Books Worth Buying: January’s Best Food and Drink Releases

Re-posted from another Blog

Chef Michael Bennett 's Gluten free cookbook makes a list

Foodbrats.com

We get dozens of cookbooks each week at SAVEUR magzine, and every month we share our favorite new releases—books that, through one avenue of greatness or another, have earned a place on our over-stuffed shelves. This time, those books that piqued our interest came from all over the world—the Middle East, Myanmar, Paris, the American South—and covered a variety of recipes, from Gluten Free cooking to Palestinian mezze.

   OLIVES, LEMONS & ZA’ATAR: THE BEST MIDDLE EASTERN HOME COOKING

olives and lemon

by Rawia Bishara
I have long been a fan of Tanoreen, Rawia Bishara’s Palestinian restaurant tucked away in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, where her inventive mezze, like fried Brussels sprouts drizzled with fresh tahini and pomegranate seeds and eggplant napoleons slathered in babaganoush cream, make the forty-five minute trek from Manhattan well worthwhile. So, I was thrilled when I finally got my hands on her cookbook, and the secrets behind the delectable dishes I’d eaten at her restaurant. The recipes for my favorites turned out to be shockingly easy, 5-ingredient affairs, and as I flipped through the pages of mouthwatering photographs and lovely asides about local culinary folklore and her own food memories, I also discovered simplified recipes for many Palestinian classics. For example, her recipe for Musakhan, a complicated festival dish of sumac-rubbed roast chicken served on rounds of fresh-baked taboon bread, is transformed from weekend project to weeknight meal with a simple pizza-like flatbread recipe and smart substitutions like quick sautéed boneless chicken breast. Bishara’s modern, approachable take on classic Palestinian food makes Olives, Lemons, & Za’atar a book I’m glad to have on my shelf as a source for doable, exciting dishes and tried and true favorites that I will be reaching for again and again. —Felicia Campbell

Available February 13 from Kyle Books; $29.95.

IN THE LAND OF MISFITS, PIRATES AND COOKS

 

Gluten free cooking from Chef Michael Bennett

Gluten Free recipes from Chef Michael Bennett

by Chef Michael Bennett
It is akin to cooking and eating with a conscience. Chef Michael Bennett carefully weaves the art of cooking with the science of achieving a healthy body and sane mind. He introduced to his readers an approach in eating that has been inspired by the wisdom of the ages.

As a person who has been making the transition toward a more natural diet, I was naturally drawn to this book. Overall, I would say that it was a helpful book at inspiring readers to eat healthier. I liked the personal introduction that discussed the author’s motivation for writing the book as well. It set the tone of a book as a regular guy who has learned things about Caribbean tropically-inspired healthy cooking while discussing what it is like to travel and work throughout the Caribbean. After reading so many books from “experts”, this was a nice little break. All the Gluten Free recipes like —spiced pecans, crab beignets, silky onion dip, and my favorite, bacon and Parmesan gougères—transformed my kitchen table into a fruit laden maple Butcher’s block sideboard.

The book is just as interesting reading as it is interacting. The author has published this book with interactive QR code links that connect your directly to the Internet’s database of cookery terms and grocery websites where you can find the more rare food novelties.

This book will take you on a 1000 mile journey across the Caribbean in an innovative technological and healthy way.— FoodBrats.com

Available from FoodBrats.com; $35.95

 DOWN SOUTH: BOURBON, PORK, GULF SHRIMP & SECOND HELPINGS OF EVERYTHING

 

Southern vcooking

by Donald Link and Paula Disbrowe
I grew up in the South, and on cold, blustery days in New York, I long for it. The Gulf Coast holds particular charms for me, and whenever I go to New Orleans a visit to one of Donald Link’s restaurants is a must. So when Link’s latest cookbook, Down South, arrived, I grabbed it off the shelf and headed to the liquor store, inviting a few friends over along the way. Oftentimes, cocktails are relegated to the back of cookbooks, ancillary to the “real” stars of the show. In Down South, however, cocktails proudly set the stage for all of the deliciousness to come. Meyer lemon French 75s were my favorite, but the punch from the famous Flora-Bama bar (whose wallop I have felt on a few youthful road trips down the coast) was the crowd pleaser at my house. Following the initial cocktail section of the book, Link takes you inside an “old-school Southern cocktail party” with dishes—spiced pecans, crab beignets, silky onion dip, and my favorite, bacon and Parmesan gougères—that transformed my Brooklyn kitchen table into a groaning Southern sideboard. The rest of the book is just as inviting, and Link’s enthusiasm for the region is palpable. Cooking from this book took me a thousand miles down south and out of the northeastern cold. —Kaylee Hammonds

Available February 25 from Clarkson Potter; $24.63

 UNDER THE SHADE OF OLIVE TREES: RECIPES FROM JERUSALEM TO MARRAKECH AND BEYOND

by Nadia Zerouali & Merijn Tol

This playful romp through Arabia comes from the hosts of a Middle Eastern cooking program in the Netherlands who, through their travels, have come to see the area that stretches from the Mediterranean and North Africa to Iran, as a multicultural tapestry united by an ancient culinary history. In their latest book, Under the Shade of Olive Trees, they incorporate historic dishes such as Iraqimadfuna—a ground lamb-stuffed eggplant dish spiked with rose water that was popular in the Middle Ages—with easy, contemporary riffs on Middle Eastern cuisine, including their two-ingredient tahini-halva ice cream. Informative sidebars provide short histories of ingredients such as sumac and argan oil, along with tips on incorporating them into all manner of cooking. Nadia and Merijn’s inventive energy comes through in recipes like a modified Arabic flatbread, which uses an upside-down wok in place of the traditional rounded metal griddles used by street vendors in Lebanon. They have even included a special section in the back of the book where friends like Kamal Mouzawak, the founder of the first organic market in Lebanon, and Ingmar Neizen, an expert on African cuisine, share their favorite recipes. Though many of the recipes are basic, this book is full of surprises, my favorite of which was Niezen’s Sudanese falafel, a spicy, sesame encrusted version of the ubiquitous Middle Eastern snack served, in her version, with a tart-hot African peanut sauce. This cookbook offers a modern, innovative perspective on an amazing culinary region.—Felicia Campbell

Available March 18 from Stewart, Tabori & Chang, $31.50

   LA MERE BRAZIER: THE MOTHER OF MODERN FRENCH COOKING

by Eugenie Brazier

Simple French fare is my preferred comfort food: an omelet with salad, a slice of pâté, perfectly-executed moules marinières—for me, these simple bites can transform a drab day into something else entirely. My collection of French cookery books has swallowed my bookshelf to the degree that I’ve had to enforce an “only if it’s extraordinary” rule on my purchases, but La Mère Brazier: The Mother of Modern French Cooking is just that. Available in English for the first time this month, La Mère Brazier brings the life, voice, and recipes of an iconic French chef to an Anglophone audience at long last. Paul Bocuse, who apprenticed in Brazier’s kitchen, wrote the highly respectful and nostalgic forward to this book. Care has been taken to retain the historical accuracy of the recipes while making them accessible to modern home cooks. And the stories of Brazier’s rise from farm-hand to fêted, decorated chef—she was the first woman to receive six Michelin stars—is told with such charm and simplicity, and with such emphasis on the humble roots of much of her food, that I could not help but hear her voice as I stood in my kitchen recently, whipping up a batch of her Parisian gnocchi, feeling grateful that there was room on my shelf for at least one more book. —Kaylee Hammonds

Available March 25 from Rizzoli, $24.92

 YUCATÁN: RECIPES FROM A CULINARY EXPEDITION

by David Sterling

Before I picked up this book, I knew little about the Yucatán, apart from what I had read in the story The Queen of Yucatán from our Mexico issue. With that meager knowledge in mind, I approached David Sterling’s tome not without apprehension. The book runs through all the sub-regions of the Yucatán, almost a food-driven road trip in text. And beyond Sterling’s encyclopedic and meticulously-researched knowledge of Yucatecan food, his love for and connection to the region and its fare are evident on every page; it is rare to find such humble passion and vigor in a volume that is so comprehensive and informational. The photographs capture scenes from the streets, food stalls, and home kitchens, as well as landscapes from the region. Nothing feels staged; the images of the recipes are mouth-watering, yet homey, imperfect, and entirely in tune with the rest of the book.

The recipes, too, are surprisingly accessible. On a snowy night in New York City, I set out to make Ajiaca, a deeply garlicky stew with a strong orange color. After roasting six heads of garlic and squeezing out the slightly sweet, liquified cloves, I started adding vegetables to a stock pot. By the end of a long stew, large hunks of pork tore apart under the tines of my fork. An entire diced potato had disintegrated into the stew, giving it a comforting thickness and satisfying texture. I spooned out bowls of pork and vegetables, topped them with the orange broth, and finished with plantains I had twice fried into tostones, putting together a bowl of the Yucatán. I couldn’t imagine eating anything better on a cold winter night. —Oliver Erteman

Available March 30 from University of Texas Press, $40.65

 LODGE CAST IRON NATION: GREAT AMERICAN COOKING FROM COAST TO COAST

By The Lodge Company

It was my mother-in-law—an exemplary cook—who gifted me with a Lodge cast iron skillet when I was just a newlywed. That was a decade ago, and it’s since been U-Hauled across the country and moved in and out of countless New York City apartments. But no matter how tiny the stove (and there have been some Easy Bake Oven-style varieties in past kitchens), I always find a home for my trusty skillet on the back left burner. In Cast Iron Nation, Lodge celebrates the deep ties Americans have to this well-seasoned cookware, with recipes that span the nation. A few classics make an appearance: center-cut, bone-in pork chops that become sweet with a quick sear; a buttermilk-brined fried chicken; and a handful of trusty cornbreads, cooked in the vessel that gives the requisite cracking crust. But there are plenty of rather sophisticated recipes represented here, too, and I fell hard for the squash bisque with mascarpone and apple-cheese crostini. I could never have imagined making soup in my skillet, yet the flavors roast and melt down to a wintery perfection. The North Carolina clam chowder, a warm-your-belly kind of dish, ditches the thick base, and allows plump clams to steal the thunder. Since I’ve found this cookbook, now thoroughly dog-eared, it seems that my beloved skillet has made its way to the front burner on a near-daily basis. —Anne Roderique-Jones

Available March 18 from Oxmoor House, $25
Buy Lodge Cast Iron Nation: Great American Cooking from Coast to Coast

 SLICES OF LIFE: A FOOD WRITER COOKS THROUGH MANY A CONUNDRUM

by Leah Eskin

For charm, you can’t beat Leah Eskin’s memoir and cookbook, Slices of Life (Running Press, 2014). The long-time SAVEUR contributor and Chicago Tribune columnist brings an irreverent humor, cool precision, and gustatory gusto to her accounts of American family life. Each small, resonant moment is occasion to cook something delicious: a child’s obsession with dinosaurs leads to batches of stegosaurus-shaped pumpkin muffins; an audiophile husband’s grudging surrender of the aubergine-colored mega-speakers that hogged the living room inspires a bout of eggplant cookery; a sulking pre-teen gets Mom’s love in the form of an Asian chicken salad. So much domesticity necessarily inspires nostalgia, but Eskin is such a versatile cook that such reveries offer pithy surprises: college memories come attached to a recipe for lobster rolls; tax day merits its own dessert, an almond and popcorn brittle. Readers with a more categorical sensibility might be disconcerted by Eskin’s haphazard organization—ice cream recipes up against a granola recipe up against a tarragon chicken recipe—but the book simply mirrors life, which is brimming with episodes either happy or sad but always punctuated by a meal. —Betsy Andrews


Marketing and Public Relations for You

The Professional Image, Inc.
Marketing and Public Relations for You

The Marketing and Public Relations for You helps create and maintains a high level of awareness for the company, both on a regional and national level.

cost of PR services

Costing per month for services

The Professional Image, Inc. will be accomplished for you:


The Professional Image’s role is to work directly with restaurant management to seek revenue goals. We will help you create additional sales by developing marketing programs and packages designed to achieve budgeted revenue objectives.

The Professional Image, Inc. will oversee the creation and execution of marketing strategies to encompass all advertising, promotion development, electronic and e-commerce, direct marketing and collateral.

Development and implementation of database management for consolidation, classification and customization to be used in direct marketing programs. Oversee and strengthen your email database to build long term relationships with customers and owners while strengthening brand equity by increasing visibility and awareness.

Formulate sales and marketing yearly operating budget.
Guide and help you manage the company’s overall branding and image development through various media channels.

The costs of this plan are monthly, average 3-6 month contract is usual.

Your Plan in detail:

1. The Professional Image, will create and maintain company press kit and distribute on going positive information to the media.

2. The Professional Image will establish on going media relations with various outlets to promote specific social media promotions and story ideas for publication – for current and future relevant exposure opportunities.

3. The Professional Image will solicit and host on going individual media visits and press trips including advertising agencies, media agencies, and communication managers to further the company’s exposure to the press and coordinate projects.

4. The Professional Image develops and expands exclusive promotional partnerships with area F&B companies and special events to maximize company exposure and revenue opportunities.

5. The Professional Image develops and plans an electronic Customer Relation Management (eCRM) initiatives including implementation of database management for consolidation, classification and customization to be used in direct marketing programs. The Professional Image may oversee and strengthen property database management to build long term relationships with customers while strengthening brand equity by increasing visibility and awareness to guests. Extra option package (one year contract)

6. Ensures all related websites (company and all related strategic partners) are continually updated with all the latest information, pictures and group and leisure offers. Extra option package (one year contract)

7. The Professional Image may publish and distribute 3 to 5 individually specialized press releases monthly, to potentially interested media with telephone follow-up.
Extra options

8. The Professional Image, will issue wire service releases when necessary to Google, Bing and Yahoo search engines. Extra cost option

9. The Professional Image, will maintain up to date Public Relations photo file for inclusion in appropriate releases.

10. The Professional Image attends needed conferences with all general managers and various departmental heads to establish story ideas for press releases.

11. The Professional Image assists with the direction and implementation of internal marketing campaigns that integrate employee knowledge and support for property marketing activities. Assist with strategy for staff education and approaches useful in sales/up selling, promoting seasonal specials and general resort knowledge.

12. Develops media tools using power point, e-mail/direct mail, electronic proposals, newsletters, etc…. to help the catering sales team solicit and secure group meetings.

13. The Professional Image will use the most advanced graphic design software a.k.a. photoshop, illustrator, quark, indesign, etc…to properly execute your publishing needs.

14. The Professional Image, will review campaign effectiveness and report media response/impact to restaurant Management.

15. The Professional Image monitors expenses as they relate to the marketing and public relations budget.

16. Negotiate, manage and support the advertising trade program, advance the existing relationships.

17. Provide strategic processes to capture market and guest data, and provide detailed analysis and recommendations to capitalize on both existing and new opportunities for revenue growth.

18. Develop and expand exclusive promotional partnerships with area companies and special events to maximize restaurant exposure and revenue opportunities.

19. Coordinate projects with external vendors as required.

20. Develop, maintain and continue to strengthen promotional relationships with area companies in order to increase restaurant exposure and drive new B2B revenue streams.

21. Assist with the direction and implementation of external marketing campaigns that integrate background, knowledge and support for restaurant’s marketing activities.

22. Assist with the development of community relations initiatives as it pertains to the company. Oversee PR program in coordination with overall marketing efforts, designed to maximize property exposure and positioning in the community.

23. Formulate ideas, pitch stories and manage appropriate media to assure coverage for hotel events, generate ideas for column items, feature stories, and community involvement.

24. Develop and present weekly and monthly PR reports with updates on activity.

Contact us at: the_professional_image@yahoo.com


New Times Magazine interview with Miami Author Michael Bennett

First seen in New Times Broward palm Beach

Interview by:

Laine Doss


Chef Michael Bennett is a native Floridian and a passionate chef who truly believes in cooking creatively and making a meal memorable for his guests.
Chef Bennett loves his work, and it shows. Since 2008, he’s manned the helm of Bimini Boatyard, one of Fort Lauderdale’s most enduring and iconic restaurants. Bennett has brought the sheer joy of cooking to the restaurant’s menu. We spoke with Bennett about cooking and family.

Clean Plate Charlie: Fort Lauderdale, while having some very good restaurants, seems like a thousand miles away in attitude from Miami restaurants. Why do you think that is?

Chef Michael Bennett: It’s a business and a down-home attitude here in Fort Lauderdale. Here, it’s let’s do business and go home and have a family life. In Miami, it’s kind of like, “I need the P.R.; I need the publicity,” and I’ve never been that way.

Bimini Boatyard is a large restaurant. How many people can you seat?

We have like 460. We added another 80 to 100 seats on the small deck we built last year. You know, they renovated this entire place last year in like 24 hours. I went on vacation for a week, and when I came back, everything was brand new — the dining room, the bathrooms, everything. They worked nonstop.

What is the tourist-to-local ratio?

A lot, but at lunchtime, we get all locals. Everybody is slowing down after season; we’re getting crazed. We broke a record last year. I don’t know what everyone else is doing, but we’re doing very well. We’re doing phenomenal. Business is so busy, I need another kitchen. We’re getting ready to really bust it loose next year. We have the cruise ships and the conventions. The concierges from the hotels or the convention center will send us their big parties of 20-plus. You stay here until about 1:30 and I’ll swap you paychecks if I don’t get a party of at least 20 people here today. We may not have a private room for them, but we’ll accommodate them.

You worked at Solo on the Bay in Miami Beach — that must have been crazy.

I used to do the nightclub after the restaurant from midnight to 5 a.m. It was crazy. There were thousands of people there every weekend. You should have seen the sheer numbers of people we had. We packed them in. Memorial Day 2005, I had 2,500 people walk through that place in one night. That was the night Beyoncé walked in.

Lil Wayne was there one night, and there were 800 people waiting outside to get in.

Where are you from?

I was born at Broward General, and so was my oldest daughter. I was the first child born in Sunrise. My dad was in the marine business. My grandfather owned the marina next door to Bimini Boatyard. My father and uncle used to race boats by the old Marine stadium in Key Biscayne. My father owned a marina in Tampa, but I moved back to Fort Lauderdale because Tampa was too slow for me.

Before I moved back to Fort Lauderdale, I opened up a few restaurants and redid a Radisson in St. Petersburg, right next door to QVC. Susan Lucci and Lauren Hutton used to be my best customers. Lauren Hutton used to come in every day and ask why I can’t make anything healthier.

Jack LaLanne also used to come in all the time.

Please tell me he was a nice guy.

The guy was a pistol. It didn’t matter how old he was. His mind was as sharp as when he was doing acrobatics in Miami. He used to come in for only broccoli and egg whites every day. He did it the right way.

So do you eat healthy?

I’m a starch-aholic. Because I’m so busy, I only eat once a day, but starch gives me energy. I eat potatoes, pasta, and bread. I can’t live without it. I don’t eat meat that much because it isn’t important to me any more. Although I cheat. I eat a hamburger once a week. That’s my guilty pleasure. And it’s not because I’m getting old, although I am, but I’ve been getting heartburn all my life, and now because I don’t eat meat, I don’t.

What do you think about chefs who look down on vegetarians?

Why would they say that to a customer? We’re here to provide a service. If I don’t have it in the kitchen, I can’t give it to you, but if I have it — you got it. This business is hospitality. If you have a problem with that, you should be writing a cookbook or teaching a class. If you’re going to be a chef, you’ve got to be a host.

That’s why this place is so popular. Nobody cooks seafood at home. People rarely even cook. Including my daughters. They don’t cook, but they love to eat at my restaurant because nobody cooks what they like the way Dad does.

Did you cook for your daughters?

When they were young, I worked 70 to 80 hours a week. I wasn’t home a lot, but they called me up every night to bring something home for dinner. And it was never one dish; it was always something different for each girl. And now that they’re out of the house, it’s like, “What am I going to do? I hate everything because Dad’s not making it.”

I spoiled them so much with the food.

Are they in school?

One’s going to University of South Florida, and one’s going to Florida State. They’re great kids.

Do they want to go into the business?

I don’t think so. They’re too smart.
By Laine Doss, M

​Yesterday, we featured part 1 of our interview with Bimini Boatyard’s chef Michael Bennett. If you missed it, you can read it here. In part 2, chef Bennett talks about living in the Caribbean and what it’s like to serve a ton of seafood in one weekend.

Clean Plate Charlie: You’ve written two cookbooks. Have you ever taught cooking?

Chef Michael Bennett: Yeah, I’ve taught. I taught kids at my daughters’ school. It was a healthy-cooking class. I would show them that you can go to the store and buy a bag of chips that are healthy. We did healthy pastas. We did healthy techniques. This is before chefs were all over TV. But you could see that these kids really loved cooking. My class grew from 15 to 30 kids. Kids were sneaking into the class.

When was there a shift that made cooking cool?

I think it’s all Bravo Network’s fault. I hate Top Chef, but my wife loves it. That and that show where the guy yells a lot..

Hell’s Kitchen?

Yes. What an idiot. Nobody in this industry would treat their people that way. Nobody. But these shows did good things, because kids want to be in this industry now.

You lived in Tortola for a while. Tell us about it.

I’ll tell you why I dream about Tortola every night. (shows me a picture.) Look at the water. The water is crystal blue. I had to cross the channel to get to my restaurant every day. You could see sea turtles, whales, dolphins. The blue is an amazing blue.

What was everyday life like there?

It was the British Virgin Islands. I had a work permit, but my daughters had to go to school online through the Miami-Dade Public Schools system. It took three months to get electricity in my house. We take things for granted here — like groceries, internet service. It was eight months before we got telephone service. I had to take my daughters downtown every day to get internet service. It became a real hassle.

When you go to the Caribbean, there’s no Publix, no Kmart, no Burger King. It’s great for a week, but try to do it for a year. When I went to St. Thomas and ate a Big Mac, it was like heaven to me — because I couldn’t get one in Tortola. When you don’t have these little conveniences, you really miss it.

And my kids were so citified, the couldn’t stand it, because we lived next door to Aventura Mall before we moved, and suddenly there wasn’t a mall for hundreds of miles.

It must have been torture for two teenaged girls. Any good stories?

One time at my restaurant, we had a giant setup for the Super Bowl. We had 100 to 150 people at the bar. At 7:30, the game started [there's an hour difference], and the entire island went black because everyone flipped on their TV at the same time. Luckily, someone had a laptop, and 150 people gathered around the laptop to watch the game.

So how did you get from Tortola to Bimini Boatyard?

My family and I decided to move back to Florida. I got back, I’m holed up in my hotel room waiting for my furniture to arrive. It takes about three weeks. I’m bored, so I walk into Bimini Boatyard. I figure Bimini Boatyard — Caribbean. Sounds good. I talk to the general manager, and I’m working there the next week. It was a natural fit.

I thought about doing dishes from the French Caribbean, the Spanish Caribbean. Like the Martinique grouper and the scallops.

You can’t get good scallops retail.

I know. I get them in specially. I have them specially dry-packed.

Bimini Boatyard is a big seafood house, obviously.

We do so much seafood. At the last Boat Show, we sold over a ton of seafood. We sold 2,600 pounds of seafood. Oysters, snapper, yellowtail, dolphin, lobster. I was buying and cooking five cases of Florida lobster tail a day. Over 100 pounds of dolphin a day. It was crazy. I didn’t cut less than 200 pounds of fish a day during that weekend.

What’s next for chef Michael Bennett?

I plan on writing more. I wrote my cookbooks on my deck in Tortola. It was a great experience. I’m also making cooking videos directly from the balcony of my home in Hollywood. It’s an amazing view. It’s a beautiful vista.

Recipe from chef Michael Bennett cookbook:

In the Land of Misfits, Pirates and Cooks.

Caribbean Kimchi:

A Recipe From Bimini Boatyard’s Chef Michael Bennett
By Laine Doss,

Chef Michael Bennett and wife serve up dishes at the Kampong in Coconut Grove
​Bimini Boatyard’s Chef Michael Bennett has a joy for both cooking and life.
In our recent interview with Chef Bennett, we learned about his passion for bringing the flavors of the Caribbean home to south Florida. If you missed the interview, you can read it here and here.
Clean Plate Charlie is happy to share Chef Michael’s Caribbean-inspired take on the classic Korean kimchi.

Caribbean Kimchi

Ingredients:

• 12 oz. Green mango

• 1 head napa cabbage, shredded

• 4 oz. Red onion, julienne

• 2 oz. Red bell pepper, julienne

• 1 oz. Garlic, sliced thinly

• 3 oz. Carrot, julienne

• 2 oz. Pineapple, julienne

• 3 tbs. Cilantro, chopped

• 1 oz. Sriracha sauce, or more if you like

• 1 oz. Sesame oil

• 2 oz. Salt

• 1 oz. Ginger, crushed finely

• 4 oz. Scallions, sliced thinly on a bias

Place all veggies in a large bowl and toss roughly.

Shake in the salt and drizzle with the sriracha sauce and oil.

Toss Roughly again.

Place in the refrigerator for three days, Tossing the ingredients once a day.

Remove the slaw/salad and drain well.

Use on plates as garnish or as a spicy Salad accompaniment.


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A Measly 96 hours in Brazil…. #96HOURSINBRAZIL

A Measly 96 hours in Brazil….

Going to Brazil means being dazzled by food!

 Hashtag us at #96hoursinbrazil

     “We have been planning this pop-up restaurant event for more than two month now”, says Chef Ricardo Passarelli the owner of 170 Bistro in Itajuba, Brazil.

       Itajuba is a budding international (business) city a few hours outside the financial capital of Brazil.

 

        Chef Ricardo Passarelli owner of 170 Bistro in Itajuba, Brazil invited cookbook author and Miami chef Michael Bennett here because we knew his latest cookbooks were exactly what we wanted to feature at our restaurant to ensure our grasp as the best restaurant in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais.

 

170 Bistro Miami Nights

The first culinary expo in Itajuba, Brazil held at #170Bistro

 

 

Before all this can happen….

      Getting into Brazil usually means journeying to the booming affluence that anchors the country — São Paulo.

Our 96 hours in Brazil (#96hoursinbrazil) starts in the the city that is the powerhouse in Brazil that pays the tab for the rest of the Brazil’s material comfort. The São Paulo (Sampa) failings — of incredibly high prices and most prolifically your non-stop awareness that you could end up being a statistic of street crime; even when added together, are still not enough to deter the millions of noteworthy vagabonds seeking out São Paulo’s artistic and business energy snarled mutually together with a relentless and, stimulating 24 hour a day joie de vivre.

#96hoursinbrazil 

Where to Start Your Travels in SamPa (São Paulo - as locals call it) – Brazil…

  •        A São Paulo suburb – Brooklin, is an area just a stone’s throw from São Paulo’s Wall Street (Paulista Avenue) is being celebrated for its rise among the ranks of São Paulo’s best neighborhoods to experience South American culture and it’s food.

If you are here on Sunday you’re in luck if you are visiting Sampa than that means one thing Pizza. You should never leave this city without trying your closest pizza palace. São Paulo has become home to over five million folks from Italy and, they brought their food heritage – that has delivered to the tune of more than 5000 pizzerias, strewn across this mega-metropolis of 15 million South Americans. This city’s favorite is a New York City stylized restaurant called Braz. When you go, bring a heavy wallet and the empty stomach because São Paulo’s best will tempt your tastebuds with the revelation that Brazil is a damn good place to find a (Brazilian) wood-fire pizza.

Sampa’s incessant compulsion for eclectic fare is reinforced with the pervading din of Brazil’s most significant Foodies.  This single-minded contagious energy, that invigorates these frenzied metropolitan denizens, seemingly always has these perpetually tanned, wide-eyed smiles that always great you with an never-ending thumbs-up signs by everyone you stumble across.

My new Brazilian family

My new Brazilian family

 

Brazil’s Table… it is a harmony of diversity

Brazil is a country that is unified by its indulging yet, it is regionally divided by the deficiency of the practice. It is if you deliberate the contradictions in food heritage; culture, accolades and antipathies of the people who live in Iowa to those who live in Florida. This dissimilar display of fluctuating regional preferences at times share our American dining habits, yet a pattern in Brazil illustrates a harmony that is a diverse as it is similar. How can a culture be so diverse and at the same time similar? Food brings the well-off and deprived together in common ways! Rice, beans, coffee and cake link all Brazilians as they sit down to a meal.

 

Chef Ricardo Passarelli  owner of 170 Bistro and Chef Michael Bennett  tslk food.

Chef Ricardo Passarelli owner of 170 Bistro and Chef Michael Bennett talk food.

 

       If you are traveling in Brazil on a weekend, you will have to try the nationalized recipe called; feijoada – that can be found on any weekend dinner table and, seemingly has to be overindulged in to taste the heritage of Brazil, is the classic Brazilian recipe of black bean stew brimming with every part of a pig and is as much as part of the National Brazilian past time, as it is a daily fiscal necessity for the Brazilian populace.

#96hoursinbrazil

        Bolo: Brazilians love cake, which they call Bolo. In fact, it is one food that can be eaten at any time of the day. It is available at restaurants, corner shops, street vendors, gas stations, road stop intersections and generally any place that sells food. Bolo is often made with corn flour (like polenta) instead of wheat flour and is sometimes made with a combination of the two, giving it a different texture than what you expect in the USA.

       Brazil has always been recognized as being the world’s best source of great coffee. It is part of the Brazilian culture and you should never refuse a cup of coffee when one is offered to you at a restaurant or, by a new S.A. friend. So, downplay your state of consciousness and simply enjoy the rich roasted flavors of the humble coffee bean.

 

Coffee in Brazil #96hoursinbrazil

Every where coffee sends a welcoming note

 

Shopping in the Centro Market in São Paulo – is where we started our Pop-Up restaurant mission.

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Located in São Paulo’s Centro district, our culinary journey starts with more than just a starling acknowledgement that this is a city the screams FOOD! São Paulo’s Marketplace is where we start our culinary excursion…..

 

Sao Paluo Cento market

The Sao Paulo Centro market place is where everyone shops for dinner.

São Paulo’s #96hoursinbrazil

 

Salted Cod on display

Shopping for Salted Codfish at Sao Paulo’s Centro market

 

 

Michael Bennett in Sao Paulo

Chef and author Michael Bennett in Brazil shopping at the Cento market in Sao Paulo #96hoursinbrazil

 

Fruit at the market

Food at the #SaoPaulo #centro #market #96hoursinbrazil

 

Wine selection for #Miaminights

Wine selection for #Miaminights

 

Chef Ricardo Passarelli (left) and Chef Michael Bennett

Chef Ricardo Passarelli (left) and Chef Michael Bennett shopping at Centro Market

 

Love #Spanish #proscuitto ? Here we have Serrano Jamon  a great selection ranging from $300.00 to $800.00

Love #Spanish #proscuitto ? Here we have Serrano Jamon a great selection ranging from $300.00 to $800.00

 

#NYTIMESTRAVEL

Fruit selection in Brazil #nytcooking

Fruit selection in Brazil   @nytcooking

Chef Michael shopping in #saoPaulo

Chef Michael shopping in #SaoPaulo @NYTdining 

 

Tasting the tropical treasures on display in #brazil

Tasting the tropical treasures on display in #brazil

 #96hoursinbrazil

Outside the Centro market, Soa Paulo, Brazil

 

Cheese is so important to Brazil's dinner table we had to add it to the #MiamiNights menu #nytcooking

Cheese is so important to Brazil’s dinner table we had to add it to the #MiamiNights menu #NYTdining

 

Shopping in Brazil #nytimestravel

Shopping in Brazil #nytimestravel

 

Get here early – before 12 PM.

        The place is almost empty after 4 pm and a lot of the vendors move their products out of the confines of the walled marketplace and set it out onto the surrounding streets for sale during the rest of the evening.

 

Once we completed our hunting and gathering for our pop-up restaurant event, we jumped in the SUV and headed out of the city. Depending on the time of day, it might take you as much time getting out of downtown at rush hour as it would crossing the entire state of São Paulo’s in the middle of the night. So my hint for you is to grab some pizza or, fuel up at a Churrascaria, before gassing up and starting off.

 

Itajuba, Brazil; a place that speaks to what it is like to live all of your life in the same village you grew up in.

City marker for Itajuba

City marker for Itajuba

 

Finding your way to this provincial town  might be one that was a happy mistake by any adventurous Brazilian trekker. There are copious explanations yet unseen that will make you happy you found this animated village among the Minas Gerais highlands.

#96hoursinBrazil

Cities always grew up around the chruch

Cities always grew up around the church

 

Driving through the coldest city in Brazil

Driving through the coldest city in #Brazil

 

Home at the base of the mountain range that separates Sao Paulo and rio de Jeniero

Home at the base of the mountain range that separates Sao Paulo and Rio de Jeniero

Small villages spread across Brazilian countryside

Small Villages spread across Brazilian countryside

 

#travel in #brazil

Traveling Brazil, #96hoursinbrazil

 

Tiny villages across Brasil #96hoursinbrazil #nytimestravel

Tiny villages across Brasil #96hoursinbrazil @nytimestravel

 

#96hoursinbrazil

Mountain village in Brazil #96hoursinbrazil

 

Itajuba, Brazil is about half way between Rio De Janeiro and São Paulo’s on the north side of the Serra da Mantiqueira mountain range – that runs between the capital of Brazil and Brazil’s quasi capital (Rio). It is also the intersection of the other two cities that I came to love; Campos Do Jordao (the city that Switzerland lost during the continent drift) and Sao Lourenco (the water city) both are equally separated by Itajuba yet; seem similar because of the city’s welcoming residents.

 

traveling across Brazils countryside #96hoursinbrazil

Traveling across Brazil’s countryside #96hoursinbrazil

 

traveling across Brazils countryside #96hoursinbrazil

Traveling across Brazil’s countryside #96hoursinbrazil

 

traveling across Brazils countryside #96hoursinbrazil

Traveling across Brazil’s countryside #96hoursinbrazil

 

traveling across Brazils countryside #96hoursinbrazil

Traveling across Brazil’s countryside #96hoursinbrazil

 

Why we are here today…

       Miami Nights is the pop-up restaurant that was the brain child of Chef Ricardo Passarelli, the owner of Itajuba’s 170 Bistro. Chef Passarelli wanted to make his restaurant the “Zero Point” for culinary awakenings in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais. He decided that the menu had to reflect love of the city chef Passarelli once called home – Miami, Florida.


ricardo cooking pot

 

 

 

Miami Nights

Above: Chef Passarrelli –                 Below:  Sold out dining room at 170 Bistro for #MiamiNights #culinary expo in Itajuba, Brazil

 

Chef Michael brought to the Chef Passarelli’s Bistro 170 recipes that were conceived by mingling ideas from two of his four cookbooks. The Miami Nights menu was highlighted by the fact that some of the food enjoyed would never have been seen in Itajuba without Chef Michael Bennett packing them up in his suitcase and bringing them with him from Miami. It was not a specific ingredient that made this culinary expo unique, it was the cookery techniques and artistic food pairings that made taste-buds stand up and take notice.

 

Miami Nights menu overview

Menu overview pictorial

 

        The meal started with two choices of appetizers, continued with three entrees picks and finished with two options in dessert. A Miami favorite, an appetizer of Mahi Mahi ceviche was at times the most popular of the night. This recipe was paired with one of Chef Michael favorite recipe side dishes; baby greens en vase. This is where Chef Michael places baby greens – that are rolled into a bouquet (like a bouquet of wild flowers) – and squeezes them into a vase cut from a cucumber.

 

Mahi Ceviche and Baby greens en vase #nytcooking

Mahi ceviche and Baby greens en vase #nytcooking

 

Close up of Mahi Ceviche

Close up of Mahi ceviche

 

Ceviche in Brazil from @michaelinmiami

Ceviche in Brazil from @michaelinmiami

 

      The second appetizer selection was one of Chef Michael’s favorite cookbook recipes called Lucky 13 curry spiced shrimp. A sugarcane stalk is cut down to form a skewer and the shrimp is threaded onto this skewer. This sugarcane is not only the implement use to eat the shrimp with but it also becomes a taste altering, marinating and moisturizing maneuver to safeguard the texture of the shrimp while grilling. Because of the fragrant and honeyed flavor of the sugarcane shrimp, Chef Michael needed to place this atop an approachable taste-variance counterpoint of Kimchee made with green (under-ripe) papaya that he learned about in the Caribbean while living there (circa 2006-2009).

 

 

13 curry spiced Sugarcaned shrimp atop Caribbean Kimchee #96hoursinbrazil #nytimestravel #nytcooking

13 curry spiced Sugarcaned shrimp atop Caribbean Kimchee #96hoursinbrazil #nytimestravel #nytcooking

 

       Entrees were a South Florida milieu consisting of a certified Angus NY strip steak, with an extraordinary three-day sprouted mustard seed~Robert (row-bair) sauce and Angry pommery-balsamic, pan-roasted potatoes.

 

mustard seeds

NY strip Steak with a 3-day sprouted mustard seed Robert sauce.

 

        Another of Chef Michael Bennett’s favorite cookbook recipes that became a bombshell best seller on the third night of this culinary exposition was a Caribbean sweet spiced Mahi Mahi with a Caribbean avocado and Italian scampi salad. Last but not least was the apogee of a true South Florida and Caribbean cookery ideal; Brazilian espresso marinated, grilled pork loin and lobster-saffron (Miami-style) Paella risotto made with an infusion of locally produced in the city just a stone’s throw away from Itajuba; Mascarpone cheese.

scampi and avocado sald

scampi and avocado salad with Caribbean spiced Mahi Mahi and tobacco onions

Finally….

      Citrus is extremely important in this area of Brazil as is cheese so to highlight this, Chef Michael Bennett paired his recipes to reflect the locally available foods for Itajuba’s first culinary expo. The aftermath of all this was the dinner’s finishing touches of Chef Michael’s Saint Maarten, FIVE-liquor Tiramisu made with local Brazilian espresso and locally produced Mascarpone cheese.

The second dessert choice of a Brazilian chocolate and cardamom seed ganached base of a passionfruit – that is always extremely popular in Brazil – Tart; with a cardamom-ricotta cheese (also a locally produced cheese) Mousse dressed with a caramelized citrus sauce was a fitter selection proving Chef Michael use of localized ingredient theory.

 

passionfruit and chocolate

Two of the most important things in the Brazilian kitchen’s pantry; chocolate and passionfruit collide in this Passionfruit Tart dessert especially formatted for this #miaminights event

  

Tiramesu

Chef Michael Bennett’s FIVE Liquor Tiramesu

 

 

    The dinner was of course topped off with a multiple red and white Chilean wine selections.   
Wine selection for #Miaminights

Wine selection for #Miaminights

 

An Afternoon in another Country or, it just seems that way….

Campos do Jordao; the city that Switzerland lost during the last continental shift.

    This is a city that if you did not drive here yourself, you would believe that you were secretly discarded in Switzerland by alien abductors.

       Traveling a little more than an hour from our Itajuba gastronomic haven we ventured out early in the afternoon to Campos Do Jordao and toured the city’s mountainous (elevation: 6,000 feet) neighborhoods and after we crossed the city’s gates anyone can tell that this city was going to be very different.

The architecture in this city is amazing  #nytimestravel

The architecture in this city is amazing #nytimestravel

 

The architecture in this city is amazing  #nytimestravel

The architecture in this city is amazing #nytimestravel

 

The architecture in this city is amazing  #nytimestravel

The architecture in this city is amazing #nytimestravel

 

The architecture in this city is amazing  #nytimestravel

The architecture in this city is amazing #nytimestravel

 

The architecture in this city is amazing  #nytimestravel

The architecture in this city is amazing #nytimestravel

 

The architecture in this city is amazing  #nytimestravel

The architecture in this city is amazing #nytimestravel

 

The architecture in this city is amazing  #nytimestravel

The architecture in this city is amazing #nytimestravel

 

This city is known to be Brazil’s fashionable Swiss hot chocolate and fondue capital.

This is a place that in the wintertime (June and July –where the population quadruples) is filled with Brazilians fleeing the warm climes of equatorial Brazil to feel as though they absconded the South American continent to vacation in Switzerland’s Alps. This town is purely a vacationer’s paradise. Even in the Brazilian summer, the nights are chilly at this altitude. The town is filled with gift stores, restaurants, bars and seems to be the only reason that people are on the streets, rambling between one watering hole to another. Some people actually use the city’s antique commuter train to do this like a metro trolley.

 

Sao Lourenco (the Water City) and the Hotel Brasil

 

Overview of the city of Sao Laurenco, Brazil

Overview of the city of Sao Laurenco, Brazil

 

This city is the ultimate spring (September to October) afternoon city. A trip to Brazil’s water city can’t be complete without touring it greatest asset – the Water Park.

Entrance of #saolaurencos water park #96hoursinbrazil

Entrance of #saolaurencos water park
#96hoursinbrazil

 

The park is a walking tour of nine different tastings of naturally occurring springs. All have of the water stations have different tasting water because of the changing mineral content of each spring. To me it was just amazing to see an adjoining park district separated by little more than a few hundred yards yet, the taste from the wells were completely dissimilar.

 

Carbonated water spring

Description for the naturally sparkling water spring.

Each spring has different medicinal purposes.

Water station in Sao Lauernco's water park

Water station in Sao Laurenco’s water park

 

Bottling our own Naturally sparkling water in #saoLaurenco

Bottling our own Naturally sparkling water in #SaoLaurenco

 

sights in brazil #96hoursinbrazil #nytimestravel

Sights in Brazil #96hoursinbrazil #nytimestravel

 

      Opposite the park (Parque das Águas) district of São Lourenço; in the city center is a tradition in São Lourenço, Brazil – the Hotel Brasil.

 

Brazil's best hotel #hotelBrasil

Across the lake view of #HotelBrasil #nytimestravel

 

#hotelBrasil

Lakeview of #HotelBrasil

An afternoon at the park will lead to a family in need of replenishment. Directly in front of the Water Park is the Hotel Brasil (com – Certificate of Excellence 2014). Since the founding of this area and the discovery of the healthful spring water, the Hotel Brasil has been there.

#hotelBrasil walking up from water park

#HotelBrasil walking up from water park

 

Art in #hotelBrasil

Art collection in the #HotelBrasil in @saoLaurenco Brazil

The hotel stands out for its gentle care. This has been the branding the hotel exemplifies since the end of WW1.

 

Evaluation:

He who evaluates this hotel can not lose sight that Hotel Brasil has a full life story and during its existence it has been home to media and social personalities to Presidents of Brazil. Charming and this hotel today still keeps the glamour of the 1920’s DECO era despite several generational renovations and expansions.

 

Depiction of the #saoLaurenco area around #hotelBrasil in 1920

Depiction of the #saoLaurenco area around #HotelBrasil in 1920

 

Decor:

The building is antiquated and flows with (the) DECO style of Rio de Janeiro and South Beach of the 1920’s and 30’s

Deco hotel #hotelBrasil

 

Welcoming

Antiques neverywhere

 

Antiques neverywhere

 

Marble everywhere

Ambiance:

The ambiance is kick started with the ageless marble that surrounds you like a luxurious frock, in every sector of the hotel. Timeless flooring instigates your eyes to notice to original artisan-crafted windows and doors.

Antiques neverywhere

Don’t want to compare Hotel Brasil network hotels like; Holiday Inn, Hilton or Marriott. The hotel stands out for his gentle care and this branding is what the hotel exemplifies. It is a place that provides good moments of peace, beautiful photos with friends or family.

Sentimental value.

       Since 1917 this family has been keeping the doors of Hotel Brasil open for road warriors and the summertime family vacationer. This will be the hotel you’ll want to come back to year after the year cared for by the same waiters that have been there for over 30 years. Reserve a stay on the south side of the hotel… to get views of the water park and its lake. The north side of the hotel has views of the city.

The family that owns a fab Deco hotel #hotelBrazil

The family that owns a fab Deco hotel #HotelBrazil


Gluten Free cookbook Author Chef Michael Bennett produces another Neo-Tropical cookbook

Losing weight while eating deliciously.

 

Gluten Free cookbook Author Chef Michael Bennett produces another Neo-Tropical cookbook.


Caribean Islands have the world’s best restaurants…

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Tropical Subtropical Floribbean Cuisine examined

Tropical Subtropical Floribbean Cuisine examined.

#floribbean #cooking in South Florida


As my Vacation starts today for this year, previous years Vacations come to mind

Before my Vacation…Started?
Well it started out the same way…rush out of work before anyone actually noticed that I was trying to leave for my vacation.

Rushing sounds kinda funny when it is 3:45 AM. After putting in my usual 12 hour day in the restaurant, we have to setup for the Nite club that starts at 12 am 5 nights a week. So when I say that I try to sneak out at 3:45 am I am because we are open till 5 am.

Back when the air was still hot and the sun was high in the sky, I had to set the dining room because the waiter didn’t show up on time. After setting the outside bar I tried to get things organized in the kitchen so I can leave without worrying that the kitchen will run out of food in the first day after I leave.

I decide to do inventory and ordering later (I didn’t know later meant 3 am) and I start to inventory food supplies. As I get the prep list done, just in time as the first order comes in over the computer, I see that I have a butt-load of prep work that …. I have to handle. Being the chef and manager of a 300 seat restaurant does keep one busy (20 hours a day). After the first hour of prep time I finally get a cook to wonder in. He has a list too. Although I know he won’t be able to get his list done while preparing orders for lunch, I tell him these items have to be done for the PM staff before you leave.

Just as I finish doing 90 percent of my prep list, my partner (Michael Jr.) comes in and says that he is ready to finish the renovations to our niteclub now! Well it is un-mercifully hot in the middle of the day upstairs since the air conditioners only keep the room bearable during the day, and they haven’t been turned on yet. Since hurricane Wilma blew one of our 10 ton air conditioners off the roof, the other air units haven’t been able to keep the place cool. Junior comes back and tells me the room will be cool in a minute (which really means he will be ready in an hour) and we will go up to start with the installations of TV monitors and moving the stages for our niteclub event. So I finish over 10 percent of the prep list!

It is now mid-afternoon and it feel like the day is half gone and I haven’t started anything yet because I know the project we are about to undertake will take the rest of the evening. Just as we are planning out the placement of the monitors, the sound guy shows up and tells us he was planning to move the speaker system around to optimize what we had in the place AND, was going to take and move some of the furniture to do it. So not only am I going to be moving stages, but moving furniture for him too. Well, at least this guy helps out. We don’t have to ask him to move the speakers; he wants to do it to make the sound better.

Getting back to my vacation I think….when the hell I will be able to leave. I doesn’t look like we are ever going to be done. As a matter of fact WE DIDN’T GET DONE UNTIL THE PARTY WAS STARTING AT 11:30 PM. of course I had to get out of what I was doing to go out front and control the door. The crowd was already there for 40-50 minutes waiting to get in and they were asking the staff when we will be opening. So I rush down stairs, without cleaning up throw on a clean dress shirt, because I am soaking wet all the way to my shoes, and jump on the entrance of the club. Security has already started to let the waiting hoard in.

I count the people at the downstairs bar and can tell we have been open for a few minutes because there is already 60 people drinking and talking in the Martini Bar. After a few minutes I scurry off to the front door and try to get a handle on the carnage happening with a crowd that has been waiting too long. I notice it is 12:00 am and we are half full downstairs already. The sound is blasting from the new system upstairs. It does sound better.

As the night progresses, I have to jump into the VIP line and get the security guards to actually do their job and read ID’s from the guest. “Just because they are in the VIP line doesn’t mean they can get in without having an ID” I tell them. The night wears on as usual. The steam of patrons never seems to end. It is now 2:00am and the crowd is finally starting to diminish. There is about 450 people inside which is just an okay size crowd for a Wednesday night. I walk around the second floor check on the bartenders, to see if anything is need to replenish the backup stock of liquor, check on the food servers to see if they are low on anything on the buffet line and cruise downstairs to check on the Martini Bar again. Of course the bar back is running all the time, but the liquor cabinet upstairs is emptying quickly, so I grab him and give him some stock to replenish the cabinet.

At 2:30 am everything is good. Things are happening on the dance floor that you might only see in a Bordello, but the new sound system is making the room rumble and shake. I notice that the TV monitors that we worked on all day are off. What happened? Nobody knew that had to restart the Dance Video after it ended. So I put it on loop mode and split. It is 3:00 am I am just now getting to order the food for the weekend (while I am on vacation). I finish, leave the clip board on the desk and get ready to pack up all my shit from the office to take home. Clothes are packed up, laptop is loaded but my head is saying leave before someone cuts me off and I can make out the back door. I sit at my desk, pondering, are the police coming today? Is the crowd getting rowdy? Dare I try to leave with an hour still to go before the party wraps up? I walk around the back of the building, check all the rear entrances, check the front entrances, check security out front, everything seems okay, so I move my butt into gear and get to the car. Start the ignition as my vacation starts….


Gluten Free cookbook Author Chef Michael Bennett produces another Neo-Tropical cookbook

GLUTEN FREE COOKBOOKS FROM MIAMI CHEF

MICHAEL BENNETT

Miami, SOUTH BEACH, Fla.–(The Professional Image, Inc.)—Chef Michael Bennett has wined and dined across the Caribbean in gourmet restaurants and hotels stationed on unique tropical destinations around the world to gather recipes for his latest cookbooks.

Today, Bennett maintains a remarkable 50-pound weight loss while continuing to enjoy the absolute best in exotic tropical recipes, coupled with an active lifestyle.

“Gourmet, Gluten Free and Healthy are no longer mutually exclusive,” said Chef Michael Bennett. “I use only the finest, freshest tropical ingredients I can find to create some of the healthiest Gluten Free gourmet recipes comparable to five-star resort menu offered in the best Caribbean restaurants.”

        Chef Bennett believes that you should never have to sacrifice quality, taste, enjoyment, or satisfaction when attempting to lose 10, 50 or even 150 pounds.

Chef Bennett’s vision is simple: you deserve the best and you, too, can enjoy gourmet foods and lose and maintain a healthy weight – complimented by regular exercise. Chef Michael features delicious and healthy gourmet gluten free recipes that he developed from seven of the Caribbean’s top resort locales. His recipes have namesakes like: Antillean (Haiti-French) and Dominican (Spanish), St. Barts, Martinique (French), Blue Mountain (Jamaica-English), Belize (Central American) and St. Croix (an Island governed by 7 different countries).
Chef Bennett’s inaugural signature use of these restaurant proven recipes was at Bimini Boatyard in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and, his three generations of menu (circa 2009-2012) exemplified authentic, healthy gluten free tropical fare. After returning from his four year journey across the Caribbean, Chef Michael Bennett used only the finest and locally available quality ingredients that reflected his recipe pursuit in the Caribbean. Chef Michael first embarked offering a lighter fare for patrons who expect the best – outstanding taste and exquisite presentation – using All-Natural Seafood. His dishes soon featured gluten free as the predominate footing in future seasonal menus that eventually evolved into an entirely separate bill of fare for the restaurant.
Bennett’s recipe development namesake unify into two cookbooks: All-Natural SURF Cuisine; May, 2014 and a Gluten Free FLAVOR QUEST; July, 2014 that are being published by The Professional Image, Inc. Bennett debuts these published recipe memoirs as part of a series of healthy gourmet tropical cookbooks. Bennett intends to launch another healthy gourmet recipe cookbook later this summer earmarked “Interview with a Mango”. His groundwork and signature recipe assertion will introduce a fresh audience of Mango devotees to healthy gluten free mango recipes.

SPECIFICS:
All-Natural SURF CUISINE (ISBN: 9781495105982) features 160 page, 100 plus Gluten free Seafood recipes and 40 + Full color pictures are as vigorously innovative in the use of fresh seafood as they are ceaseless examples of a beneficial diet strategy.
A Gluten Free FLAVOR Quest (ISBN: 9781495117619) features 170 page, 125 plus gluten free recipes with over 50 Full color pictures that include pantry busting chapters in spice and marinade combinations, salads, and one just on sauces – that will astonish – paired with any food you would normally serve for dinner in your home tonight.

 

BEGINNING OF A CAREER:
From the time when chef Michael Bennett directed South Beach’s Epicure Gourmet Market’s healthy Spa-Cuisine menu expansion (circa, 1989-95), he has always wanted to revisit the console of utilization only the best locally-harvested ingredients to procreate superlative healthy All Natural, Gluten Free, Seafood-based Cookbook. In the past two years Chef Michael Bennett has been concentrating on developing and extending his solidarity of “All-Natural” and “Gluten Free” cookery with his culinary consultancies in America and in the Caribbean.
This commenced stemming from a family history where Chef Michael Bennett’s father suffered from massive heart problems. Thirty years ago his family decided to get away from beef-related dinner table but the choices in the 1970’s were limited to chicken, turkey or frozen seafood from the north. Air transportation wasn’t as advanced as today so the only seafood they ever had on the dinner table was what they caught themselves. This is how Chef Michael fostered his love and matured his knowledge of Tropical seafood.

 

CHEF Michael Bennett – SUBSTANTIVE:
Michael Bennett is a well-known award winning (Chef of the Year-1995) South Florida chef whose customers have been the Who’s Who of Media and Sports personalities. He earned critical culinary kudos as the Executive chef for the 26 year-local culinary force Left Bank restaurant. Under his auspices he brought “Best of” (Zagat Survey), Four Stars (AAA) and Four Diamonds (Mobil) to the long-standing three star rating. He also holds culinary affiliations with several culinary and food-related organizations. He regularly lectures on Gluten Free and Natural “Caribb-ican” cuisine.

 

Author’s Avail:
Chef and Author Michael Bennett, an acclaimed South Florida chef has made a name for himself by mixing culinary traditions from diverse parts of the World.

 

  • CONTACT

Press Only: Rebba Pusckor
The Professional Image, Inc.
the.foodbrat@gmail.com


Tropical Subtropical Floribbean Cuisine examined

Foodbrat:

Floribbean cuisine in Fort Lauderdale

Originally posted on Chef Michael Bennett - the Foodbrat's Blog:

What the Mango Gang joined together no one can really rend asunder.
By: Jen Karetnick
Published date:
Apr. 4, 2014

wpid-wp-1403884651860.jpegwpid-wp-1403884411251.jpegwpid-wp-1403884534637.jpegwpid-wp-1403884317173.jpegwpid-img_20140518_140512.jpgBook on laptopImage
Puzzled? That’s not surprising. A hybrid of the words Florida and Caribbean, “Floribbean” denotes the blending of these regions’ tropical ingredients – an abundance of fresh tree fruit, ground roots and seafood – with warm-weather-friendly cooking techniques like marinating and grilling. It was, and still is, a term widely accepted by well-educated diners, by those who live here as well as by those who visit. “Floribbean” even appears as a valid category in online dining directories such as Frommer’s.

But while it makes perfect sense for prospective diners to pigeonhole places with a cutesy portmanteau, many of the South Florida chefs preparing this type of fusion reject it. They feel the moniker lacks dignity, and neglects other elements of the cuisine as a whole – namely…

View original 1,864 more words


Tropical Subtropical Floribbean Cuisine examined

What the Mango Gang joined together no one can really rend asunder.
By: Jen Karetnick
Published date:
Apr. 4, 2014

wpid-wp-1403884651860.jpeg wpid-wp-1403884411251.jpeg wpid-wp-1403884534637.jpeg wpid-wp-1403884317173.jpeg wpid-img_20140518_140512.jpg Book on laptop Image
Puzzled? That’s not surprising. A hybrid of the words Florida and Caribbean, “Floribbean” denotes the blending of these regions’ tropical ingredients – an abundance of fresh tree fruit, ground roots and seafood – with warm-weather-friendly cooking techniques like marinating and grilling. It was, and still is, a term widely accepted by well-educated diners, by those who live here as well as by those who visit. “Floribbean” even appears as a valid category in online dining directories such as Frommer’s.

But while it makes perfect sense for prospective diners to pigeonhole places with a cutesy portmanteau, many of the South Florida chefs preparing this type of fusion reject it. They feel the moniker lacks dignity, and neglects other elements of the cuisine as a whole – namely, its Deep South, Asian and Mediterranean influences.

Today, the debate continues, with some Fort Lauderdale chefs calmly acknowledging that their contemporary “farm-to-table cuisine” has Floribbean roots, and others flatly denying that Floribbean by any other name smells just as enticing, even when the evidence is on the plates in front of them.

Floribbean – The History

At the time the name was coined, back in the late 1980s, South Florida chefs – mainly those in Miami who were conducting this epicurean renaissance – were actively trademarking Floribbean cuisine a number of other ways. Norman Van Aken, at a Mano, and Allen Susser, at Chef Allen’s, both called it New World Cuisine, publishing cookbooks on the subject. At Mark’s Place, Mark Militello, who combined the goods from artisans from all over the country with local product, preferred New American. Cuban counterpart Douglas Rodriguez, approaching the dishes from a Hispanic sensibility at YUCA in Coral Gables, termed it, logically, Nuevo Latino.

Together, these four pioneers were labeled the “Mango Gang” for their collective and oft-experimental use of tropical fruit, local flora and fauna and borrowed modus operandi. (Mango Gang is another name, it should be noted, that was also roundly loathed.) Other Miami chefs were quickly added to their circle: Johnny Vinczencz, gaining fame at Astor Place as the “Caribbean Cowboy;” Robbin Haas at the Colony Bistro; Tony Sindaco at Langosta Beach; Michael Schwartz at Nemo; Cindy Hutson and Delius Shirley at Ortanique on the Mile.

No matter what it was called, and which cultural arm it pulled on most, the cuisine was met by critics with a mixture of love and hate, admiration and envy, clarity and confusion. Dishes were a riot of influences with titles as long as those of Fall Out Boy songs, such as Van Aken’s “Snapper Escabeche Ensalada with Salsa Romesco, Arbequine Olives, Avocado, Oranges, and Ribbons of Greens.” One plate could have as many as five or six different components on it – a protein, a starch, a sauce, a salsa, a garnish – built on top of each other architecturally. Successful dishes were just that; failures were like pileups on I-95, with each element spun around in a different direction.

Along with varying appellations, regional chefs had fluctuating definitions for Floribbean fare. Dean James Max, who launched 3030 Ocean at the Harbor Beach Resort and Spa in Fort Lauderdale (then assisted by Hell’s Kitchen runner-up Paula DaSilva, who is now executive chef there) says, “This wave of cooking started as the first wave of farm-to-table. The chefs heavily involved in this were simply showcasing the mangos, guava and other fruits and vegetables like yucca and plantains that were being grown in South Florida. What’s special about it was that it was the first sign of what farm-to-table and local was all about in the region.”

Although Max missed the first flush of Floribbean cuisine in Miami, he was at the forefront of it in Broward County when Mango Gang-era chefs like Johnny Vinczencz, chef-owner of Johnny V. on Las Olas Boulevard, and Tony Sindaco, chef-owner of SEA in Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, migrated north. They joined chef Oliver Saucy and Darrel Broek, co-owners of the 30-year-old Café Maxx in Pompano Beach, where Saucy had always followed a fresh-and-local credo set forth by his father, who taught him to cook long before he attended the Culinary Institute of America.

“This was the evolution where the chefs said, in essence: ‘Let’s make the cultural food of the Caribbean flavors [into] fine dining.’ And they did,” Max says. “Some still wanted to use ingredients like foie gras, but they paired it with mango and citrus. Some took lobster and paired it with vanilla and avocado. There also was a lot of flavor blending of different food styles from Puerto Rico to Cuba, to Jamaica and [elsewhere]. Lots of cool things were happening that made the press take a look.”
One of those very cool things was the treatment of Indo-Asian flavors. They came into the mix by virtue of African, Indian and Chinese immigration to the islands and then, by extension, South Florida. These stewed, curried and wok-fried rudiments are an integral part of Floribbean cuisine, one of the reasons why chefs objected to its non-inclusive name in the first place.
Climate, however, plays the main role in introducing those now-familiar fundamentals to the cuisine, argues chef and cookbook author Michael Bennett, who most recently held the helm at Bimini Boatyard Bar & Grill on SE 17th Street.

“The cookery that was born here in South Florida was shaped with incalculable Asian culinary principles. Not only did they help shape methodologies, they espoused the use of locally harvested Asian ingredients that can only be nurtured here in this part of the United States. Luckily for Floridians, seafood especially loves being paired on the plate with Asian ingredients like a variety of citrus, coconuts and lychees.”

AJ Yaari, owner of the recently debuted, ultra-contemporary Tsukuro, where small plates such as oxtail spring rolls blend the best of the region with Asian authenticity, acknowledges the ease with which Asian influences have slipped into Florida. “Because of our proximity to the sea and year-round growing seasons, Floridians are accustomed to fresh foods year-round. It is very similar to the Asian culinary and street-food culture where fresh ingredients are sourced and cooked.”

But he is quick to note that the Fort Lauderdale Beach-situated Tsukuro, which means “where the moon arrives over the water,” is more difficult to classify. “We do not fit in the mold of Floribbean just because we are in Florida or have citrus and mango in some of our dishes, nor are we Asian-Fusion, which marries various Asian cuisines. While ‘Florasian’ has a nice ring, we wouldn’t classify ourselves as that either. We consider our food ‘Asian-Inspired’ because we marry global and Asian cuisines to add depth and flavor; dishes are curiously familiar but surprisingly different. It’s a style we felt strongly would appeal to South Florida’s growing landscape of sophisticated, adventurous diners, as well as visitors who travel to our resort destination from around the world.”

Floribbean – The Present

Given the disagreement over the Floribbean name and definition, it should come as no great shock that many of today’s chefs either refuse to admit that their cuisine is Floribbean, or don’t even know what that means in the first place.

For example, the chef team from the Seminole Hard Rock complex displayed their goods at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival in February. The presentations consisted of dishes such as chicharrón bites, mango chimichurri, queso blanco, pickled onion and roasted tomato salsa; an arepa slider (braised carne asada, fresh mozzarella, cilantro garlic aioli, avocado, crispy corn arepa); and chocolate hazelnut panna cotta (Nutella, coffee gelée, toasted banana cake, chocolate cookie crumbs). Even the cocktails, including a caipirinha made with Leblon cachaça, simple syrup, pineapple, mint and lime juice, seemed like a Floribbean given.

But an inquiry to feature the chefs and their fare brought the following answer from their press representative: “The team will be passing on this opportunity. [They] said they don’t have any Floribbean cuisine to offer up at this time.”

Most likely, the reluctance to identify with Floribbean sprouts from the very same kind of thing that gave birth to the label in the first place: a trend. As much as critics were quick to define culinary paradigms in the 1990s, and chefs were quick to align themselves with one, this decade sees the same professionals trying to resist classifying and being classified.

To that end, some see Floribbean cuisine as dead in the warm, tropical water. “It’s a thing of the past. The product is not being used the way it was with the Mango Gang,” Sindaco says. “It had its run, and that’s not such a bad thing.”

Bennett disagrees. He still sees Floribbean alive and well in several establishments, including his alma mater Bimini Boatyard – which he says offers “Caribb-ican cuisine,” a subjective interpretation of Floribbean that he created – and 15th Street Fisheries, which he notes is “currently flaunting a Latino-Floribbean cuisine.”

As far as flaunting goes, Johnny V. continues to be crowded, and not much menu evolution has gone on there. Down the street, the very on-trend YOLO, run by the former Himmarshee folks, delivers some Floribbean dishes, although it leans more Mediterranean overall. At 3030 Ocean, the always in-demand Paula DaSilva has picked up where Dean Max left off, with plenty of sophisticated, far-from-overwrought Floribbean fare. And the much-beloved Café Maxx, unlike southern counterparts Norman’s, Chef Allen’s and Mark’s Place, appears to be like bamboo in a hurricane: unbreakable.
In addition, long-running Eduardo de San Angel can be interpreted as Floribbean-Mexican; Blue Fire Grille in the Fort Lauderdale Marriott North has a Floribbean-Mediterranean vibe; Salt Life Food Shack in Coral Springs has a good number of items that qualify; and Sugar Reef Grill, on Hollywood Beach, has had a long run with items that include tropical fish stew in green curry sauce and Jamaican pork loin. Farther west, you can also find Floribbean dishes at the Banyan Restaurant and Bar Zen at the Bonaventure Resort & Spa.

Floribbean – The Future

Is farm-to-table the culmination of Floribbean fare? Has it evolved to the point of disappearance? Or has Floribbean cuisine turned into Asian fusion, served at swank beach establishments such as Tsukuro?

Perhaps we should define Floribbean, and search for it, based on what it isn’t, as Bennett suggests.

“What Floribbean is not is a cuisine that is solely based on the ideals of a singular chef as it was in 1995. Now Floribbean cuisine is more an ideal rather than an unusual ingredient vat,” he emphasizes. “In Broward, one must look at the dining public to foresee if the Floribbean cuisine we once knew will continue to flourish. Our dining clientele has so drastically changed in the last decade there cannot be a discussion about its future without evaluating the clientele of Fort Lauderdale. Since Fort Lauderdale is a family-centric metropolis, so will be restaurant menus. Restaurants need to serve family-friendly food, so Floribbean cuisine is not seen as regularly as it once was.”

Or maybe we should acknowledge that it has simply been absorbed into the current food culture. In a way, it seems that Floribbean has become an influence all of its own. And for those willing to do a little research, that’s acceptable. As Max, who has himself gone on to other climes with his DJM restaurants in the Midwest and West, notes: “I think if you looked at a lot of the local chefs’ menus you could pull off one or two things that would classify as Floribbean, but I don’t see that many going fully in that style. It’s almost become a part of the menus like Italian tomato [and mozzarella] salad or Caesar salad.”

But in another light, it looks like Floribbean cuisine has been assimilated – which means its destiny as a regional cuisine lies in the hands of a new generation of chefs, much like the ones who created it in the first place.
- See more at: http://flmag.com/features/tropical-subtropical#sthash.lgHIEsHC.dpuf¬


Soursop

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Soursop and snapper @michaelinmiami website


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