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

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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 harryspizzeria.com/fun 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!

Our Edible Garden Grows with The Urban School Food Alliance

Just like the crawling squashes in its edible garden, our Chefs Move to Schools partner Phillis Wheatley Elementary is now a part of The Urban School Food Alliance! Miami-Dade County Public Schools this morning announced the formation of an Alliance with the school nutrition programs of  New York City, Los Angeles Unified, Chicago, Dallas and Orange County (Orlando) school districts to broaden its purchasing power to drive costs down and quality up for food and non-food supplies.  The initial goals  of the Alliance are for the district to source a higher quality cut chicken, recyclable/compostable tray, and whole grain , natural breakfast item each would purchase. We can’t be more excited about this news, as it builds on our baby steps with Phillis Wheatley’s Science Club and edible garden in a big way.   Each of the districts participating across the country will be serving a common menu on March 20: roasted chicken, brown rice and beans (black or red), broccoli, and fresh seasonal fruit. We plan on visiting cafeteria manager Ms. Theresa McKenzie with our chefs Manny and Steve from Harry’s Pizzeria and incorporating some of the school’s harvested produce into the meal.

“We went to clean the beds with volunteer garden caretaker Keith from the Love n Vegetables community farm in Little Haiti last week,” Chef’s assistant Ellie Groden explained.  “We wanted to check up on everything. The tomatoes are coming in, and they need to be trellised.  The squashes are starting to crawl out of the raised beds, and the kids were so excited to see that, and that the peppers getting so big!”

Science Coach Ms. Kelley Garcia and her 4th and 5th graders are also growing lots of herbs and unusual veggies including baby thai eggplants that look like little green lightbulbs with cool-looking stripes.  Three cheers for our kids and the new school system alliance.  We can’t be more proud!

[UPDATED] A Little Cheffing Goes a Long Way to Feed Young Minds for Florida School Breakfast Week

Update: Chef Bradley and his fresh ricotta fruit & honey toasts were a hit with the kids! And he even melted cafeteria manager Ms. Theresa McKenzie’s heart.  A true feat!  Seriously, we love her and the whole crew at Phillis Wheatley especially Principal Caty Flor, for her unending support of our work with the kids and the cafeteria over the past two 1/2 years. Thanks also goes to Miami-Dade County Public School’s Food & Nutrition department and Helena Pernas our school liaison.  Brad got some inspiration and ideas from the kids (who even ate today’s oatmeal, with enthusiasm, thanks to his magic powers of persuasion) for what breakfast item he will create for the school system to activate with the rest of the chef partners this year…

While MGFD Miami is closed for renovations this week, we are taking some time to give back to the community and reconnect with Phillis Wheatley Elementary School in Overtown, our partner for The White House’s Chefs Move to Schools initiative and Miami-Dade County Public Schools’ Chef Partnership program since 2010.

Miami-Dade County Public Schools Department of Food and Nutrition is celebrating Florida School Breakfast Week with Michael and its team of Chef Partners including Michelle Bernstein, Kris Wessel, Julie Frans, Doug Rodriguez, Richard Ingraham and Lorena Garcia.  Breakfast at school is a slam dunk for kids. Research links eating breakfast with better test scores, better attendance and better health. M-DCPS Celebrity Chef Partners will be out at schools supporting Florida School Breakfast Week and jump starting the District’s initiative to expand the FREE Breakfast program which is available to all M-DCPS students.

Chef Manny at Phillis Wheatley last December showing our fourth and fifth graders that “green stuff” can make plain cheese pizza even more delicious and colorful, here with kale and bok choy sauteed fresh from their school garden.

Chef de cuisine Bradley Herron is taking the lead on Team Genuine for the 2012-13 school year and will be on duty with cafeteria manager Ms. Theresa McKenzie tomorrow morning (Wednesday) serving a healthy breakfast. Many of our students get their ONLY meals in school, so it’s more important than ever to raise awareness that free school breakfast does exist for those who need it most.  Following the example of Michael and our chef at Harry’s, Manny Sulbaran, Bradley will gain insight into what works so he can come up with a fun, nutritious breakfast item of his own to integrate into the menu this year with the help of the M-DCPS Food & Nutrition Department. Breakfast tomorrow morning will include oatmeal and “Breakfast-to-Go” bags in addition to a menu from the hotline. Bradley’s also got something delicious up his sleeve he’ll be bringing with him to further help engage the kids in a dialogue on breakfast.  Can’t wait to see and taste what that is!  Pictures and notes on our experience to come… Follow along tomorrow morning at #SchoolBreakfast

Slowly but Surely, USDA Comes to South Florida’s Table

Flanked by her peers including Bee Heaven's Margie Pikarsky and GROW's Thi Squire, Farmer Teena Borek, owner of Teena's Pride in Homestead made sure USDA Under Secretary Edward Avalos heard the voices of South Florida's produce farmers yesterday, with a smile of course!

Yesterday I had the pleasure of being invited by organizer Renee Frigo Graeff, local entrepreneur (founder of Lucini Italia) and president of Slow Food Miami, to have a stage with the President of the United States flanked by female peers in South Florida’s food industry.  Ok, it was physically once removed, but hopefully no less impactful.

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