Stagiaire Supper Three at Bradley’s House: New York, New York Edition


Schwartzy and Waxy, so happy together! Waxman popped up his famed New York City restaurant, Barbuto, at Harry’s Pizzeria in Miami last year.

“Schwartz, you can stage at Barbuto anytime!” Jonathan Waxman emailed yesterday in response to our request for the legendary chef to host a stagiaire from the MGFD kitchen in Miami at Barbuto, his iconic West Village temple to authentic Italian cuisine. But to Michael’s dismay, he won’t be the one getting the experience of a lifetime working alongside Jdubs and his team as crisp and juicy Bell & Evans birds fly in and out of the restaurant’s magnificent wood-burning oven, seasonal veggies and housemade gnocchi get all family-style friendly, and spontaneous dance parties erupt on tables in the dining room courtesy of manager of many hats and #Ateam leader to the north, Jennifer Davidson.  No, Schwartzy, sadly it’s not your lucky day, but rather Ray Melendi’s, an intern we will miss dearly as he relocates to the Big Apple after his stage to attend culinary school.  Now that’s a send-off, if I’ve ever seen one!  It’ll be hard work, but someone’s gotta do it. Represent us well, Ray!

Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink chef de cuisine Bradley Herron cordially invites you to participate in his third family-style meal with a purpose.  Inspired by Marcus Samuelsson’s memoir, Yes: Chef, Bradley cooked up a dinner series to raise money to send one of his line cooks away to stage for a few days with a great chef. The idea is simple. Get 30 people to each spend $50 on a family style dinner in his own home, cooked by a stage hopeful with lots of help and donations from The Genuine Hospitality Group family to put it on. After two successful dinners, and stages in Jonathon Sawyer’s and soon to be Kevin Sbraga’s kitchens, the third dinner is in motion!  Help us make it possible. Please say yes to Bradley with cash if you see him at MGFD or purchase your ticket through Brown Paper Tickets with credit card.  Your contribution will go to send Ray Melendi to New York City to stage with legendary chef Jonathan Waxman at Barbuto. Holy shnikes!

When: Sunday, January 27, 5-8:00 p.m.

Where: Hosted by chef de cuisine Bradley Herron at his home
411 Northeast 52nd Terrace (Morningside) Miami, FL

What: Please join us for meal cooked by one of our own so they can travel to stage at a great chef’s restaurant.

$50 includes:
– Welcome Cocktail
– Snacks
– 3 courses including dessert, served family-style
– Wines of a few kinds
– Fun in good company
– A warm fuzzy feeling

Ray’s Menu:

Kumquat ginger caiperna

Hors d’oeuvres
Oysters  preserved lemon mignonette, chive
Charred Octopus Skewers
Carrot Crostini  caramelized carrot and harissa puree, goat cheese, chervil

First course
BLT Salad  heirloom tomato, local greens, bacon lardons, avocado-herb dressing

Second course
Coq au Vin  mushrooms, thyme, sage
Sauteed Kale  chili flake, garlic

Basil Ice Cream  local strawberries, olive oil cookie, pink peppercorns

A Gift Exchange for the Memory Bank


A gift exchange of the symbolic kind.

Sometimes the best presents don’t come wrapped with big red bow on top.  We like those, too, of course, but as we continue to highlight the highs of 2012, the gift of collaboration comes to mind.   Made possible with Michael’s support and encouragement, Chef Pop-Ups at Harry’s Pizzeria and Stagiaire Supper at chef de cuisine Bradley Herron’s house are two initiatives begun in 2012 that spark personal growth in our cooks and ignite a fireplace full of fun to warm the hearts and fill the bellies of our customers.

This past weekend, our first Stagiaire Supper participant, Steve Martin, embarked on a very meaningful journey to Cleveland where he worked in the Greenhouse Tavern kitchen of Jonathon Sawyer, a Food & Wine magazine Best New Chef 2010 and 2012 Harry’s Pizzeria pop-up guest. I spoke with him last week about his experience:

When Sawyer introduced me, it made me so proud to work for Michael.  So we’re at the pre-service meeting and he’s spinning this buck knife talking to the staff and pacing back and forth.  He explained how Michael brought real food to Miami, and how he, previously being from Miami, never got to experience real, true food like they have up north. And when he finally got to eat at Michael’s restaurant he was so delighted… It was not only the best food he’s had in Florida but in the South as a whole. And then he said “this is one of his chefs and I want you guys to give him a nice welcome and take care of him and I hear he’s a hard working guy.”  He had power in the place.  People respected him.  They just listened to the man and nobody said a thing… Then we went downstairs and kicked ass.  Some of the best cooks I have ever seen or worked with are in that kitchen.  They are so passionate and made me want to come back home to bring some of that passion down here… One of the chefs  went out and bought a toaster for the kitchen, just because he thought it would make some things work smoother in the kitchen. The cooks are all formally trained and you can tell that it’s from Sawyer… One time I was given leeks to wash and I plunged them into the water bath and the guys were like no no no, put them gently on the water so the dirt falls to the bottom… It’s little things like that that are so refreshing. To see things done right and enforced… And these are the line cooks!  They know…. I was there for 4 days and in 4 days I learned more than in my last couple jobs… Everybody does everything in the kitchen… The pastry chef is cutting fish. And they are meticulous about everything… They are doing things the right way. There is no half-assing it.

Now that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it?  Thank you for supporting our pop-ups and stagiaire series this year… We can’t do it without you.  Stay tuned to our events page on the blog for more genuine fun and learning in the new year!

[UPDATED] Enjoy Sunday Supper & Support a Stagiaire

Update: Photos from the amazing first dinner are here! Yum yum. Great job Steve!

Hi Genuine Kitchen Readers. It’s not often we come to you with requests, so we’re sharing one now in the hopes that you get it – like we did – and feel the love enough to support the cause.  Chef de cuisine Bradley Herron, whom you may have seen featured in yesterday’s Tasting Table Sous Chef Series, came up with this great idea for his Miami cooks inspired by Marcus Samuelsson’s memoir, Yes: Chef. After hosting his Miami release party in our private dining room in July, we read the memoir.  In it, chef Samuelsson recalls a dinner he hosted at his home to raise money to send one of his line cooks away to stage for a few days with a great chef from his past, from whom he, as a young cook, learned a great deal.  Thanks to Michael’s amazing relationships, we are now able to do the same, and Bradley cooked up an offer to make it happen. Get 30 people to each spend $50 on a family style dinner in his own home, cooked by a stage hopeful, in Sunday’s case, line cook Steve Martin, with lots of help and donations from the genuine family to put it on…  The proceeds then go to send Steve, appropriately, to work in Jonathon Sawyer’s kitchen for a week, a favorite chef of ours who popped at Harry’s in the spring and left his chef behind to stage with us in the genuine kitchen for a week.  The genuine exchange will now be complete with your help.  See below, and the menu above, and let us know if have any questions. I’m on centerpiece duty and ticket sales (please click below or pay Brad in cash if you see him at the restaurant!)
Thanks for your support and readership!

Stagiaire Supper
a genuine staff meal

When: Sunday, November 4, 5-7:30 p.m.
Where: hosted by chef de cuisine Bradley Herron at his home
411 Northeast 52nd Terrace (Morningside) Miami, FL
What: Please join us for meal cooked by one of our own so they can travel to stage at a great chef’s restaurant.
$50 includes:
Welcome Cocktail + Snacks
3 courses including dessert, served family-style
RSVP: Please say yes to Bradley with cash or Brown Paper Tickets with credit card.
Your contribution will go to send Steve Martin to Cleveland for a stage with chef Jonathon Sawyer of The Greenhouse Tavern.

A Money Cat in the House & Pictures for the Memory Bank

Sawyer's Noodle Cat chef de cuisine Jen Plank, seen here working last night's Greenhouse Pizzeria at Harry's, will spend a week staging at Michael's Genuine. No wonder she's so happy!

One of the most important reasons we do a chef pop-up series at Harry’s isn’t even guest-related.  The thinking is, break the normal routine of service for staff so that they can work closely with super talented, fun chefs they would not otherwise have the opportunity to collaborate with.  The hope is that it is not only informative, but inspirational.  Last night’s Greenhouse Pizzeria with chef Jonathon Sawyer at Harry’s Pizzeria was a prime example of the best case scenario.  Particularly profound is his passion for history and the layers of context built into each dish on his menus.  You can point out any element of any course last night, from the 170 day-aged khlii or beef fat used to cook to the “Turnips Apicius” to MSG that made the Soviet Dressing pop in the Insalata Bresaola…  It all has a story and some greater meaning, that when unearthed makes everything taste that much better.

Bradley flashing his pan at Harry's.

And the learning continues…  Since chef de cuisine Jen Plank didn’t work hard or long enough flying in two days early from Noodle Cat in Cleveland to prepare among other triumphs, the evening’s whole, boned-out Trojan Pig stuffed with sausage made from its own meat, she’s sticking around to work in the Michael’s Genuine kitchen for the week.  Don’t you just love her for that?  She’ll learn our ropes and even accompany forager Christopher Padin tomorrow on his Homestead farm run.  I’m excited to see how she, in turn, influences MGFD chef de cuisine Bradley Herron’s work.  From reading the Noodle Cat menu, it looks like they have a lot of mutual interests when it comes to flavors and ingredients.

Find the photos from Greenhouse Pizzeria, slowly but surely uploading (out of order, argh!) to our Flickr set here.  Stay tuned for the announcement of ticket sales for our  next pop-up with Top Chef Kevin Sbraga here.  It’s going to be a rowdy one!