Cooking events by Chef Michael Bennett

Chef Michael Bennett’s #popup restaurant and Culinary lectures in South Miami (Coral Gables) at Fairchild Gardens.

 

Chef Michael Bennett
Chef Michael Bennett lecturing at the Rare Fruit Council International – Miami, Fl. USA

 

Chef Michael Bennett
Chef Michael Bennett ready to do some cooking at the South Beach Wine and Food Festival #sobewwf – Miami, Fl. USA

The South Beach Wine and Food Festival – #sobewff featured chef: http://sobewff.org/personality_detail.php?id=104

 

 

Sample recipes by Chef Michael Bennett:

Check out @michaelinmiami’s Tweet: https://twitter.com/michaelinmiami/status/554456883135016961?s=09

Chocolate ganache bottom Passionfruit tart
Chef Michael Bennett’s most well-liked dessert presented for Miami Nights #popup restaurant in Itajuba, Brazil S.A.

 

 

 

 

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Foodbrats only work in Food

Chef Michael Bennett in Brazil spreading the word about cooking like a South Florida Chef.

This past october, Chef Michael Bennett traveled to Brazil to create a three day #popup restaurant called Miami Nights.

Chef Michael’s menus reflected how Brazilians could cook like a South Beach Chef. Chef Michael brought dozens of his cookbooks with him to give to the patrons so they could replicate the recipes.

 

 

Chef Michael Bennett writes for other chefs and restaurants.

Chef Michael Bennett

Planning the future with chef Michael Bennett

In the times when you never seem to be able to get the word out about you and your food, the FOODBRAT comes through… here is an article that Chef Michael Bennett (the FoodBrat) wrote about Chef Scott Andres.

Examiner.com Article:

Hometown Celebs:

Part one of three

Ex – Publix GreenWise Chef –

Scott Andres is Florida‘s Food Liaison.

      When you go about your daily responsibilities, shopping for dinner is something everyone does eventually. Chef Scott Andres has awakened all of us in the Southern United States with his culinary propensities.

Chef Scott’s Culinary Soul.

If you lived in Florida any time between the years 2006 to the present, Chef Scott Andre’s ideas about food and his ideals about cooking have cultivated a relationship with you through tonight’s family dinner.

The chef defines his approach and translations of his cookery through his reflections of dining in Las Vegas at Aureole, when he was a culinary student team member where he played a key part in the annual American Culinary Federation’s Robert G. Galand Knowledge Bowl.

Here is the link to Aureole in Las Vegas, where Chef Andres affirms that, “this is where I ate the best meal of my life”.
http://www.charliepalmer.com/Properties/Aureole/LasVegas/Menu/
Chef Scott Andres describes his culinary approach of his cooking views through his reflections of his culinary tour of Las Vegas restaurants as a fledgling Foodie.

“My favorite dining memory is dining at Charlie Palmer‘s – Aureole – in Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay hotel. While dining at Aureole, I discovered that their neo-classic cuisine was formulated by assembling layer upon layer of complex, yet harmonizing flavors. Till this day I can’t eat an elegant meal without relating it to the dazzling cookery styling of Chef Charlie Palmer”.

“At Aureole, Chef Palmer demonstrated that there are no food-pairing boundaries under one creative roof. He showed me that you can use savory ingredients in desserts and sweet ingredients in savory. These principles have led me to my latest creative venture”, say Chef Andres.

“I combine all of my culinary experience with my gift of creativity to create food that is new, exciting and makes people feel happy when they eat it”, says Chef Andres.

This is key to Chef Andres as he prepares a delectably genteel new gourmet dining standard. He says: “I want my cooking to spawn a feeling of happiness from the inside out”. While traveling to Las Vegas he encountered a new culinary ideal. One that draws a diner into solely focusing on what they are eating.

He describes it as: “being able to bring the diner into a singular realm of concentrating on what they are relishing and blocking out everything else they have going on in their lives for that isolated moment.”

Walking a Day in a Chef’s Shoes…

Chef Andres has been the developmental chef in charge of producing a business program so important to Publix Corporation that they gave it their most critical and important “Tier 1” designation. The importance of this new business idea and the NEW profits that were generated by Chef Scott Andre’s ideas have made the largest impact on the grocery business this decade.

Working with all the top level executives in the Publix Corporation, Chef Andres developed the ground breaking gourmet grocer based individual business units that feature a diverse and  individual carte du jourAction Stations (as he calls them) enterprises and distinct personality for their new corporate strategy across the United States. This new business unit was baptised GreenWise prepared foods. Anyone buying dinner across Florida can see his fingerprints on what you have bought for tonight’s dinner.

“It is important that my at-the-moment cooking a.k.a. Action Stations and, Publix’s “Aprons” cooking school recipes, tell a story about the culture they characterize. The dishes that are prepared at the (moment they are requested) action stations must be colorful and visually captivating, combining textures and shapes to create a visual work of art that you are eager to devour”, says Chef Andres.

As Chef Andres developed these new dishes, he insisted that Publix use the freshest ingredients to prepare dishes and, they must be in their optimum appearance and of the highest premium quality. Ingredients must be prepared with the utmost in culinary professionalism as these innovative recipes have been shaped with an extreme respect to maintaining their distinct cultural integrities. Their ingredient pantries have been deployed in a perfect balance to create a dish that delivers the best culturally-based representation that you could experience anywhere and, one that you remember forever and, compare all others for the rest of your life.

“I want that person to be completely drawn into focusing on every aspect of their food as they block out everything else they have going on in their lives for that moment. It is important that the new dish they are experiencing tells a story about the culture it represents. The dish must be colorful and visually captivating, combining textures and shapes to create a visual work of art to get you excited to eat it”.

“This is what I am thinking about when I fashion a new dish. I strive to achieve these strategies every time my hands create food. These guidelines of thought are the obligations that I am asking myself, am I creating a recipe that will accomplish this? And, can these recipes be prepared by another chef”, continues Chef Andres.

 

Part Two:

Scott Andres- Florida’s latest Food Truck Chef to enter Tampa Bay’s Foodie scene.

      As a creative; I want to create. Whether it is written words or complex delicacies that build an edgy spark for your tastebuds. These words are screaming in my mind while listening to Chef Scott Andres talk.

      The pearl that one discovers while writing about cooking with a Fusion cuisine head is that there are no limits to your subsequent footing. (the foodbrat)

As a Florida culinary creative, you always strive to produce new compositions and new-fangled twists on cookery classics. That is where Food Trucks and Fusion Cuisine have made a big impact with seriously experimental chefs. Doing it with style is what any chef tries to accomplish to gratify his characteristic Top Chef’s golden-era head, as he works to build a treasure trove of ingredients spiked with bold and sassy flavors of cultures from around the World.

    A chef’s responsibility is to keep true to his own culinary foundations while building upon BLUNT bedrock to his culinary esteem. We as creatives have found these descriptors are our lineage and our future. Tomorrow’s cuisine necessitates the establishment of an innovative cuisine based upon culinary classics that are newly  fused with innovative cookery philosophies. This is how Fusion Cuisine and Food Trucks are going to blossom.

Throughout the centuries, change arose this way. Every innovative culinary break through began by first using the current culinary wisdom and augmenting it with a new hook.

Back to our interview with Chef Scott Andres.

  Throughout America, today’s hottest culinary trend is operating a Food Truck. The entirety of what Food Trucks are doing is different business-wise yet, is based upon what has come before it.

Before it all Started….

As we left off in our first part of this interview, Chef Scott Andres was describing his experiences developing new menus and a gourmet culinary concept for the prolific grocery store chain – Publix | Greenwise market. (the FoodBrat)

Years before the first Publix GreenWise concept was constructed in 2007, Chef Scott Andres worked on defining this project with top Publix Executives. Due to his life-long culinary experience and Fusion Food philosophies he would define their new globally-inspired Fusion menu strategies used at all new GreenWise markets.  That is when the ball started rolling and Chef Andres ideas were implemented at multiple high-trafficked Publix markets.

Lake Mary (Florida) Publix was the first regular Publix to be retro-fitted with the new gourmet-market menu marquee and it became his recipe testing ground for all other Greenwise market concepts to follow. This beta situation helped with framing new GreenWise menu strategies and hundreds of recipes which developed an abundant following.

Fusion Food Chef Scott Andres harkens back to the time when he was a young foodie, all the way back to when his mother taught him about the classic American home-style “comfort foods”. He maintains, “everyone I know loves recipes such as: beef Stroganoff, Shepherd’s pie and Brown gravy, simmered pork chops with buttery White rice and, they still hold a special spot in my heart. To this day I use them to evaluate any of the new, yet wonderfully intricate recipe that I create”, he continues.

A Journey that starts now….

“My life’s journey has afforded me what I consider to be my biggest challenge and greatest opportunity yet. It seems as though I am going to finally create and cultivate what I set out to do when I began attending culinary school many years ago”, Chef Andres admits.

“I am discovering my aloof dream by fashioning a mobile bistro from the ground up. My vision will be on wheels, not your usual brick and mortar restaurant, that young chefs dream about. I am creating my culinary legacy for myself and my forthcoming family ”, say chef Andres.

“It will be a full-on kitchen Food Truck concept.  My dream is to create a professional mobile kitchen based inside an edgy logo-wrapped truck with a boisterous menu that has a funky name for funky-little menus that vaunt plenty of personality and of course a brilliantly executed dishes. The concept will center around smoked meats offered with a variety of traditional barbecue sides. The smoked meats will be served in non-traditional ways by incorporating many boldly flavored personalities from formable cuisines such as: Southwest, Indian and Asian influences”, states the chef.

From the Chef:

      “The goal is to incorporate as many fresh components as possible as a way to accent the smoked meats and set them off with complementary and assertive hand prepared sauces”. 

“In some dishes the smoked meat may stand alone and others will BE FASHIONED as hand held, dashboard cuisine-style dishes. The smoked meat may be served on a warm flatbread or tortilla then garnished with additional fresh ingredients that add color, textures and flavors to enhance the presentation and the overall eating experience. We will also provide daily changing chef inspired creations to keep the menu options new and exciting”, says chef Scott Andres.

“I wish I could tell you the name of the food truck at this time but, you’ll have to stay tuned for that information at a later date”.

The truth is, I have not been able to land on the definitive name. Trust me this will be an exciting time for everyone pursuing the same goal. During the phase of recipe development and menu targeting, I will be merging emphasis on building in a streamlined linear menu execution plan that can be replicated for additional trucks or a brick and mortar location. My ultimate goal would be to create a food brand with such a committed customer following that franchising will be a possibility down the road.

Any thoughts about the growing trend – of chefs putting their own name on packaged foods?

“When I was a young cook I remember having a few buddies that went into construction and were making much better money than me; they were usually done working by 3 pm; holidays and weekends were always taken off.  I did not care because I had found harmony in my life and money did not matter (Ok, I was a little confused). Then, I worked for a chef who was pretty famous, had multiple restaurants and was making loads of money”. He asked, “why did I cook for a living?” “I said because it is my passion”, he looked me in the eye and said, “passion does not pay the bills, money does”. “You should do whatever it takes to make as much money as possible because there are very few old chefs that are still successful cooking on the line at 60 years old”.

So, I am good with chefs that put their names on packaged foods”.

 

Part Three~

Scott Andres

It all comes down to this.

Questioning the Food Truck Myths…

 

“Everything comes to you as they are supposed to be”, a wise man said to me once in the Caribbean. And, so goes the Food Truck business. These articles are finishing with a recap of Chef Scott Andres Business plan.  I have been learning about the Food Truck business for the past few months as he told me of how he plans to develop his business. He is now under the gun of his own self-imposed timeline.  A timeline that is constantly being replaced with another unfolding opening date.

Now that gas prices have increased so dramatically, his bottom line has shrunk without serving even the first hand-held morsel. Here are a few things that have come up to keep the wheels spinning in his head but, not on the pavement.

What is the Name of your food truck concept?

Chef Andres is waiting for that A-ha moment. A spark that will generate the right name, one that encompasses and represents the entire concept and defines his menu accurately.

I actually have multiple pages of names written down but, I want to fall in love with the name of my food truck concept” say Chef Scott.

Right now, none of the names really excite me. I don’t like cliff-hanger endings, I’m more of a closure kind of guy. So believe me, when I know, you’ll know. Sorry, you’ll have to patiently stay tuned for now”.

What will Core Menu and Specialties be:

“Smoked meats that are served both hot and cold will be the mainstays additionally, the entire menu will be established around using the liveliest of ingredients with key notes prepared using whole foods”, says the Chef.

Why did you decide to start a food truck concept?

“I began my quest in culinary school at Florida Culinary Institute in West Palm Beach, Florida. My idea was that one day I would take everything that I learned, and apply it in my own business, leaving a legacy for my children”, says Chef Andres.

“Well, here I am, I have finally arrived at that very important place in creating my gourmet food truck concept and, I couldn’t be more excited about this opportunity” opines Chef Scott Andres.

Troubles and Challenges?

“Relying upon others to help make needed modifications”. Chef Andres relies upon many different people to get his business going. Just finding someone to work on the step-van truck was another problem. When he has to repair his mobile kitchen, he has a hard time getting the proper parts.

His truck is a converted food delivery truck. He found that the person who owned the truck before used parts from other varieties of step-vans.  Step-vans are also on the road for decades. The companies that build these vans built themselves out of business.  So getting parts can be hard because some of these step-van builders are gone.  Custom repairs seem to be the only answer.

Work Flow and Placement…

Fitting your equipment into your new Food Truck could be as difficult as using a shoe horn to get an elephant’s foot into a stiletto. The equipment has to be set up to be removable if the menu changes and placed into the van so your steps to accomplish a dish are streamlined. The equipment has to be convertible. Meaning that a flat-top refrigerator should always be bought because they need to be used for a working surfaces.

Truck Approved for Full-on Production.

The Health Department can be your best friend or, cost you more than you planned. They lay down the rules about where and how you plan to prepare food. The Health Department watchdogs can examine your food preparation kitchen (that is usually in your home) and approve it or, insist that you have to conduct your business through in an approved commercial kitchen.

Increase Customer Flow….

To increase customer turnover and get them through the ordering and cashing-out process has to be streamlined as well. “No one wants to wait, but they will if they see the lines are moving at a steady pace, they will wait to order”, says chef Scott.

Meats…

For me meats such as beef, pork, turkey are going to be the culinary stars. The Accompaniments are going to be the supporting Cast members.  My sauces and condiments will be paired with the main ingredients to create an interactive culinary experience for the customer. The scope of accompaniments will give people the opportunity to play with their food while mixing and matching to their preference.

The Chef Highlights:

Smoked rare roast beef piled high on a soft roll, with a fresh grated horseradish sauce and my own special home-made ketchup will be the sauce that might be my main forte. Then the sides of a SouthWestern slaw and crisp chili-dusted potatoes will the side available to add to the hand-held masterpiece.

Simple Things…

“Cross-utilization is not only going to be a money savings process for my business, because I will offer so many alternative choices it is also going to be a time saving device for me while providing variety for the customer. If am going to serve something with cabbage, this condiment will also have alternative uses”, says Chef Andres.  The cabbage will of course be offered as an old fashion slaw but, it will also be the ingredients in a dispenser so the customer can add a South-Western soiree slaw.  This slaw will be available for a Bajan Fish Taco as an alternative to the Asian-style slaw that I created for the taco.

Twists that were Not Expected?

Propane gas instead of natural? As the Chef details all these little things, some questions come up such as how are you going to cook the food? The gas available to fuel the equipment is commonly overlooked. “Natural gas of course burns hotter and heats more efficiently, but the availability and ease of attaining propane gas is a no-brainer.”

How did you Work through the Down Times?

“We always have small events being booked. I started this business with a small smoker trailer. The smoker trailer gives me the availability to do smaller events that are peppered throughout the year to sustain us during down time where we have been waiting for business approvals and custom truck renovations”.

Staffing…

“My staff is only on-call right now. We still have no full time commitments except for family members. It is just extra money for my on-call staff.  For now, my calls to work are just a little unexpected something extra”.

What Food Truck Groups did You Hook-up with?

Tampa Bay Food Trucks. It is a small group of about ten Food Trucks. Small groups make it better for everyone involved right now during the first year of these Food Truck rallies. The customer base is  relatively plentiful so there are sufficient business to be divided among vendors.

Another cost that Food Truck Vendors do not realize ahead of time is the Pay for Play – to be involved with these rallies. A surcharge is levied upon the Vendors to pay for city permits and lot rentals that the organizers have to pay the city. Sometimes, this a pre-event cost, other times an Event Managers might just take a cut of your sales. So plan for both, yet remember this is just one more thing you have to build into the cost of selling your products.

Is it Important to be Involved with the other Vendors at these Rallies?

The learning early on from another vendor might be the most important thing you can obtain ahead of time. “Go to some local Rallies and ask questions. I find, the more trucks involved in a rally, the better. It makes the event more popular, drawing more customers. They will likely have extra customer-friendly activities to draw even more customers”, says Chef Andres.

Sales Forecast…

$100,000 estimated sales for my first year, providing me a small gross profit and the out-right purchasing of my used Step-van Truck was better to free up operational cash reserves for the long run. The way we built this from the ground up, I save at least $100K in cost of buying a pre-Fab Food Truck. It was a decision of time vs. the amount of start-up money. I had a lot more time than money to get this business going.

In Five Years…

I will have my second or third truck on the road so, I can cover more events.

Your Traveling Range and Days Off…

I plan on doing rallies from Orlando to Sarasota.  “My weekend events are going to be my most important. Thursdays through Sundays are going to be my bread and butter. Monday through Wednesday will be my days for preparing for these events”.

Article published 4-1-12

Examiner and all over the Internet.

18th ANNUAL BALI HA’I AT THE KAMPONG

SUNDAY, APRIL 1, 2012

The 18th annual Bali Ha’i Party – will take place Sunday, April 1, 2012, from 5 to 8 p.m. South Florida’s favorite garden party/food & wine fundraiser is held at its annual location “The Kampong” garden. South Florida’s exotic botanical oasis in Coconut Grove that offers the perfect setting such an event. South Florida’s favourite chefs and restaurants offer visitors exquisite wines, champagnes and exotic libations along with the uber-tempting culinary samplings from over 30 top South Florida restaurants.

In addition, a cornucopia of luxurious auction items will be available for bidding by event.

The event, a collaborative effort between The Kampong and the South Florida Chapter of The American Institute of Wine & Food. Bali Ha’i also raises funds to further the goals of the American Institute of Wine & Food. Regarded as one of the most important food and wine events on the Miami social calendar, Bali Ha’i at The Kampong has sold out each of its previous seventeen years.

Last year’s “People’s Choice” award winners Hakkasan at Fontainebleau Miami Beach will be joined by South Florida’s top chefs from: River Seafood & Oyster Bar, The Dutch at W South Beach, J&G Grill (Jean-Georges Vongerichten) at the St Regis Bal Harbour, 1500° at The Eden Roc, 3030 Ocean (chef and cookbook author – Dean Max), Altamare, Azul at The Mandarin Oriental, Mango Café, Ortanique on the Mile (Cindy Hutson), Sawa Restaurant & Lounge, Essensia at The Palms Hotel and the Wynwood Kitchen & Bar.

For more information you can contact:
Email: spikeanddan@aol.com
Telephone: (305) 899-5847 or (305)-542-8762.

Gluten free recipe from the new cookbook “In the Land of Misfit, Pirates and Cooks”.

Gluten-free, Savory Sweet recipe for Wahoo, a fish with unusually good flavor and this dish is as healthy as it is delicious

Charolette Amaile Wahoo –
a Caribbean-influenced gluten free recipe.
Serves: 6
Chef Michael Bennett says this is a simply elegant gluten free dish and its depth in taste equals that of the port for which it is named. The port of Charoltte Amaile (St Thomas U.S.V.I.) is deep enough for the Queen Mary 2 (largest steamliner in the world) to be docked.
The gluten-free recipe calls for Wahoo but, chef Michael Bennett says you can also substitute Mahi Mahi or Cobia. Both are great locally caught fish that is extremely popular in Miami. This sauce is a glaze to be “mopped” over the fillet of Wahoo as it cooks on a wood-fire grill. Chef Michael gives us this recipe to highlight some of the Gluten-free recipes in his new cookbook “In the Land of Misfits, Pirates and Cooks”.

Ingredients:
3 lbs. Wahoo, evenly divided into 6 portions
1/2 cup Caramel mop, see recipe below
As needed Salt and white pepper, 5:1 ratio-mixed
2 tbs. Thai peanut sauce dry mix, found in Asian markets
1 cup Plantain chips, found in Latino grocery markets
As needed Oil
3 cup Yucca pieces, 1/2 inch chopped, blanched in boiling salted water
1 each Red bell pepper, roasted and chopped roughly
1 each Shallot, chopped
2 each Garlic kernels, finely chopped
2 bunch Pencil asparagus, blanched in salted water

Directions:
Dust the wahoo with a little of the salt and pepper mixture. Let rest in the refrigerator, while you are doing the other parts of this recipe. Grind the plantains into a meal with a food processor. Add in the Thai peanut sauce base mixture. Mix well.
Over hot coals, grill the wahoo fillet for 3 minutes per 1 inch of thickness on one side and then flip and cook 3 minutes more on the other side, glazing with the caramel mop as it cooks. Coat with the Thai peanut-plantain mixture on the top of the fillets of wahoo after the second side is cooked. Keep in a warm oven.
Next, saute the shallots and garlic quickly, add the yucca and continue to cook about three minutes. Toss in the peppers and saute (”to jump”) to distribute them in the pan. Press the yucca into a 4 or 5 inch ring mold in the center of the plate. Remove the mold and set the wahoo on top. Encircle this presentation with more of the caramel mop sauce. Arrange the asparagus around the yucca, pointing out to the edges of the plate like the hands of a clock.

Second part of recipe:
Caramel Mop
Serves: 25
One of my favorite “mops” for grilled NY strip steaks and richly flavored fish fillets like mahi mahi, wahoo, escolar and even salmon.

Ingredients
12 oz. Coca-Cola, reduced to a syrup
4 oz. Espresso
4 oz. Garlic, roasted, chopped
6 oz. Shallots, chopped
2 oz. Apple juice concentrate
3 oz. Kahlua liquor
3 oz. GF Soy sauce
2 oz. Balsamic vinegar
1 oz. Frangelico liquor
1 oz. Triple sec
5 oz. Pick a peppa sauce, see weblink QR code
2 tbs. Black pepper
2 tbs. Seasalt
2 tbs. Xanthan Gum

Instructions:
In a small pan, bring 12 oz. of Coca-Cola to a boil and let this volume reduce by 2/3. Add the next 10 items to the pot and let simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool. Place in a food processor and grind well until everything is pulverized into a slurry. Add the thickener slowly to this mix and place in a squirt bottle.

To use:
Drizzle this “mop” (sauce) over top any grilled poultry, pork, beef or baby back rib and brush all around the food as it is cooking atop the grill.

Read more: http://www.thedailymeal.com/gluten-free-recipe-new-cookbook-land-misfit-pirates-and-cooks#ixzz1br7YOh28
http://www.thedailymeal.com/gluten-free-recipe-new-cookbook-land-misfit-pirates-and-cooks#ixzz1ZHs1Ukva

Chef Michael Bennett featured in the Sun-Sentinel newspaper

Spiked sweets:

Desserts that get cheers and booze
Here’s proof that a little alcohol in treats can lift everyone’s spirits

Bimini Boatyard’s chocolate cake is made with Jack Daniel’s, Myer’s Rum, Kahlua, Frangelico and Grand Marnier. (Ginny Dixon, Sun Sentinel / October 6, 2011)

Recipe: Jack Black and friends’ death by chocolate from Bimini Boatyard

by: Jan Norris, Correspondent

October 6, 2011

At Bimini Boatyard Bar & Grill in Fort Lauderdale, chef Michael Bennett sometimes takes inspiration from the bar.

It was the Death by chocolate martini — vodka, half-and-half, chocolate liqueur and dark creme de cacao — that led him to create a dessert he calls Jack Black and friends’ death by chocolate.

Bennett starts with mini-cakes in muffin tins from a boxed mix. He soaks them in a buttery-liquor concoction and then coats them in a smooth chocolate ganache spiked with the same liquors.

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They may be mini, but their kick is mighty.

“It explodes with flavor,” says Bennett. “Even a little piece will send you to chocolate heaven.”

death by chocolate by chef michael bennett
Death by Chocolate, a five liquor ganache cake

Created three years ago, they’re so popular that he doesn’t dare take them off the menu.

Chefs across South Florida are taking their cues from bartenders. That’s because mixologists are the latest culinary geniuses. They create sweet, and sometimes savory, concoctions that elevate even the simplest bar experience. Think Cucumber-basil-mint juleps and Smoky maple bacon old-fashioneds.

Pickled fruits, infusions of herbs and vegetables, mad scientist-like foams are spun behind the bar and squirted into drinks. Inside kitchens, those concoctions get translated into some heady send-offs that pack plenty of punch.

At Spin Ultra Lounge in Boca Raton, chef Jason Feinberg riffs on popular melon martinis with frozen melon martini balls. He uses a vacuum bag to speed the infusion process, frozen with a spike of vodka. They make a fun and cool end to a patio party, especially when presented in an oversized martini glass.

At Prime, a Delray Beach steakhouse, chef Peter Masiello turns cookies and milk into an over-21 experience. Adult chocolate milk — nothing like the Hershey’s and milk of your childhood — is paired with a white chocolate chip cookie spiked with white chocolate liqueur. If you can’t make it to Prime, make them at home. Just keep the kids out of the cookie jar.

The Breakers has a different take on old stand-by tiramisu. Executive pastry chef Elmar Wolf tips in Kahlua along with Marsala wine to create a Spirited cappuccino tiramisu for the resort’s The Italian Restaurant.

Several restaurants, including Hyatt Regency’s Pier 66 in Fort Lauderdale, serve Mojito cheesecakes. We have a version of this mint-lime-rum cheesecake concoction that makes individual servings. Since these freeze well, you can pop a few in the freezer for impromptu desserts.

When serving these booze-filled desserts, consider serving a cordial glass of the liqueur used in the recipe for an elegant finish to your meal. Not that you’ll necessarily need any more booze.

Chef Michael Bennett releases Third Book on 911


Michael Bennett releases his Third Book on 911.

 

            South Florida, August, 2011 ~ FoodBrats.com – announces that Michael Bennett, Cookbook Author and the Executive chef of Bimini Boatyard in Fort Lauderdale is hosting a Release Party for his Third Book on September 11th, 2011 in remembrance of 911.

                Chef Michael Bennett remembers the days after 911 as those of worry and sorrow, yet in the aftermath came new found pride in being an America. Ten years later we all have been changed by these events. Michael reminisced about such terrible loss and vowed to make his time a valued commodity. Since 911, Chef Michael Bennett taught himself the skills of writing and computer based book publishing to be able to share his passion for the food business with others.

                Since 911, Chef Michael has written and published three books on food and cooking. His love of South Florida is seen in his first two cookbooks: In the Land of Misfits, Pirates and Cooks and Underneath a Cloudless Sky. His third book delves into what is like being a chef, called Culture of Cuisine, it notes the common ideals culinary ideals amid four generations of chefs boasting a New American Riviera (Miami) cookery heritage. He will have a book signing and half-price book release at Bimini Boatyard of the evening of the 911 anniversary.

                This book’s primary assertion is based upon the ideas and ideals of some of South Florida’s Top-Chefs. Very recognizable top chef names are written about in the latter chapters, while the first three chapters discuss the rudimental ideals of being a chef. Chapter one lays the groundwork for the next two chapters. Summed up in the next few sentences, Chef Michael describes life as a chef with a particular Love-affair slant; and, is a book that can be used and enjoyed by all, no matter their experience level…

 

AS ANY CHEF WILL TELL YOU, “THIS IS THE HARDEST JOB THAT I EVER LOVED.” FOR MOST CHEFS, THIS IS TRUE.  CULINARIANS ARE A SPECIAL BREED OF PEOPLE. THEY TAKE A RAW FOOD AND TRANSFORM IT INTO ART UNDER SPARTAN CIRCUMSTANCES.

 

BEING A CHEF IS AT TIMES UNSETTLING, AND SOME PEOPLE WILL NEVER KNOW THAT AS CHEFS….

  • IT IS THE TURMOIL – THAT DRIVES US.
  • IT IS THE HEAT AND THE FRUSTRATION – THAT RECHARGES US.
  • IT IS THE NEVER-ENDING, AND DAUNTING EXPECTATIONS – THAT DRIVE US TO

PERFECTION.

  • IT IS THE LACK OF SURROUNDING CULTURE – THAT MAKES US WANT TO SLICE,

WEAVE AND TIE EDIBLE WORKS OF ART INTO A MOZART-LIKE CONCERT.

  • IT IS THE LACK OF UNDERSTANDING – THAT MAKES US WANT TO EDUCATE

FURTHER.

  • IT IS THE INFINITE – THAT DRIVES US TO CALCULATED SINGULARISM.

INNOVATION ARISES WITH THE PASSAGE OF TIME AND COUNTLESS HOURS OF EXPERIMENTATION.

 

                Chef Michael has found that the real equalizer among cookbook enthusiast is interest in the culture about cooking. Interestingly enough chapters one through four are segmented into sub chapters of thought. Michael deliberated that these similar culinary culture-based ideals were similar enough to have been categorized concurrently, yet the stand-alone thoughts should have their own sectioning. The first two chapters alone have a consequential tone that screams “this has to be a read daily” by all culinary aficionados.

               

The Use of Q.R. CODES:

                Quick Response (QR) Codes! An Internet sensation, QR codes are being used by millions of people around the world. Chef Michael’s books are produced with these revolutionary codes inlaid within the text of the pages.

                He first added QR codes to his newly revised first Gluten-free cookbook, In the Land of Misfits, Pirates and Cooks. QR codes quickly establish weblinks to additional information about the topic stemming from the Internet using a smartphone. On this third book, Chef Michael uses them to enhance descriptions and show additional background information on the chefs that are featured in chapter five. Chapter six goes on to describe how the Internet’s Social Media aspects are going to help young chefs in the future.

                               

About the Author

                Formally trained in the school of hard knocks, Chef Michael has always pursued only one culinary goal, making Miami’s unique culinary ideals visible world-wide. Chef Michael Bennett has done this most convincingly through his two South Florida grounded cookbooks.

                His first two cookbooks are the result of working in numerous noteworthy South Florida and Caribbean restaurants and resorts. Ones that tout a particular South Florida vogue and he has earmarked as “Caribb-ican”.  Obviously this “Caribb-ican” culinary trajectory has hit a cord with local restaurant consumers. This culinary styling has played out well at his current post at Bimini Boatyard. It is where sales and customer counts have gone from sleepy to boisterous as they were recently featured in the New York Times – best places in Fort Lauderdale for its blustery sales increases. See link:   http://nyti.ms/hSzpNH. Chef Michael’s Boatyard Caribb-ican menu styling emerged three years ago and has segued into accolades from local magazines as: Best New Menu” in 2008 and, Chef Michael Bennett named locally as one of South Florida’s: “Top Chef” in 2009, 2010 and 2011. All the while Chef Michael Bennett boldly hones a specific culinary leadership status through print and on-line publications. 

 

About Chef Michael Bennett’s other books:               

                Chef Bennett’s first book is titled “In the Land of Pirates, Misfits and Cooks”; it is a first-hand taste of living in the Caribbean. That is also the first interactive cookbook in America. Chef Michael has based the recipes in the book upon healthy Gluten-free cooking. And to this end, he has placed QR (Quick Response) codes on the pages so the reader can quickly interact using a smart phone or web-enabled device. Chef Michael has inlaid the QR codes on the page with the recipe, so you can instantly source that hard to find Gluten-free food item used in his recipes.

                His book will energize your palate as you taste the new cookery methods and the innovative ingredients that are deliberately paired with familiar American fare. Chef Bennett takes the reader on playful culinary journeys throughout the many island Nations of the Caribbean, showing you that with a little ingenuity, you can bedazzle your taste buds by applying this tropically-inspired “Caribb-ican” cookery.

                The book’s FULL FOUR color photos highlight Bennett’s signature style of presentation: “food stacking”. Chef Bennett creates towers and food that ascends, as his recipe styling clearly characterizes “playing with food”. You will never just get food on a plate with Michael Bennett; you will get works of art. This may seem daunting to the average home cook but in true culinary tutoring style Chef Bennett explains in detail “how to play with your food”, this alone is worth having the book as you become an honorary Pirate and Cook of the Caribb-ican style of cooking. 

 

Chef Michael’s second book; “Underneath a Cloudless Sky” features mouth-watering recipes that will incite a pantry-quaking aftermath. South Florida’s five cookery heritages influenced the book’s recipe development. This full FOUR COLOR cookbook serves up an easy to read 180 plus pages of toothsome (110+) recipes and an instructional narrative about what it is like to dwell and work as a chef on the New American Riviera. This cookbook is the result of Michael’s reformulating the last two decades of South Florida’s “Florida’s Five Flags Fusion Foods” cookery components. The Five Flags citation represents his conceptual reformatting of South Florida’s five distinct cookery heritages.

 

Underneath a Cloudless Skya 180 page, 110 recipes, “Caribb-ican” stylized cookbook that is retail priced $29.95.  The Book can be bought at Barnes and Noble, Amazon.com and foodbrats.com.

 

In the Land of Misfits, Pirates and Cooks is 120 recipes, 180 + pages ($35.95) is available at Barnes and Noble and Amazon discount books seller website, as well at: www.foodbrats.com

 

Culture of Cuisine” is 140 pages ($15.95) and is available as a digital download ($2.95) or in print from Amazon.com and www.FoodBrats.com

 

 

Author substantive:
Michael Bennett is a well-known award winning (Chef of the Year-1995) South Florida chef whose clients are a 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-time three star rating. He also holds culinary affiliations with several culinary and food-related organizations. He regularly lectures on South Florida’s “Caribb-ican” cuisine. 

For more information, contact us at:

the_professional_image@yahoo.com

 

***

 

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 1 st., 2011
Miami, Florida
FOR MORE INFO: 305-851-3441

AUTHOR AND CHEF MICHAEL BENNETT WRITES ABOUT
MIAMI’S CULINARY CULTURE

SOUTH FLORIDA, AUGUST, 2011 ~ FOODBRATS.COM – ANNOUNCES THAT MICHAEL BENNETT, THE EXECUTIVE CHEF OF BIMINI BOATYARD IN FORT LAUDERDALE AND COOKBOOK AUTHOR, IS RELEASING HIS THIRD BOOK ON AMAZON DIGITAL PLATFORM. CHEF MICHAEL HAS BEEN A WELL-SPRING OF CULINARY IDEAS THAT HAS FILLED THE INTERNET AND HE SEEMS TO HAVE MUSTERED SUFFICIENT TIME TO POSITION ANOTHER BOOK FOR YOUR KITCHEN LIBRARY SHELF.
AFTER GOOGLING “CHEF MICHAEL BENNETT”, ONE WILL FIND DOZENS OF PAGES THAT DISPLAY AUTHOR / CHEF MICHAEL BENNETT’S LITERARY CREATIONS. CHEF MICHAEL’S CURRENT ARRANGEMENT OF WRITING FOR MIAMI’S EXAMINER.COM, HAS HELPED THE CHEF CONTEMPLATE MORE INVENTIVE INSPIRATIONS, DIVULGING TO THESE INTERNET READERS WHAT IT IS LIKE BEING A CHEF IN MIAMI. THIS AUTHOR’S ROOTS ARE DEFINITELY SITUATED DEEP INTO SOUTH FLORIDA.
HIS EFFORTS THROUGHOUT THE INTERNET’S SOCIAL MEDIA AVENUES HAVE BROUGHT THE AUTHOR RECOGNITION FROM AS FAR AWAY AS AUSTRALIA. HIS COOKBOOKS ARE SELLING IN DISTANT PLACES BECAUSE OF THE COMMONALITIES IN THE FOODS USED FOR THE RECIPES. COOKING AND THE FOOD USED IS A UNIVERSAL ANALOGUE AND ALL INQUISITIVE COOKS LOVE READING ABOUT THE USE OF TROPICAL AND EXOTIC FOODS. THIS IS PROVEN WITH SALES OF HIS FIRST COOKBOOK; IN THE LAND OF MISFITS, PIRATES AND COOKS SELLING IN INDIA, AUSTRALIA AND ACROSS EUROPE.
MICHAEL HAS FOUND THAT THE REAL EQUALIZER AMONG COOKBOOK READERS IS THE INTEREST IN THE CULTURE OF COOKING. THIS IS HOW HE DEVELOPED HIS LATEST BOOK. “CULTURE OF CUISINE” WHICH DELVES INTO WHAT MIAMI CHEFS THINK ABOUT THE IDEALS OF CUISINE. IN THIS BOOK, MICHAEL RATIONALIZES THE COMMONALITIES OF IDEALS BETWEEN OUR GENERATIONS OF SOUTH FLORIDA CHEFS. THE BOOK SEGMENTS ARE BASED UPON MICHAEL’S INTERVIEWS WITH THESE NOTED SOUTH FLORIDA IDEALISTS.
INTERESTINGLY ENOUGH THE FIRST AND SECOND CHAPTERS OF THE BOOK ARE SEPARATED INTO SUB CHAPTERS OF THOUGHT. MICHAEL THOUGHT THAT THESE CULINARY CULTURE-BASED IDEALS WERE SIMILAR ENOUGH TO HAVE BEEN CATEGORIZED THEM CONCURRENTLY YET, THE STAND-ALONE THOUGHTS SHOULD HAVE THEIR OWN SECTIONING. THE FIRST TWO CHAPTERS ALONE HAVE A CONSEQUENTIAL TONE THAT SCREAMS “THIS HAS TO BE A DAILY READ” FOR ALL CULINARY ENTHUSIAST.
• CULTURE A CUISINE
• HOW OUR CUISINE WAS CRAFTED
• UNDERSTANDING FOOD
• DESTINY OF INGREDIENTS
• THE PROCESS OF HOW THINGS HAPPEN
• ONE MOMENT PLEASE; YOUR MEDIA VOICE
• THE FIRST THREE STEPS
• THE INTERNET IS YOUR FUTURE
• QR CODES AND HOW THEY WILL HELP YOU

ABOUT THE AUTHOR…
FORMALLY TRAINED IN THE SCHOOL OF HARD KNOCKS, CHEF MICHAEL HAS ALWAYS PURSUED ONLY ONE CULINARY GOAL, MAKING MIAMI’S UNIQUE CULINARY IDEALS VISIBLE WORLD-WIDE. CHEF MICHAEL BENNETT HAS DONE THIS MOST CONVINCINGLY THROUGH HIS TWO SOUTH FLORIDA GROUNDED COOKBOOKS. HE HAS WORKED IN NUMEROUS NOTEWORTHY SOUTH FLORIDA AND CARIBBEAN RESTAURANTS AND RESORTS HONING A SPECIFIC CULINARY LEADERSHIP STATUS THAT HE HAS EARMARKED “CARIBB-ICAN”. OBVIOUSLY THIS CULINARY TRAJECTORY HAS HIT A CORD WITH LOCAL RESTAURANT CONSUMERS. THIS STYLING HAS PLAYED OUT WELL AT HIS CURRENT POST AS THE EXECUTIVE CHEF FOR THE PAST THREE YEARS. BIMINI BOATYARD WHERE SALES AND CUSTOMER COUNTS HAVE GONE FROM SLEEPY TO BOISTEROUS WAS FEATURED IN THE NEW YORK TIMES – best places in Fort Lauderdale FOR ITS BLUSTERY SALES INCREASES. SEE LINK: http://nyti.ms/hSzpNH .

BIMINI BOATYARD’S MENUS EMERGED TWO YEARS AGO AND SEGUED INTO ACCOLADES FROM LOCAL MAGAZINES AS “BEST NEW MENU” IN 2008 AND CHEF MICHAEL BENNETT WAS NAMED ONE OF SOUTH FLORIDA’S “TOP CHEF” IN 2009 AND 2010.
ABOUT CHEF MICHAEL BENNETT’S OTHER BOOKS:
CHEF BENNETT’S FIRST BOOK IS TITLED “IN THE LAND OF PIRATES, MISFITS AND COOKS”, A FIRST-HAND TASTE OF LIVING IN THE CARIBBEAN. HIS BOOK WILL ENERGIZE ONE’S PALATE WHEN YOU PARTAKE IN THE NEW METHODS OF COOKING AND EXPERIENCE BEING EXPOSED TO THE INNOVATIVE INGREDIENTS PAIRED WITH FAMILIAR AMERICAN MENU ITEMS – THE WAY CHEF MICHAEL MAKES OLD STALE DINNER ITEMS NEW AND EXCITING ONCE AGAIN. CHEF BENNETT TAKES THE READER ON PLAYFUL CULINARY JOURNEYS THROUGHOUT THE MANY ISLANDS OF THE CARIBBEAN SHOWING YOU THAT WITH A LITTLE INGENUITY YOU CAN BEDAZZLE YOUR TASTE BUDS BY APPLYING THIS TROPICALLY-INSPIRED COOKERY.
THE FULL 4 COLOR PHOTOS HIGHLIGHT BENNETT’S SIGNATURE STYLE OF PRESENTATION: “FOOD STACKING”. BENNETT CREATES TOWERS AND FOOD ASCENTS; HIS RECIPE STYLING CLEARLY CHARACTERIZES “PLAYING WITH FOOD”. YOU WILL NEVER JUST GET FOOD ON A PLATE WITH MICHAEL BENNETT; YOU WILL GET WORKS OF ART. THIS MAY SEEM DAUNTING TO THE AVERAGE HOME COOK BUT IN TRUE CULINARY TUTORING STYLE CHEF BENNETT EXPLAINS IN DETAIL “HOW TO PLAY WITH YOUR FOOD”, THIS ALONE IS WORTH HAVING THE BOOK AS YOU BECOME AN HONORARY PIRATE, MISFIT AND COOK OF THE CARIBB-ICAN STYLE OF COOKING.
IN THE LAND OF MISFITS, PIRATES AND COOKS IS 120 RECIPES, 180 + PAGES AND IS AVAILABLE FOR $35.95 AVAILABLE AT THE AMAZON DISCOUNT BOOKS SELLER SITE AND AT WWW.FOODBRATS.COM.

CHEF MICHAEL’S SECOND BOOK; UNDERNEATH A CLOUDLESS SKY FEATURES MOUTH-WATERING RECIPES THAT WILL INCITE A PANTRY-QUAKING AFTERMATH. SOUTH FLORIDA’S FIVE COOKERY HERITAGES INFLUENCED THE BOOK’S RECIPE DEVELOPMENT. THIS FULL 4 COLOR BOOK SERVES UP AN EASY TO READ 180 PLUS PAGES OF TOOTHSOME RECIPES (110+) AND AN INSTRUCTIONAL NARRATIVE ABOUT WHAT IT IS LIKE TO DWELL AND WORK AS A CHEF ON THE NEW AMERICAN RIVIERA. THIS COOKBOOK IS THE RESULT OF MICHAEL’S REFORMULATING THE LAST TWO DECADES OF SOUTH FLORIDA’S “FLORIDA’S FIVE FLAGS FUSION FOODS” COOKERY COMPONENTS. THE FIVE FLAGS CITATION REPRESENTS HIS CONCEPTUAL REFORMATTING OF SOUTH FLORIDA’S FIVE DISTINCT COOKERY HERITAGES.

“UNDERNEATH A CLOUDLESS SKY” COOKBOOK IS RETAIL PRICED AT $29.95. THE BOOK CAN BE BOUGHT AT AMAZON.COM AND FOODBRATS.COM.

AUTHOR SUBSTANTIVE:
MICHAEL BENNETT IS A WELL-KNOWN AWARD WINNING (CHEF OF THE YEAR-1995) SOUTH FLORIDA CHEF WHOSE CLIENTS ARE A 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-TIME THREE STAR RATING. HE ALSO HOLDS CULINARY AFFILIATIONS WITH SEVERAL CULINARY AND FOOD-RELATED ORGANIZATIONS. HE REGULARLY LECTURES ON SOUTH FLORIDA’S “CARIBB-ICAN” CUISINE.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT US AT:
mailto:the_professional_image@yahoo.com?subject=Inquiries
***

Fresh Ingredients, Tropical Flavors and Gluten-free dining are deliciously absorbed in a Value-Endorsed State of Mind

For Immediate Release:
The Professional Image
and FoodBrats.com

Fresh Ingredients, Tropical Flavors and Gluten-free dining are deliciously
absorbed in a Value-Endorsed State of Mind
“Food and healthy cooking has been my entire life…making it a value just seems right!”, chef Michael Bennett.

Fort Lauderdale, Florida ~ August, 2011 – Chef Michael Bennett’s current post as the Executive chef – Bimini Boatyard (BBy) that was first usher into the Fort Lauderdale dining scenescape in September of 1989. A lot has happened in the world since the time of its opening. Remember the fall of the Berlin Wall?
The reins of Bimini’s protracted journey have been taken by chef and cookbook Author – Michael Bennett; once acknowledged by the American Culinary Federation as Chef of the Year.
Today the BBY is best-known for its exciting and innovative “Caribb-ican” menu, value-based wines and the best local Happy Hour in Fort Lauderdale. Like BBY’s menu, the wine list selections are globally sourced, chosen for their value price point and a complementary taste that harmonizes with our menu. United with our casual-style of service – that is straight from the heart – referring to a sense of caring and friendliness, it is the combination of good food and this almost neighbor-like service has inspired this 21 year landmark.
Based on his culinary experiences, from a four year escapade in the Caribbean, Chef Bennett has created another “Caribb-ican“inspired menu – he refers as…”New World Cuisine revisited”. This menu feature his unique twist on this menu featuring local tropical ingredients – with a focus on seafood, complimented by: low-fat, Gluten-free “Coulis-grette’s © .
”Since the original opening of BBY, we have embarked on a new course”, says Chef Michael. “The decision was made to create a more accessible and creditable Gluten-free Caribbean slanted seafood-based menu.
Before becoming the executive chef of Bimini Boatyard, chef Michael Bennett recalls; “I lived and worked on various British, French and American Caribbean islands there were unbound by classic European cookery disciplines.” He has blended modern American food with “Caribbean” cookery techniques and ingredients invented during his four year journey through the Caribbean.
This is where Chef Michael reflected upon his culinary edification and began to write his first cookbook: “In the Land of Misfits, Prates and Cooks”. It has become The Professional Image’s first published cookbook and first Gluten-free book written by a chef for chefs.
See more below:

The first Gluten-Free Caribbean-influenced cookbook
that is enhanced with QR codes.
The Professional Image, Inc. that is touted to be the publisher for the Culinary profession, announced its first Cookbook release on September 1st, 2009. “In the Land of Misfits, Pirates and Cooks” has now been revised to be 100 percent Gluten-Free.

In the Land of Misfits, Pirates and Cooks is now Gluten-free and boasts over 125 mouth-watering Caribbean-inspired recipes. This four color book serves up an easy to read 180 pages of delectable tropical recipes each emphasized with a narrative about what it is like to live and cook in the Caribbean.

This cookbook is the result of Michael’s equating and collaborating hundreds of years of compelling Caribbean food and cookery elements. This book is overflowing with a scrumptious mix of seasoning blends and marinades, salads, appetizers and entrees written in a way where you are the aspirant chef and YOU can compose or alter recipes while atop the stove.

The modern metropolitan recipe styling captures the distinct local flavor of a multi-national cookery heritage. Vibrant photography, easy to use design, one-of-a-kind recipe flow and, interesting and helpful sidebars and QR (Quick Response) codes blend to create the perfect sampling of what this multi-cultural, Caribbean based cookery style has to offer.

The cookbook was developed as a way of thanking the many fans of Caribbean cuisine that know “curry powder” or a “jerk glaze” are not the only examples of a Caribbean chefs repertoire. Michael asserts that after working as a chef for the past four years in applaudable Caribbean dining venues, each has played an important role in the successful dispatch of this book. Michael’s travel and oeuvre throughout the Caribbean, whether on a British, American, French or Spanish island nations, has helped Michael to shape this unprecedented recipe collection.
QR CODES:
THIS IS THE FIRST COOKBOOK IN AMERICA THAT IS ENABLED WITH INSTANT-LINK QR CODES. QUICK RESPONSE (QR) CODES ARE INLAID WITHIN THE PAGES TO HELP THE READER LINK TO AND SEE ADDITIONAL INFORMATION THAT UNTIL NOW WAS IMPOSSIBLE TO INCORPORATE INTO A PRINTED COOKBOOK.

QR CODES BRING THE READER TO WEBSITES, COOKING DEMONSTRATION MOVIES AND SUPPLEMENTARY COOKERY INFORMATION ABOUT THE FOODS YOU ARE READING ABOUT. USING A QR CODE ENABLED SMARTPHONE OR IPAD DEVICE, TAKE A PICTURE OF THE PRINTED SYMBOL AND YOU ARE INSTANTLY CONNECTED TO THE INTERNET. CHEF MICHAEL BENNETT HAS PLACE LINKS TO PRODUCT INFORMATION WEBSITE, HOW-TO AND GLUTEN-FREE FOOD PURCHASING WEBSITES THAT MAKES YOUR EXPERIENCE ONE OF A KIND.

As guests enjoy chef Bennett’s award-winning Gluten-free cooking as they are treated to the casual elegance of newly remodeled spacious dining rooms, floor to ceiling windows peering out onto the riverfront – in which BBY is perched, three expansive Bar/Lounge areas and an outdoor (riverside) dining terrace. The remodeled interior design captures the feeling that you are in a family friendly, comfortable, Cape Cod stylized restaurant.

For more information on either the cookbook “In the Land of Misfits, Pirates and Cooks” or The Professional Image, inc. “publisher for the Culinary profession”, visit:
http://www.foodbrats.com (initiate July ’09) | contact T.P.I. at (305) 851-3441 | the_professional_image@yahoo.com.

“In the Land of Misfits, Pirates and Cooks” cookbook is priced at $34.95 (Please add $3.50 for shipping and handling) Books can be ordered online at http://www.foodbrats.com as well as through the Mail to this address:

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.