[VIDEO] Stewarding the Genuine Culture | Our Growing Restaurant Group’s Fall Job Fair is Today!

It’s that time again! We are excited to announce our fall job fair, which will take place TODAY, Thursday, October 12 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at our corporate headquarters, 3936 North Miami Avenue on the second floor (above Harry’s Pizzeria in the Miami Design District!)

Michael’s philosophy is simple, and it permeates every aspect of our business as stewarded by our people. Genuine is a thoughtful approach — not just making food that tastes great from quality ingredients, but a tireless, it-can-always-be-better attention to detail in every aspect of the dining experience.  We are laser focused on growing the company with great people who have a passion and desire to contribute to this Genuine Culture, and regular job fairs are a perfect way for representatives from each restaurant to meet with potential candidates to find the right fit! We are looking for dependable, reliable and professional staff members with great attitudes and personalities to join the team and help us be better at what we do. If this sounds like you and you’re inspired and motivated by a dynamic environment, apply in person with your resume.

The fair will recruit for all front and back of house positions including restaurant manager, bartender, reservationist, host/hostess, barista, pizza cook, line cook, sous chef, server, and busser. The Genuine Hospitality Group restaurants include Michael’s Genuine® Food & Drink (fresh, simple, pure), ella (light and airy café), Amara at Paraiso (coming soon!) and Harry’s Pizzeria® (neighborhood American pizzeria) which is expanding to Aventura in November, in addition to its current three locations (Miami Design District, Coconut Grove and Kendall/Pinecrest in Downtown Dadeland). Join team Michael Schwartz!

Genuine Marketing Fall Internship

Summer is about to end, and we could not be more energized for the busy season ahead, full of exciting programming and restaurant openings.  The vacation may be over but the Genuine adventure is just getting warmed up!

We are looking for a college, graduate student or recent graduate passionate about restaurants and marketing. The position will lead projects and have a big impact on our business. Specific work could include assisting the marketing staff on the launch of new restaurants across various Genuine brands; developing social media strategy and content and social metric tracking; working on local store marketing efforts for existing restaurants and formulating elements of a corporate social responsibility strategy.  Email Joel White with your resume and a cover letter to apply!

Requirements:
· start date: week of September 5th
· ability to work 20 hours a week for 12-16 weeks
· available to work on-site at The Genuine Hospitality Group offices in the Design District
· great communication skills, including writing
· self-motivated worker
· ability to develop content for blog and social media including photography and verbiage
· loves food and is a great team player
· meticulous with details and works well under pressure
· social media savvy
· Abode/Indesign knowledge a plus

Compensation:
· weekly paycheck and/or college credit
· parking expenses covered
· Lunch when at work and restaurant gift cards

Amara at Paraiso, Quintessential Miami Restaurant with Waterfront Dining, Opening November 2017

Amara at Paraiso, rendered. Our dining room view from the entrance, with open kitchen to the left and bar to the right, and the main ingredient front and center — Biscayne Bay. Out the doors to the left, outdoor seating on the water.

Chef and Restaurateur Michael Schwartz announces his first waterfront restaurant, Amara at Paraiso, the James Beard Award-winner’s love letter to Miami.  Amara at Paraiso will open in November at 3101 NE 7th Avenue on Biscayne Bay in Miami’s Edgewater neighborhood, creating the quintessential Miami dining experience from environment to cuisine to vibe. The bayside enclave will be fully open to the public and has inspired Chef and his team to cultivate a menu influenced by the bold flavors of Latin America, coastal ingredients, and the diversity that underpins Miami’s cultural identity.

“Amara at Paraiso is about the dynamic energy, local ingredients, and natural beauty that defines why we live here and why so many love to visit,” says Schwartz. “We are in the unique position to bring it all together, a sense of place that can only exist here.  It’s our love letter to Miami and why we are proud to call it home.”

Highlighting the open kitchen’s wood grill and Josper charcoal grill oven, Schwartz is building a vibrant menu around bold, clean-eating food, and cooking techniques centered around the flame. Dishes emphasize balance of acid and contrasts in temperatures and textures. Ingredients are showcased as they are meant to be enjoyed, enhanced by fragrant herbs, bright sauces, chilies and spices. Freshly-grilled, sprouted flatbreads and hand-formed savory pastries will meet sizzling, smoky platters of specialty cuts of meats and fresh, local seafood at the table. Cocktails crafted with the tropics in mind will spill good spirits out to the bay, mingling with sea grape trees and palms dotting the shore.

Flanked by Paraiso Park, Amara at Paraiso resides just two blocks east of Biscayne Boulevard off 31st Street, offering the public unimpeded access to its entrance with street and valet parking. The 4,500 square foot, indoor-outdoor space designed by Meyer Davis Studio celebrates the natural beauty of its surroundings incorporating the tropical, waterfront environment as an design element. The restaurant includes main dining room and bar seating for 150, with floor to ceiling windows offering dramatic Biscayne Bay views, as well as deck seating for 70 on the water. The approach is warm and inviting, drawing the outside in with white washed paneling, natural woods, and graphic concrete tiles. Detailing is open, honest and relaxed with exposed trusses, and an open double-height steel stair.

For more information visit amaraatparaiso.com and follow for updates on opening and inspiration for the restaurant @amaraatparaiso.

The Philadelphia-born owner of The Genuine Hospitality Group (TGHG), James Beard Award-winning Chef, and cookbook author, Michael Schwartz is the face of the South Florida restaurant industry and a nationally recognized celebrity chef. Locals and tourists alike have come to embrace and crave his sincere and thoughtful approach to the entire dining experience and seriously good food.  At the root of this philosophy and a lens for growth is flagship Michael’s Genuine® Food & Drink in the Miami Design District, setting the bar in Miami for 10 years with its laid back bistro atmosphere, emphasis on sourcing fresh, seasonal ingredients, and lively bar scene and courtyard. Michael has since successfully developed complementary fine dining concepts including honest Italian at Fi’lia by Michael Schwartz at SLS Brickell in Downtown Miami (October, 2016), the quintessential Miami restaurant with waterfront dining at Amara at Paraiso at Paraiso Bay in Edgewater (November 2017) and the ultimate neighborhood restaurant in Coconut Grove at Park Grove (2018.)  Harry’s Pizzeria® is the group’s American pizzeria, challenging pizza traditions with a thoughtful passion for genuinely better pizza and meals to gather around it. Named one of Food & Wine magazine’s 25 Best Pizzerias in the U.S., the group’s casual concept is charting a course for regional expansion to 20 locations by 2020, with three currently open in South Florida in the Miami Design District (September 2011,) Coconut Grove (2015,) and Kendall’s Downtown Dadeland (2017.) Ella (2015) is a light and airy café in the Miami Design District’s Palm Court serving breakfast, lunch and early evening bites, curating pastries from the best local bakers in town and a convenient grab and go station with healthy alternatives. The Chef’s partnership with global cruise leader Royal Caribbean began in 2011 developing menus with ingredients from sustainable sources for 150 Central Park on Oasis Class ships and now includes the gastropub evolution of Michael’s Genuine, Michael’s Genuine® Pub, on Quantum Class ships. Michael Schwartz Events offers catering and private parties, with genuine food and hospitality for memorable occasions. TGHG has been recognized by leading trade publication Restaurant Hospitality magazine as one of its RH 25: Coolest Multi-Concept Companies.  For more information, visit thegenuinekitchen.com.

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!

In the Lychee Loop: Miami’s Summer Season Grows into the Genuine Menu

MJ shows off .005% of our 600 pound haul, as culinary assistant Dillon Wolff (left) learns the ropes with chef Max Makowski (right) on inventory, forecasting and other important matters in the growth and support of The Genuine Hospitality Group and Michael Schwartz Events.

We’ve been waiting on these for a while now, so we are really excited to get them in today,” MJ Garcia explains.  MGFD’s Pastry Chef and I are having a handoff of sorts at the Genuine Commissary, our company’s prep kitchen facility off Miami’s bridge-stitched intracoastal waterway at 79th Street. The afternoon boasts clear blue skies and the occasional white puff, with evidence of the morning’s monsoon in glints and mirrors in the pavement.  Seemingly sprung from nowhere in a hurry, complete with umbrella-flailing sideways rain, last Monday, June 19 exhibited typical wet season behavior, weather that grower Roland Samimy picked and plodded through on his family’s Homestead groves before making it rain 600 pounds of lychee at the commissary. We can take a hint, anticipate the cue. Summer has arrived in South Florida in its moody torrent of active skies and colorful ingredients.  

I’m here collecting “seconds” Roland left to indulge my affinity for the alien fruit’s annual arrival, and MJ is humoring the ensuing curiosity, offering a peek into the process of how we systematically shed fuschia reptilian skins to reveal sweet-tart flesh at the table in recognizable, but not necessarily transformative, ways. So you can see and therefore know what you’re eating and discover where it comes from.  The objective of the exchange? To better understand the magic that happens when buying power and supply collide to drive creativity and create demand. Maybe change minds. Even behaviors. Because Roland knows all too well that there’s something to parse here, in the why of “seconds,” panicles with maybe a couple perfect specimens amidst a cluster of immature fruit.

“It was a very very dry, warm winter. The flower came out strong and then dried up or blew off before pollination,” he explained over the phone earlier on his way up Florida’s Turnpike.  “Lychee are special, and they’re fickle. They like tropical, and in a sub-tropical climate with more and more variability each year, crops can’t adapt on a dime. It’s become difficult for local farmers. Projections from year to year are hard.  It’s too hard for them to make the numbers, especially with competition from Mexico and Thailand undercutting prices. Put it all together and you have more trouble growing this fruit and making a living.”

Perry Samimy in the family grove at peak of harvest on June 11, 2011.

So a dry spell and wind at the wrong time can kill a season, even a crop for good.  Take the Samimy operation — a labor of love, really, not the family’s livelihood.  They now have one of largest groves in South Florida at 20 acres, and Michael’s been buying from them since before MGFD existed.  We experienced one of our best seasons in 2015, a dramatic bumper crop that yielded 100,000 pounds from the grove’s 1,100 trees.  The Samimy’s 2017 season will produce 1,000 pounds if they’re lucky, with 1/3 of trees actually fruiting, and only the heartier Brewster variety not the usual first-of-the-season plumper, smoother Mauritius.  That’s a decrease of 99% — erratic to say the least. We call it like we see it: lychee is the canary in the coal mine for climate change.

Dr. Jonathan Crane at University of Florida’s Tropical Research and Education Center in Homestead explains that lychee was introduced into Florida before 1880 and by the ’50s there was a lot of interest and promotion of planting. With support from the USDA, Florida Department of Agriculture and interest groups like the 130-year old Florida State Horticultural Society comprised of fruit, vegetable and ornamental farmers, groves sprung up across the state, from Winter Haven in Polk County in the north to all the way down to Miami-Dade. The Florida Lychee Growers Association formed in 1952 even touted “You can plant lychee wherever you can plant citrus!” The thinking back then was the crop had a lot of “cold tolerance” but after four freeze events back to back in December ’57 and January ’58 killed most everything north, the crop dwindled to small plantings here and there in center of state mostly adjacent to lakes and about 100 acres or so in Palm Beach and Miami-Dade Counties. Our neck of the woods is currently home to about 1,000 acres.

Making lychee history, a dip into the archives (courtesy Dr. Crane)

“To be politically incorrect, lychee is a great example of global warming,” says Dr. Crane.  “In order to flower reliably, dormant trees have to be exposed to temperatures below 60°F for anywhere from 300 to 600 hours, depending on how cold it gets.  What has been happening in the past 7-8 years is we are getting less and less cool temperatures in Miami-Dade. They aren’t getting sufficient what we call ‘chilling hours’ to induce them to bloom. There is a macro trend at play here.”

What can we do?  What we do best. Feature and get excited about lychee.  And let you know when something’s up with our sources.

“We save the prettiest ones to serve from pastry, simply over ice,” MJ continues.  “What we try to do and can do now thanks to the commissary and specifically our new big walk-in freezer is extend the season by buying in bulk and time releasing the reserves.  Lychee is such a short season, especially this year, and the best way to store them is shell-on frozen.”

Pastry is already highlighting the fresh product turning out the smooth-as-can-be lychee-coconut-vodka sorbet popular from last year. It debuted at brunch last Sunday in a refreshing sundae with its delicate melt meeting hibiscus syrup and a double whammy of fresh lychee on top. MJ describes it as the perfect canvas for lychee, “subtle, fragrant and fresh.”  They loaded ella with a batch of popsicles yesterday.

Chef de Cuisine Tim Piazza has plenty cooking beginning this week. On Friday we tasted Yellowfin Tuna Crudo with lychee, serrano, pink peppercorn, basil, and lime from the MGFD raw bar and then followed along as he put together Crispy Pork Belly & Lychee with coconut milk, herbs, chile, and cashews.  Both super delicious and such different yet compelling expressions of the same ingredient!  A lightly cured shrimp and lychee dish was a hit last year at dinner, so we’re hoping it will be back or perhaps a variation.

Phoenix: Bacardi Superior, St. Germain, lychee, grenadine, lemon, cranberry

The MGFD bar always does a great job of maximizing yield, capturing luscious juice for cocktails like Phoenix with Bacardi Superior, St. Germain, grenadine, lemon and cranberry.  TGHG Beverage Manager Amanda Fraga loves lychee for its unique flavor. There’s always a Lychee Martini available, special because it’s made with fresh lychee juice, not the typical canned variety you might be used to, and the guest’s choice of vodka. The sky’s the limit from there since it plays so well with other fruit flavors, as well as a wide range of spirits.

Stay in the lychee loop on our restaurant menus throughout the summer with the hashtag #genuinelychee.  Keep your eyes peeled for other tree fruits, like nectarines, mangos and cherries cropping up everywhere.  It’s going to be a fruitful summer no matter what!

The Genuine Kitchen’s backstory on the Samimy family groves, the local lychee crop, and its embrace in our restaurants can be found here.  I also interviewed Chef for the first time for a piece on the Miami New Times food blog here, as the first lychee harvest of 2009 rolled in.