Yes, there was a seemingly endless cavalcade of food events at this year’s South Beach Wine and Food Festival, but chefs still managed to find time (and space in their stomachs) to check out Miami’s restaurant scene. As the whole shebang comes to an end, Beth Landman finds out where the chefs ate when they managed to sneak away from the official festivities.
When we caught up to Martha Stewart at her Let Them Eat Cakes soiree on Friday night, we learned that she began her day with a beach walk, followed by breakfast at the Fountainbleu, an antiquing expedition, and lunch at a Cuban Café. After her own party, she headed to a bash at the Setai for Ming Tsai. But she also told us what had her really excited: “I am going to Hakkasan and they are giving me a demonstration of their foot-operated woks!”
Saturday morning, while other chefs slept, we spotted Morimoto in a post-Wagyu-and-fried-egg-burger haze, jogging on the beach. Of course, the chef is no stranger to the South Florida lifestyle as he has an outpost of his restaurant at the Boca Raton Hotel. Also working out was John DeLucie, buffing at the gym. His new Royal at the Raleigh, landscaped with banana trees and teak furniture, became a kind of chef’s clubhouse — Anthony Bourdain, Rachael Ray, Joey Campanaro, Duff Goldman, Jonathan Waxman, and Bobby Flay all checked it out. “It’s very civilized,” Flay told us. “It has all the DeLucie classics.”
When he wasn’t avoiding the masses at the Bubble Q event, Danny Meyer told us about Pubbelly: “It’s sort of Spanish, sort of Japanese, sort of British pub — unlike anything I’ve seen.” Michael White, meanwhile, talked up Gigi. He called it “a cross between Momofuku and Delicatessen.”
Another new restaurant that emerged as a favorite among the visiting chefs was 1500° in the Eden Roc hotel, with former Hell’s Kitchen runner-up Paula DaSilva — who also revealed to us her hopes to expand to New York — at the range. “People kept asking to take pictures with me,” smiled DaSilva. “That’s what foodies are like, and I didn’t mind. I wanted to take a picture with Michael Schwartz of Michael’s Genuine!”