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.”

Get Your Hands Doughy and Make Pasta with Chef

Just try to keep up… Chef!   Whether for a creative night out with friends or corporate team-building, this intimate pasta-making evening with Michael provides all the tools to learn how to mix, form and shape your way to pasta perfection. It’s all about learning the basics and taking them with you into your home.  And maybe the student showing the teacher a thing or two?!

Hosted after hours at Ella Pop Café in the Miami Design District, the twinkle light atmosphere of Palm Court sets the tone for a fun-filled evening of good food with the host with the most himself.   We had fun watching the class go down a couple of weeks ago, with plenty of glasses to go around courtesy beverage manager Amanda Fraga.  Each experience includes cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and a three course meal prepared by the chefs of Michael Schwartz Events when the interactive session is complete.  Book it by emailing Director of Special Events Lindsay Guidos today!

Upping Our Events Game for the Summer Return of OMG! Dinner & a Movie

When the timing is just right, it’s everything. With our catering and private parties business rocking out new and tasty ways to enjoy the best of what our chefs are capable of, we are reengaging with old friends at O Cinema for a summer of food and film brought to you by Michael Schwartz Events!

OMG! DINNER & A MOVIE makes a triumphant return to with a line up of summer screenings, each highlighting one of our favorite cooking stations and menus!  Join us for three special evenings celebrating terrific food and film. As always, you can expect a high quality experience in a relaxed atmosphere- all taking place on-site at O Cinema’s Wynwood theater.  Dinners are all served starting at 6 pm in old school cafeteria trays where you’ll be able to eat in your seats with the films getting underway at 7 pm. Tickets are $55 at the links below include the full experience — a meal of five different menu items served with soda or water and the film.  As always there will be beer or wine available for purchase!

JUNE EDITION – Wed, June 28
THE FILM: I AM THE BLUES
THE MENU: BBQ PIT SMOKER
Tickets

SNACKS
CLASSIC DEVILED EGGS
SMOKED FISH DIP  celery, radish, saltines

SALAD
WATERMELON  shaved red onion, radish, feta, mint, lime

ENTREES
BBQ CHICKEN
SMOKED & PULLED PORK SHOULDER

SIDES
BUTTERMILK BISCUITS
COLESLAW
POTATO SALAD

DESSERT
BANANA CREAM PIE

MOVIE SNACK
BBQ SPICED POPCORN

Take an atmospheric and immersive musical journey through the swamps of the Louisiana Bayou, the juke joints of the Mississippi Delta and the moonshine-soaked barbeques of North Mississippi Hill Country.

A favorite of the film festival circuit and making its Florida Premiere at this special event, I Am The Blues takes audiences into the world of the African American blues legends, many in their 80s, still making music and sharing stories in the Deep South.

From sunny front porches to spirited church halls, the last of the ‘blues devils’ including Bobby Rush, Barbara Lynn, Henry Gray, Jimmy “Duck” Holmes, Lazy Lester and Little Freddie King share their songs and a spellbinding oral history. Capturing the distinctive landscapes and romantic spirit of the South with an expert lens, director Daniel Cross follows the Mississippi River past Graceland, past Muscle Shoals, and into the beating heart of the blues.

JULY EDITION – Thurs, July 27
THE FILM: LANDLINE
THE MENU: MOBILE WOOD OVEN
Tickets

SNACKS
POLENTA FRIES  spicy ketchup
MEATBALLS IN SAUCE  piave vecchio

SALAD
ORANGE & RADISH  greens, shaved fennel, green olives, parmigiano

MAINS
WOOD OVEN ROASTED CHICKEN WINGS  agrodolce, rosemary crema
MARGHERITA PIZZA  mozzarella, tomato sauce, basil
MUSHROOM PIZZA  porcini, cremini, fontina, taleggio, thyme
SLOW ROASTED PORK PIZZA  fig, grilled onion, fontina, arugula

DESSERT
CHOCOLATE CHUNK COOKIE

MOVIE SNACK
PARMIGIANO POPCORN

The Manhattan of 1995: a land without cell phones, but abundant in CD listening stations, bar smoke, and family dysfunction. Enter the Jacobs. Eldest daughter Dana’s looming marriage to straight-laced Ben prompts a willful dive into her wild side, while her younger sister, Ali, is still in high school but leads a covert life of sex, drugs, and clubbing. After discovering love letters penned by their father, the sisters try to expose his apparent affair while keeping it from their all-too-composed mother.

Gillian Robespierre’s follow-up to Obvious Child reprises her talent for subversive comedy and explores how family bonds grow sturdier through lying, cheating, and strife. Compelled by the emotional snarl of people’s poor choices, Landline relishes in the dark humor of life’s low points while basking in ’90s nostalgia. A hit at Sundance and starring Jenny Slate, John Turturro, and Edie Falco, Landline is an honest, observant portrait of sibling rivalry stumbling awkwardly toward friendship, and of children realizing that parents are people too, there’s no attempt at concealing the indulgences and insecurities of its characters-all of which make them endearing and human.

AUGUST EDITION – Thurs, Aug 24
THE MENU: LA CAJA CHINA
THE FILM: TBD

SNACKS
WHITE GAZPACHO  smoked almonds
MEDIA NOCHE  ham, pork, swiss, pickles

SALAD
ARUGULA  shaved red onion, radish, french feta, lemon

ENTREE
ROASTED WHOLE PIG  mojo & roasted chiles

SIDES
Black Beans
Saffron Rice
Tostones

DESSERT
TRES LECHES

MOVIE SNACK
CALLE OCHO POPCORN

 

Harry’s Pizzeria® Downtown Dadeland Update: Now Hiring & Pizza Fiesta-ing for Cinco de Mayo

It’s getting real, people!  Harry’s Pizzeria Downtown Dadeland is opening soon, with activity in the space and our new neighborhood mounting each day.  Our oven, the first Mara Forni “rotator” we’ve ever used, arrived bright and early this morning, always an important milestone.  Whether you’re interested in working for the team or just enjoying some ‘za before go-time, we’re excited to bring you into the fold in the following ways.  Stay tuned for up-to-the-minute opening new by signing up HERE for our Harry’s-specific email newsletter.  See you real soon.

Miguel, pizza cook at Coconut Grove getting his Downtown Dadeland dough-forming game on at the last neighborhood block party.

NOW HIRING | Open Call 12-5 PM beginning Monday, April 24 – Friday, April 28
8865 SW 72nd Place Suite A103, Miami, FL 33156

Michael’s nationally-acclaimed neighborhood American pizzeria is coming soon to Downtown Dadeland!  We are looking for dependable, energetic, reliable, passionate & professional staff members with great attitudes and personalities to join our team.  If you are committed to delivering an exceptional dining experience and enjoy working in a dynamic environment, then you should apply in person or set an appointment by sending your resume with cover letter to abbey@harryspizzeria.com.  Available positions include server, busser, food runner, line cook, pizza maker, prep cook, dishwasher.  Benefit packages are offered!

Spicing things up with sorpressata

CINCO DE MAYO BLOCK PARTY | Friday, May 5 5-10 PM  8975 SW 72nd Place, Miami, FL 33156

Oh, we’re ready to join the party!  Harry’s mobile oven rolls up to Downtown Dadeland’s First Annual Cinco de Mayo Block Party with a menu of two Harry’s classics, Margherita and Short Rib, and the obligatory addition of a special to bring the proper fiesta heat: Sorpressata with manchego, scallion, tomato sauce.  TGHG executive chef Bradley Herron has also been developing an addictively smokey sweet-hot Calabrian chile condiment just for Harry’s, testing a few different ratios of chile and oil — as well as thickness of blend — to arrive at the right balance.  I can attest he’s nailed the goop texture which is key. Fire! Pizza is just part of the party, of course when Downtown Dadeland is at the wheel. While your mouth is lit with Bradley flavor-bombs, enjoy live entertainment by Miller Road Band, DJ Volksmuzik, a performance by Mariachi Grande Fiesta Musica, Taco Eating contest with prizes (!), Face Painting, Balloon Animals and all the Mexican nicknacks you can get your manos on.  Find us under the string lights at the corner of SW 72nd Place and SW 90th Street outside of our restaurant space. Garage and street parking is available.  For complimentary parking, validate at any retailer.

First Look at Michael Schwartz’s Park Grove Restaurant, Catered by Michael Schwartz Events

Our first look at the Meyer Davis Studio interiors of Michael’s 2018 restaurant at Related and Terra Group’s Park Grove, and we already feel right at home. Welcome to the ultimate neighborhood restaurant ensconced in a lush front yard park at the corner of Tigertail Avenue and Mary Street in the heart of residential Coconut Grove, Miami.  Brought to life in a garden enclave with indoor and outdoor seating on the grounds of the park, our signature restaurant, like every element on property, draws in the outdoors, reflecting the area’s historical significance and emphasizing the refined Bohemian village lifestyle that informs every aspect of Park Grove.  The rustic dining room features an open-air concept allowing guests a clear view into the kitchen with freshly-made food front and center. This familiar design element is iconic to Michael’s projects and cultivates energy in the dining room, fostering a feeling of warm hospitality and sense of place for residents and visitors alike to feel welcome.

Miami’s original neighborhood of Coconut Grove was founded in 1873 by an eclectic mix of pioneers, artists, intellectuals and adventurers.  Its tropical oasis thrives to this day as Miami’s escape from the stress of city life. Located in the middle of Miami, yet completely separate and quaint, it offers a warm, laid-back atmosphere of charming boutiques, sidewalk cafes and sailboats anchored at the bay. The neighborhood’s distinct bohemian flair allows one to unwind and relax every day of the week and any time of the year, and the restaurant’s location at the corner of Tigertail and Mary Street in the heart of the marina-side village will make it a vibrant addition to Coconut Grove’s dining scene. Daily care and attention to the quality of local sources will be expressed in a menu true to sense of place, the seasons, and proximity to Biscayne Bay, offering breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a take away counter.

Last week, in another property milestone, Park Grove’s development team celebrated the top-off of Two Park Grove and the Club Residences with Will Meyer, co-founder of New York-based Meyer Davis Studio and Chef, who together unveiled the design concept for the development’s restaurant over bites catered by Michael Schwartz Events.  We look forward to following its continued progress!