Congratulations to Michael Schwartz (Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink), the lone Miami finalist for a James Beard award this year. He deserves to win.
Chef Schwartz singlehandedly turned a neighborhood (the Design District) into the dining district in Miami. While he did not invent farm-to-table, he made it accessible to Miami diners in a way that it had not previously been. He introduced us to the farms just to the South of us and he developed relationships with them that benefit all of the restaurants and chefs in Miami. He takes the sourcing of his ingredients very, very seriously.
The introduction of good, clean, and local food has happened in restaurants all across the country. In some cities these types of restaurants opened years ago (in the Bay Area, perhaps decades ago). In Miami, the change occurred in 2007 with the opening of Michael’s (and through the tireless effort of organizations like Slow Food Miami). I was there the first night MGFD opened to the public, having dragged a large crew of friends and colleagues to check out this trendy new spot in an otherwise quiet neighborhood with a really cool looking logo. From the first night it was clear that this restaurant was important. Now it is the centerpiece of a street lined with food and drink, no longer just a series of storefronts catering to the “trade” and closed on evenings and weekends.
It is easy to heap praise and adoration on Michael’s Genuine, on its chef, on its pastry chef, on the amazing sous chefs who have trained at Michael’s Genuine. At the end of the day, the praise is deserved. Miami is a better food city because of Chef Schwartz’s dedication to his craft. As if he needed one more blog to fawn over him.
While the James Beard Foundation did not give Miami enough love this year, it certainly can make things right by awarding the Best Chef for the South Region to Michael Schwartz.
(Last Week’s Rankings in Parentheses)
1. NAOE (1)
2. Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink (2)
3. Red Light (3)
4. Sakaya Kitchen (4)
5. Buena Vista Bistro (5)
6. BLT Steak (6)
7. Bin No. 18 (7)
8. Hiro’s Yakko-San (8)
9. Eos (9)
10. GastroPod (10)
11. Fratelli Lyon (11)
12. Michy’s (12)
13. Bourbon Steak (13)
14. Pizzavolante (14)
15. Mandolin Aegean Bistro (15)
16. Azul (16)
17. Sra. Martinez (17)
18. Metro Bistro Cafe (18)
19. Latin Burger and Taco Truck (19)
20. Joe’s Stone Crab (20)
On the Bubble: Sardinia.