Ghee Whiz, It’s Niven’s Rancho Patel Pizzeria Menu!

December is upon us which means two weeks from today Rancho Patel Pizzeria pops at Harry’s in the Design District.   Chef de cuisine Niven Patel of Michael’s Genuine is pulling out all the stops for his dinner including featuring his backyard harvest for this menu, which we’re sharing first now here.  One look at @chefniven’s Instagram feed, and it’s clearer than a misty Homestead farm morning that the freshest, and likely first locally-sourced Indian meal you’ve probably ever had is in store.

Rancho Patel Pizzeria

“It’s going to be awesome. I am so pumped!” says Niven. “When we cook at home we don’t really think of it this way, but a fresh approach to Indian food is kind of a game changer.  It’s perfect timing.  I’ll have a lot of stuff that will be ready for the dinner!  We’ll be picking chard, purple pac choi, carrots, turmeric, ginger and eight ball squash, to name a few!”

Book your ticket to Rancho Patel Pizzeria now here before we sell out! Tuesday, December 15 at 7:00 p.m. Niven’s evening unfolds with welcome cocktail, passed snacks, four courses including dessert, and some Eric Larkee beverage selections to mix and match or stick with all night. Tax and gratuity, and that special brand of Niven hospitality are included for $110,  with a jar of homemade ghee to take home. What holiday treat!

Responsible for the kitchen at Michael’s flagship restaurant, Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink going on 3 years, Niven is a genuine chef at heart. His approach to Rancho Patel Pizzeria is to share his uniquely fresh take on authentic Indian cuisine from his home in Homestead and family traditions.

Rancho Patel Pizzeria | Indian Night Pops at Harry’s with Chef Niven Patel


Finally, a delicious Indian dinner is coming to Harry’s Pizzeria.  We are excited to announce that chef de cuisine Niven Patel of Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink is taking over Michael’s neighborhood American pizzeria in the Design District on Tuesday, December 15 at 7pm for Rancho Patel Pizzeria.  TICKETS ARE NOW LIVE HERE!

Niven manning his post at Michael's Genuine.

Niven manning his post at Michael’s Genuine.

Responsible for the kitchen at Michael’s flagship restaurant going on 3 years, Niven is a genuine chef at heart.  His approach to Rancho Patel Pizzeria is to share his uniquely fresh take on authentic Indian cuisine from his home in Homestead and family traditions. The menu will be released closer to the event.  Trust that each dish will pack that special pop with exotic spices and preparations!  A tour through his Instagram only scratches the surface, but will certainly whet your palate, like this homemade roti factory with wife Shivani that happened last night.  As the chef says… it never gets old.

Welcome cocktail, passed snacks, four courses including dessert, beverage pairings and tax and gratuity, and that special brand of Niven hospitality are included for $110.  What a pre-holiday treat!!!

A pursuit for knowledge was the stimulus and continues to be the driving force behind Chef Niven’s career. Patel’s first glimpse into the restaurant world was during culinary school, and he was hooked. “I was cooking and working in restaurants the whole time during college”. But his passion for cooking came much earlier on, he says, “I have been cooking all my life. I used to make my menus as a child and let my family order, and then I went into the kitchen to cook whatever they wanted.”

From Miami to Cayman and back again, now deepening his connection with the land and its bounty at Rancho Patel and in Homestead at large foraging its small farms, it’s time to celebrate what we crave most about Niven’s kitchen.  His passion and curiosity is infectious, with the whole restaurant lighting up when his own harvest turns up on the menu.  For young cooks dreaming of one day becoming a chef, Patel offers some words of wisdom, cultivated over his many years of due diligence, “Be inquisitive. Every time there is something you don’t know, research it, look it up”. Clearly the success of the highly disciplined Niven proves that the chef is guided by his own advice.

Local Legacy | Michael’s Ark Comes Full Circle at Paraiso Bay

FOR THE EVENT IN PICTURES, CLICK HERE.

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Join us Tuesday, January 27 at 6:30 p.m. for Slow Food’s annual Ark of Taste benefit event bringing all of The Genuine Hospitality Group chefs together for the first time!  In its 6th year, this special evening unfolds on the waterfront site of chef Michael Schwartz’s future beach club restaurant at Paraiso Bay to celebrate his local legacy of slow food in South Florida.  At the forefront of a meal from indoor and outdoor food stations is the Ark-nominated Florida stone crab, sourced from George Stone Crab, a local small business, and ingredients from the South Florida harvest including Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink Chef de Cuisine Niven Patel’s backyard Rancho Patel and other farms served by Farm to Kitchen, a local produce distributor.  Cocktails by GREY GOOSE Vodka and sustainable wines by Stellar Wines will complement food by Restaurant Michael Schwartz at The Raleigh and Chef de Cuisine Molly BrandtMichael’s Genuine Food & Drink and Chef de Cuisine Niven PatelThe Cypress Room and Chef de Cuisine Roel AlcudiaHarry’s Pizzeria and Chef de Cuisine Daniel Ramirez, and Chef Schwartz with The Genuine Hospitality Group Executive Chef Bradley Herron will offer a taste of food inspired by this future waterfront restaurant and beach club.

We snuck into Rancho Patel on Tuesday when chef Niven was on the line to find a Garden of Eden flourishing. Many of the lettuces and kale are ready for the picking, while the tomatoes are super happy but just in their flowering stage! Among the ingredients that will be ready for the chefs to use are lots of tuscan kale, French carrots, chiogga beets, New Zealand spinach, Patron peppers, Napoli squash, blueberry tomatoes, seasoning peppers, gerkins, Persian cucumbers and lots and lots of greens.  The menu is coming together nicely and subject to change of course, but here is a taste of what we have cooking with these local ingredients grown with love:

Molly’s Passed Hors d’oeurves | Restaurant Michael Schwartz at The Raleigh
STONE CRAB CLAWS green gribiche
NAPOLI SQUASH & FONTINA ARANCINI smoked calabaza jam, duchilly hazelnuts
HOMEMADE GOAT’S MILK RICOTTA CROSTINI with three different toppings

Danny’s Station | Harry’s Pizzeria
ROASTED BEETS AND CARROTS  whipped goat cheese, crispy lentils, cumin vinaigrette

Roel’s Station | The Cypress Room
GRAND STONE CRAB AOILI  local vegetable crudités

Niven’s Station | Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink
SEARED WAHOO  stone crab vinaigrette, calabaza hummus, sorghum, sorrel

Michael’s and Brad’s Station | Paraiso Bay
WOOD GRILLED POULET ROUGE  marinated vegetables
WOOD ROTISSERIE LAMB SHOULDER  hempseed pesto and mustard greens

The meal would not be complete without famed Genuine Pastry Goddess Hedy Goldsmith’s desserts. Can’t wait to see what she comes up with! Tickets are $195 per person, with proceeds benefitting Slow Food Miami’s Edible Garden Program.  Paraiso Bay is located at 600 NE 31 St. Miami, Florida 33137.

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Northern Exposure | Growing Season Update with Farm to Kitchen

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Padin out back of Farm to Kitchen’s new distribution center in Little Haiti.

Sure enough, blue graffiti above an open, barred gate marked the spot. A fitting tag for the entrance to Farm to Kitchen’s brand new — and I mean new-car-smell-new — warehouse facility in Little Haiti. Chris Padin found the unassuming location on 54th street just east of North Miami Avenue through a friend and chose it over one to the north in Oakland Park.  Mere minutes from the Design District and central to his farm runs and customer routes, the decision was a smart one.

“People get lost with the unmarked door,” he explained, as I made my way for an early evening visit last week as we were both wrapping up business for the day.  “It’s next to the Western Union.”

Whether or not people can find him is beside the point. As the owner/operator of a local distribution company specializing in produce from small family farms, Padin’s job is to find them.  This season is a special one for him and partner Aleli Lauria. From her seeds first sewn at Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink leading the reservations department and gardening at home on the side have sprouted some four years later a solid business, connecting a handful of South Florida restaurants with its best and brightest small farmers.

This latest move is a game changer for Farm to Kitchen, effectively doubling its capacity and reach to receive product from suppliers like Worden Farm in Punta Gorda. Customers can still expect their usual day-of or day-after harvest delivery.  Padin has also hired longtime MGFD busser Christopher Caballero who staged with him last season as a part time delivery driver. Padin will continue to focus on growing the business, making farm runs and forging relationships with growers.  On my visit bathroom renovation work was in full swing and the first ingredients – like a box of blue oyster mushrooms from Sublicious Farms – were in the new walk-in cooler. They took over the space a month ago and share it with another local start-up, Jucy Lu’s, which figures into the plan. Farm to Kitchen‘s farm share program will soon offer a selection of cold-pressed, organic juices produced out of the facility using the same fresh ingredients Padin sources for the wholesale side of the business.

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The next day it was time to get down to business to meet some of the newer customers to the Farm to Kitchen portfolio and consequently, to our genuine kitchens. We know and love many familiar faces down south, so naturally we set our sites north to meet some new ones, namely Harpke Family Farm in Dania Beach, specializing in fruits, vegetables and microgreens and Sublicious Farms in Oakland Park, producer of high quality organic mushrooms.  Padin was on one of his twice-weekly farm runs, and Harry’s Pizzeria chef Danny Ramirez and I were along for the ride.

“They’re cute but I’m trying to run a business here,” said Tamer Harpke, as siblings Chica and Pedro gave us a warm welcome to Harpke Family Farm’s 1 acre plot right off I-95.  “We want to roll with 4 or 5 key accounts.  We are looking for distribution with key chefs that want to work with the product and are committed. We’re developing a mix that at lets us service fine dining while at the same time trying to service the CSA community.”

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A cluster of Sublicious Farm’s blue oyster mushrooms in the “pin” stage. So cute!

Padin is in lockstep with this approach, which is key for this relationship to function properly. “The thing that I look for is the consistency of supply. Without that, I have go out and look for it elsewhere, or for something else. Tamer is a step ahead. He has an idea of what restaurants are looking for to begin with, which makes our job a lot easier.”

Only a short walk through the property and it was clear his supply is well on its way, including mature-at-harvest greens like mustard, lime mizuna and lacinato kale, radishes including French breakfast, and micro herbs and greens of all kinds like opal basil, amaranth and carrot. If his back-from-the-dead rows of dragonfruit are any indication, this first season is going to be a good start for this 6 month old operation.  Just watch out for falling coconuts.

“We’ll be doing tomatoes. Everybody wants tomatoes,” Harpke explained.  “I’ve been growing them since I was young.  It’s not easy to grow in an outdoor format but if you prune them and treat them like your babies you can get a lot of fruit out of them. We’ll be looking at a greenhouse and hydroponics in the future.”

Check out what’s in store for their CSA and farm credit program at Harpke’s open house on November 9 where there will also be a “keg of beer and maybe some wine!”

Our second and last stop before seeing Padin off to Homestead for the afternoon was Sublicious Farms, an experience far from the familiar.  I don’t think I’ll forget the first time I walked into a “fruiting chamber”!  Scott Lyons, a University of Florida alum, grows blue oyster mushrooms through a compost and hanging bag system that is rotated in a temperature and humidity-controlled walk-in cooler.

“They like it cool, 65 degrees, 95 percent humidity,” Lyons explained. “From the pin stage, it’s just 3 to 5 days until harvest. We can produce 150-200 pounds a week from this one chamber at full capacity.”

The process begins in the back of his warehouse by processing “mushroom spawn” from rye berry that is sterilized and inoculated with mycelium.  Spooky enough for Halloween, the spawn grows into something one might find in their refrigerator and deem fit for chucking. After that it’s mixed with compost to make the perfect growing material for beautiful mushrooms! They sell product online at all stages of production for budding shroomers to home gardeners in search of great substrate.  Or in MGFD chef de cuisine Niven Patel‘s case, home farmers! Next for Sublicious is working with converted shipping containers for a property up in Delray. A fruitful future seems imminent.

For more information on our suppliers from Farm to Kitchen’s customers and beyond, visit our Sourcing page.