♦ Well, at least you have to give The Raleigh some credit for thinking outside of the box by bringing in Michael Schwartz to run food & beverage. This week brings news that the W Hotel is luring NY chef Andrew Carmellini to open up a Miami Beach outpost of The Dutch. Carmellini is also the guy behind Locanda Verde, also in NYC. The Dutch (obviously a culinary homage to Ronald Reagan) will take the spot previously occupied by Solea and it is planning to open this November, in time for Art Basel. Short Order interviewed Carmellini to figure out if he was a carpetbagger (verdict: he has an aunt who lives in Coral Gables!) and got some good quotes like:
“We serve ingredient-driven American food. Plus, we have a great steak program.” I can tell I’m going to love this guy. Ingredient-driven food? A steak program? Sign me up!
And if you’re worried that The Dutch won’t last until Art Basel 2012, Carmellini adds: “We have a long lease at the Miami location, so we intend to be there for a long time.” We can only assume the lease is in blood and not pen, unlike say David Bouley’s lease that was probably signed while he had his fingers crossed or something. In any event, best of luck to
The Royal The Dutch.
♦ Brana Food Group (that would be husband-and-wife team Jeffrey and Anna Elena Brana) is expanding from offering its “underground” dinners to also offering classic Italian dishes via Etsy under the name “Mamma Brana” (that would refer to the Mrs., unless Jeffrey decides to pull a Norman Bates). Dishes available for purchase include lasagna, tiramisu, zucchini bread, and much more. They’ve also unveiled a redesigned website.
South Florida Food and Wine: Who would you most like to cook for? And why?
Kris Wessel: Probably any beautiful woman that knows food even to a snobby extent and would allow me to do 5 courses of my best stuff. There is something sensually exciting and challenging to me to cook for a woman who gets it.
And in other Red Light news, joining Wessel in the kitchen for the next couple of months is MasterChef finalist Christine Corley. It’s fun to watch the two of them flirt on Twitter. I’d say the two should check in to a seedy motel but, hey, they’re already in one.
♦ If a tree falls in the forest and nobody is around to hear it… But on the bright side, Norman Van Aken is getting ready to unveil Root Cellar, which is the restaurant on the top floor of the Miami Culinary Institute (Miami Dade College’s culinary school in Downtown Miami). Set to open in approximately 2 weeks, it is being described as “casual, farm-centric tapas.” The best part? Van Aken seems especially enthused with this new project and working with the students: “We have a tiny kitchen but a lot of ideas. Its like my original Key West kitchens.”