas Eve
 | Sunday, December 24: 11am – 5pm
Christmas Day
 | Monday, December 25: Closed
New Year’s Eve
 | Sunday, December 31: 11am – 5pm
New Year’s Day 2018 
| Monday, January 1, 2018: 11am – 6pm
Regular Hours of Operation: 
Monday – Saturday 9am – 7pm, Sunday noon – 5pm

FI’LIA
Thanksgiving
 | Thursday, November 23: Regular hours
Christmas Eve
 | Sunday, December 24: Regular hours
Christmas Day
 | Monday, December 25: Regular hours
New Year’s Eve
 | Sunday, December 31: Regular hours
New Year’s Day 2018 
| Monday, January 1, 2018: Regular hours
Regular Hours of Operation: 
Sunday 7am–10:30pm
Monday 7am–10:30pm
Tuesday 7am–10:30pm
Wednesday 7am–10:30pm
Thursday 7am–10:30pm
Friday 7am–12am
Saturday 7am–12am

 

When a Just Ok Bagel Is Not Good Enough, The Genuine Commissary Dials in the Schwartz Recipe

“MJ always has to touch the dough.  Always,” explains Chelsea Hillier, assistant pastry chef.  It’s 5:56 a.m. and work on the day’s prep list has already been in motion for 30 minutes.  We’re spending the morning at the Genuine Commissary, where the energy is decidedly different than later in the day.  It’s… well… therapeutic?

To understand how a place so frenetic can glaze-coat the spirit and spark a twinkle in the eye, you have to be there. In fact, I prescribe a visit with MJ and her team to anyone afflicted with a case of sour attitude or bad day.  It’s a dose of good vibes, creative energy and inspirational collaboration like no other I’ve experienced.  Talk about knowing where our food comes from… They have their hands all over it.

“We started making the bagels because Harry and I went to brunch on Miami Beach,” chef Michael recounts. “Harry’s bagel arrived, and it was like a Lender’s. At this fancy place! I listened to myself as I justified how this could happen — that it’s too hard to make good bagels, so why go through the pain of making sure it’s done right, the extra cost and time associated.  It was then when I realized that was totally ridiculous.  We shouldn’t have to suffer through shitty bagels.  Let’s make bagels!  So Harry and I spent a few weekends after that testing recipes and figuring it out.”

Spreading the peanut butter cream to the nutter shell. Myrtille is one of several commissary staff exclusively working on-site,  not including TGHG chefs overseeing the production or popping in on any given day for recipe testing or other projects related to Michael Schwartz Events.

MJ, whose title of Pastry Chef is more and more savory these days, and Chelsea have totally embraced this thought process and put it into action, with their well-oiled machine.  It’s an exercise in “mental time management”, and to get good fitness there serves them in every aspect of functionality and productivity at the space.  That they are taking on bagels to begin with demonstrates the strength of the operation, and its steady and calculated evolution from humble beginnings in January — both in capabilities and the scope of its role. The commissary now supplies Ella Pop Café with 12 to 14 a day (“We want them to be fresh, and eliminate waste when possible, so no crazy pars,” they say) and 56 on Sunday’s for Michael’s Genuine.

“We used to do the English muffin at brunch, and Chef was like ‘I want you guys to do bagels’ and he gave us this recipe and asked us to develop it,” MJ explains. “It really came to life when we got the commissary and this (combi) oven.  There aren’t a lot of places that make them by hand, from scratch.  We just worked with the dough and used the Rational as our ally to make the best of it in a controlled environment. Before we would boil them, we were trying to be rushed at the restaurant to get it done, and they weren’t right.”

As Chelsea rolls and then rests the dough before pulling them into loops, she explains that the bagels take good chunk of time even if it is only 12 to 14. The key to bagels is keeping a clean workspace, and that also includes your hands.  You don’t want to incorporate more flour or oil than necessary, even the tiniest bit.  They need to sit and rest for the gluten to develop properly in the dough, not too much or they’ll get tense and rip, overextending like a muscle.

“It’s a time to breath and think amidst the craziness of the pace from one thing to the next. It’s like therapy,” she reflects. “The time they need depends. You need more than time to know.  You have to touch them, and use all your senses to know when.  I usually stare at the prep list and contemplate as I’m pulling them.”

Homework.

So much depends on time and timing here for it to all work, from the bagel dough and all its stages including proofing and baking, to adjustments on call times for the staff based on the work load for the week.  When the duck confit goes in for its 9 hour water bath (sous vide) at 8 a.m., you better have completed everything requiring the combi oven by then. In this way, the prep list double as a recipe, which Chef notes only serves if read all the way through before starting.  Then there’s the last minute requests, the fire drills you can’t plan for, like a downed walk-in cooler, that can set things off axis and require smart, creative thinking on the fly. It’s a business of anticipation but also of problem solving.

The day builds momentum from the instant Chelsea opens the kitchen, a mind-blowing (cue the new emoji!), eye-squinting 4:30 a.m. on Sundays.  The morning is the most hectic because because the team needs to knock out all orders for the restaurants, to supply everyone — and they want things fresh.  They base everything off Ella’s timeline so that means 8:30 a.m. delivery. On days there are early orders for Michael Schwartz Events, that could be 7:30 a.m.  Rye Butterscotch Brownie trimmings make it all better, of course. So does the surprise, creative elements unique to each day.

“We never do the same thing. Everyday is different,” Chelsea smiles.  “There are certain routines and things we need to make. Sometimes we do cupcakes or special cookies.  Whoever is making the donut gets to make what they want to make and have a creative outlet.  If we want to bring something in we always make sure we have a plan for it.  I’m working on developing the brunch menu to reflect the arrival of season.  So if I bring in pears, we find ways to cross utilize them across many restaurants and formats.”

Then there’s the fun of watching MJ and Chelsea bat back and forth like a tennis, crosschecking tasks and playing off each other’s moves and sensibilities, which are opposed in the most fluid and collaborative way.  Complementary, like any effective creative pair.

“I think everybody at the commissary really enjoys working here,” MJ reflects.  “We all come with a purpose and work equally as hard, and at the end of the day that’s what worth it.”

Introducing Genuine Pizza™ | Passionate About Our Favorite Food

Here’s to the notion we can always try harder, do more, make it nicer, work smarter, dough more precisely, fine tune the process, and be better at being genuine. Change can be scary, but we think same is scarier.  Introducing the evolution of our favorite spot for pizza, with a nod to where it all began.  Please join us in welcoming Genuine Pizza to the dance floor.  We are truly passionate about our favorite food!

This evolution has been years in the making, to see and see through an opportunity to bring more genuine pizza into the world, and we are thrilled to announce today that Harry’s Holdings, LLC. has secured a $2.5MM investment from the Florida Opportunity Fund to support the expansion of the Genuine Pizza concept.  We will unveil the first location at the Aventura Mall in November, featuring new restaurant design, branding and signage, while maintaining the popular and familiar current menu. Existing Harry’s Pizzeria locations will stay as Harry’s, but will eventually transition as we all get to know our new home.

“The new Genuine Pizza brand is not just a nod to Chef Schwartz’s flagship Michael’s Genuine Food and Drink, but also a much more appropriate articulation of our pizzeria’s mission and approach. Our use of the word Genuine is meant to portray a sincere and honest approach. Whether it is our ingredients, recipes and execution, flavor combinations or our hospitality, we strive to be Genuine in everything we do,” says Harry’s Holdings CEO Sunil Bhatt. “We are thrilled at the reception our new pizzerias in Miami’s Design District, Coconut Grove and Downtown Dadeland have received, and with the support of the Florida Opportunity Fund, we have a great opportunity to open many new Genuine Pizza locations over the next several years. For many of us, pizza is our favorite food and it is an honor and a privilege to share our interpretation more widely.”

The Florida Opportunity Fund investment will back Genuine Pizza’s rollout to 18 locations over the next few years, including Aventura (November), Atlanta (December), Cleveland and Miami Beach (2018), and Sunrise (2019). “We are excited to work with a world-class management team to bring the Genuine Pizza experience to more people in Florida and around the country,” said Jennifer Dunham, a Partner with Florida First Partners, investment advisor to the Florida Opportunity Fund.

Genuine Pizza is guided by a few important pillars: honest ingredients from trusted sources that care and make the best products; chef-curated, simple topping combinations that work great together, from someone who knows and cares; a deliberate process for doing things thoughtfully; an enthusiastic and passionate team who loves the food and approach to hospitality; a tireless effort to never settle, not only innovating with new menu items, but looking at how we can do everything better; and a sincerity and lack of pretension.


The new restaurant interior by Miami-based craft and construction firm McKenzie features light woods and simple accents like custom yellow and grey Cuban tile, orange chairs, and the yellow-tiled Marra Forni oven. The environment invites guests to experience the attention to detail first hand, at a pizza bar fronting the open kitchen and a glass-faced dough room at the entrance where the recipe is mixed, kneaded and proofed daily. The new logo design incorporates the word Genuine in script typeface with an ear of wheat at the end, to emphasize a main ingredient in the daily handmade dough.

For more information, please visit genuinepizza.com and follow on social media @genuinepizza!