On Your Marc… Mastering Pizza Cookbook Dinner at Michael’s Genuine

Get set to spread the love.  The pizza kind.  We are tickled to again welcome into our kitchen the one and only Chef Marc Vetri — this time to celebrate our favorite food.  Everyone’s favorite food.  Pizza!  You can’t go back to any old pie once you’ve tasted an extraordinary one — and we’ve got plenty on October 1!  For one seating and one night only beginning at 7PM, Michael hosts his friend and the founder of Philadelphia’s Vetri Family of Restaurants for the Mastering Pizza Cookbook dinner featuring a handful of the recipes he has perfected to create artisanal pies at home. The last time we cooked together in Miami was February 22, 2012 at Harry’s original location in the Miami Design District. It’s been way too long, and we’re ready to make it up to you… and ourselves!  Tickets are live today HERE!

Mastering Pizza Dinner Includes reception with a welcome cocktail and passed bites, sit down 3-course (including dessert) family style dinner, free flowing red, white and rosé wine — as well as beer — all night long, a signed book, and tax and gratuity for $150 per person.

Pizza remains America’s favorite food, but one that many people hesitate to make at home. In Mastering Pizza, the award-winning Philly-based chef tackles the topic with his trademark precision, making perfect pizza available to anyone. The recipes gleaned from years spent researching recipes in Italy and perfecting them in America have a variety of base doughs of different hydration levels, which allow home cooks to achieve the same results with a regular kitchen oven as they would with a professional pizza oven. The book covers popular standards like Margherita and Carbonara while also featuring unexpected toppings such as mussels and truffles and even a dessert pizza made with Nutella. With transporting imagery from Italy and hardworking step-by-step photos to demystify the process, Mastering Pizza will help you make pizza as delicious as you find in Italy.

“Mastering Pizza: The Art and Practice of Handmade Pizza, Focaccia, and Calzone” isn’t the chef’s first cookbook; the man behind the eponymous Vetri Cucina first published a collection recipes in 2008 with “Il Viaggio Di Vetri: A Culinary Journey,” detailing his culinary roots of when he began learning the craft in Bergamo, Italy, and the path that led him to the opening of Vetri.

Philly boys together and victorious in Minnesota this last Super Sunday.

His other books, 2011’s “Rustic Italian Food”– for which we hosted a dinner at Harry’s Pizzeria’s chef pop up series — and 2015’s “Mastering Pasta: The Art and Practice of Handmade Pasta, Gnocchi, and Risotto,” likewise infuse stories from Vetri’s time in Italy alongside his recipes. With his latest work, Vetri shifts focus to the food customers may be more accustomed to if they’ve ever visited the area’s several Pizzeria Vetri locations, notably more casual (and affordable) than Vetri Cucina. The release date coincides with the five-year anniversary of the first Pizzeria Vetri location.

Michael’s forthcoming pizza cookbook, Genuine Pizza: Better Pizza at Home, releases in May of next year.  And an invitation to Pizzeria Vetri to launch it. It’s only right in the city of brotherly love, don’t you think, Marc?!  We can’t wait!

Chef Ravi Kapur Has One Serious Poke Face

Ravi Kapur has strong feelings about poke. As he should.

“In Hawaii it’s kind of… Well, it’s really a treat,” Ravi explains. “It’s not this mass-consumed, everyday thing necessarily, because really poke should be pretty expensive if you’re using high quality fish. For me growing up, it’s a celebratory thing.”

At now 3 year-old Liholiho Yacht Club in San Francisco, this Oahu-born chef not only takes inspiration from his Hawaiian-Chinese-Indian roots, he takes them quite seriously.   Right off the bat this was pretty clear, even as we stole just few minutes in between phone tag on Wednesday.  There’s a sense of responsibility that informs his approach.  I have neither been to Hawaii nor eaten in his restaurant, but I have read Kapur is a chef-owner known for his cool, collected demeanor in the kitchen.  Schwartz had a great meal there. I get the feeling this attitude is an expression of the strength of his intention, to cook with principle and represent his culture correctly and with confidence.

Fresh fish, the best fish. From @liholihoyachtclub’s Instagram.

This means something to Kapur, that he stand for something and that his expression is one true to his identity as a Hawaiian.  We can relate to this — MS also stands for something, and akin to that.  It’s about quality and doing it right, or not at all.  This is in part why I began our conversation with poke. To poke a nerve.  With the relentless stream of DIY, paint-by-numbers, flavor-of-the-moment poke shops UberEatsing on my Miami doorstep, it’s also hard to ignore.

“The most important element for me is that the fish is extremely fresh and you let that flavor shine without covering it up with too many seasonings,” he continues. “The traditional version would not have soy sauce.  It would be Hawaiian salt, and sweet onion, and inamona or ground kukui nut.

From there he explains it can be embellished, which is fine, with a measured hand, as with most things. Seaweed, sure.  Still no seasoning though. You take this highly perishable product and then need to mask it when it’s inferior.  Often, when it’s about preserving meat or fish, something common all over the world to extend a product’s lifespan — typically out of necessity — it can be quite good.  But it’s transformed.  It’s no longer the thing it was.  For true poke, if you are using good quality there’s just no way it even can be mass produced — which is basically the benchmark for what my exposure has been to date, fast casual-style.  It becomes more about what you are putting on it, than what it is.

“I popped in one day to one of these places, because I’m interested in how they operate, how it flows,” Ravi explains.  “I understand the model, how this came to exist, but I’ll never do it because it’s in direct conflict to what I believe poke is.  I can’t wrap my head around culturally appropriating things for profit.  You won’t find sesame oil in traditional poke. I use some, but for me it’s always going to be all about the fish.”

The fish is Ahi traditionally, but now you can find all types, like Striped Marlin and large bill fish. It’s more sustainable too.  Ravi admits he just got back from Maui, and even there, there is a range of quality. Previously frozen… unknown origins at the supermarket. The place he goes to now, Kaohu store, will run you about $17, 18, 19  a pound.

“To me I taste the difference,” he adds.  “And you can see the fish.  It’s undressed.”

I don’t know about you, but I need my own #alohafloorselfie moment.

Ravi won’t know what species will greet him when he walks into Michael’s Genuine® on Thursday February 22, but he knows it will be fresh and that will produce the best first course on the plate whether it’s Cobia, Golden Tile or Little Tuny.  And there’s pork too, another ingredient that connects our food cultures.

“Absolutely. It’s pretty much pork all the time,” Ravi says.  “In the late 1800s, ranching formed a big part of the economy but beef is more expensive.  Pork is for everyone and it can be great and flavorful – it just depends on the pig and who’s raising it.  I’m doing something off the shoulder.  I like roasting those cuts and still having a little bite to it, so you can taste the meat. Some accents, of course, like chili honey rub for a little sweetness and spice.  I don’t think I told anybody, but I’m also bringing something else with me.”

We’re not giving that one away.  You, co-guest chef Derek Damman and hosts Michael and Tim will just have to squirm.  Now isn’t that cause for celebration? And some poke!  Find out for yourself.  For tickets and menu, visit sobefest.org/michaels.

Three Chefs Walk into a Restaurant to Make Dinner for South Beach Wine & Food Festival

 

Aloha!  Bonjour!  Bienvenidos.  On Thursday, February 22, the tasty punchline is on us!  Hawaiian-born Ravi Kapur of San Francisco’s Liholiho Yacht Club and Derek Dammann of Montreal’s Maison Publique join Michael Schwartz of Miami by way of Philly to cook dinner as part of the annual South Beach Wine & Food Festival.  What brings people together is an interesting thing.  Is it happenstance or intention or a combination of both?  Our South Beach Wine & Food Festival dinner at Michael’s Genuine® Food & Drink celebrates this idea — what becomes of different flavors, influences and personalities when they come together from across the continent to make a meal and create an experience.  The creativity happens and the fun begins when disparate pieces form the whole you didn’t anticipate. It’s the excitement that happens when something feels so right for the very reasons it shouldn’t.  We are excited our neighborhood bistro can be the glue to bring such incredible talent together for a collaborative dinner. Ravi will bring big, colorful flavors from the west coast and Pacific and Derek, the cozy northern appeal of a polished but casual neighborhood pub.  Michael and executive Chef Tim Piazza will balance it all out.  Enjoy the four course menu below with reception, paired with Champagne Henriot, one of the few remaining family-owned houses with over two hundred years of independence.

Tickets are available for purchase here.  See you at 7PM!

Dinner hosted by Michael Schwartz, Ravi Kapur & Derek Dammann

RECEPTION

Local Poke, Sesame-Tamari, Spicy Mayo, Ginger, Octopus Puff
Ravi Kapur

Baked Oysters, Mushroom & Marmite
Derek Dammann

Crispy Baby Artichoke with Mint Yogurt
Michael Schwartz

Shaved Beef Tongue on Sesame Crostini with Onion, Peppers and Provolone
Michael Schwartz

DINNER

Charred Corn Salad
Cucumber, Pickled Green Tomato, Ricotta Salata, Romesco Sauce, Herbs
Michael Schwartz
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Smoked Mackerel,
Anchovy & Lemon
Derek Dammann

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Chili Honey Roasted Pork,
Chicken Fried Romano Beans, Mustard Seed Jus
Ravi Kapur

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Almond Clementine Cake
Citrus Crémeux Strawberries and Toasted Elder Flower Meringue
Michael Schwartz