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South Beach Food & Wine Trade Talk with Danny Meyer

South Beach Food & Wine Trade Talk with Danny Meyer

As much fun as the lunches, dinners, tastings, and chef meet-and-greets can be, sometimes it's more rewarding to be far away from the food and the bubbles, listening to sober stars of the industry discussing the minutiae, some of the details that led to their success. So it was at on Friday at the Esplendor Hotel Breakwater in South Beach where Jennifer Baum of Bullfrog & Baum moderated a panel featuring restaurateur Danny Meyer (the 2014 honoree at the festival’s annual Tribute Dinner) and some members of his Union Square Hospitality Group. The subject? Opening up about the challenges, successes, and “a-ha” moments they’ve experienced in the more than 20 years since Danny’s first restaurant, Union Square Cafe, opened its doors.

You don't necessarily get breaking news out of these kind of events. Mostly you get a feel for the restaurateurs, chefs, and their processes, which if you're looking for insight and clues into what makes some of them successful while others fail, is valuable enough in and of itself. But there were a few good tidbits from Friday's event. One, it was evident during the panel talk when Shake Shack CEO Randy Garutti was talking about his early days with Danny Meyer – speficically before joining him – that he'd interviewed with both Drew Nieporent and Danny Meyer before taking a job at USHG.

Another, that there are plans for Shake Shack in both Chicago and California ("Chicago this year and Texas, but we’ll get there," said Meyer. "We’re taking our time"). Perhaps with the in-the-works California joint somewhere on the horizon, the inevitable In-N-Out and Shake Shack showdown (and the Shake Shack vs. In-N-Out newspaper articles and blog posts) will finally take place in one West Coast market. On a tangent, given that there's In-N-Out in Austin and Shake Shack is opening there late this year, that showdown will likely happen there first. (A showdown in front of Texas natives, and New York and California transplants won't really count though, the true test, the reckoning where Californians finally all acquiesce that their justly beloved burger chain is inferior to Danny Meyer's growing burger empire, has to happen on Cali soil.) You can speculate all you want that this isn't on the USHG radar, but given their business acumen, and the healthy competitive nature that the group discussed, you better believe Danny Meyer and Randy Garutti are very much conscious of this whole story arch.

Regardless, there was plenty else to discern from Chef Nick Anderer (Maialino), Chef Michael Anthony (Gramercy Tavern), Carmen Quagliata (Union Square Caféfo), and Randy Garutti talking with Meyer. Read on for highlghts, keeping in mind that the sounds of South Beach infiltrated the lobby for much of the panel.

On what the USHG folks first noticed when joining the team:

Garutti: "It was really Danny and Drew who were doing the most exciting things in the city. I interviewed at both."

Meyer: (Mouths with a smile) “I didn’t know that.”"Chicago this year and Texas, but we’ll get there," said Meyer of when people might expect USHG to open a Shake Shack in California. "We’re taking our time."

Quagliata: "Every time I came into contact with someone the first week I could tell that they genuinely cared and that there was a sincerity. There was a genuine friendliness."

Anthony: "I was stepping into one of most respected restaurants in the history of New York City. It was so well established, there were so many question marks. How would a young chef make his mark on a restaurant, and essentially not mess up the systems and the charm of the restaurant? I had a perfectly-scripted entrance from Danny Meyer, The guy sitting next to me, Nick Anderer, was working in that kitchen, I was lucky to step into a great team, but almost by chance I was able to work with somebody I admired and who I knew was immensely talented."

Anderer: "I had come back from Italy, I had been working with Mario, and a week before starting at Chanterelle I got a call to go work at Grammercy where for the first three years I worked for Tom Colicchio and his team and then with Michael when he took over. To work with one team and to take some of the best qualities of that one team and keep some of one culture and trasnform it into an experience where it was part of the culture is still there when another team takes over, that was a really interesting and valuable experience."

On transitions at restaurants in the Union Square Hospitality Group and changes at the company in general:

Anthony: “Coming into Gramercy, it was about the evolution of a restaurant, not a revolution. I worked there for about two to two-and-a-half months before making any changes to the menu. Unfortunately, the first step I took was to take a longtime favorite signature dish off the menu: the grilled fillet of beef. Who would have known that people would be so passionate about a grilled filet of beef! But there were some folks that missed it. And believe me, they let us know. I started to get a sense of how strong they felt about it when the emails started rolling in and they started out, ‘How could you take my dish off the menu? I was surprised to get a sense of that possession and ownership.”

Garutti: "The orientation for every manager of Shake Shack includes them getting to meet with the chefs and sous-chefs, Danny is at the heart of all of it, but we all love each others’ restaurants. Years ago when we were both working there, Carmen and I were doing something at Union Square Cafe, and I thought it was the biggest decision I was ever going to make in my life. It was probably about a fork, and I pulled Danny aside and I said, 'I need to discuss this with you,' and he told us at that moment, 'You’re not going to unseat Union Square Cafe with this choice. Go and make a decision.' And that's the key. We have the Danny's faith that we will make the decisions to make our businesses successful."

Meyer: "Each restaurant has an executive chef, even Shake Shack has a chef who has worked at Gramercy Tavern. We have a celebrity chef in every restaurant and what they all have in common is a philosophy about how to make business decisions and what matters. And they all agree that we put our employees first, our customers second, our community third, our suppliers fourth, and our investors fifth."

How does a restaurant like Maialino happen?

Anderer: "This all started because I was approached by our new director of business development. The two of them are always scouring the city and looking at opportunities. And he asked me, 'Would you be interested in doing something Roman-inspired.' And Danny and I had both done history programs in Rome several years apart, and I was like, 'Are you kidding me? Hell yeah!' And then that all happened really, really fast. I feel like the next day we were on a flight to Rome to look for ideas to open Maialino. You know, I don’t know how much people know how competitive Danny is, and how competitive we all are. We’re constatnly feeding off of each others’ energy. We'll have staff meetings where people will recap what they've done lately, and another team will come in really strong, and we'll come off of it asking ourselves and each other, 'What did we do wrong? What can we do better than that?' I have this feeling inside, we all do, of how can we do something differently, or even better? Or even better than they did it. We feed off each other that way."

Meyer: "We call it 'sibling revelry.' There is competition. That’s a good thing. We've done something in the past that we call the 'Barrista Olympics.' Each one of our restaurants nominated who they thought was their best barrista, and they would compete to see who could make the best espresso, the best cappuccino, and the best fancy coffee. And we gave them prizes. And what was great was that we were able to create sibling rivalry where we had people coming in from each restaurant rooting for their own guy, and a sense of house pride rooting for own restaurant, and also a sense of working for a greater whole. And as a result, you know what? Our coffee programs for all of our restauants all got better! We’ll look at three or four other things we want to get better at and do the same thing. Hiring in hospitality, it isn't just about hugs. Hugs are important, and we hire for that, for people who will make other people happy, but we want people who want to lead the league in all categories."

If you were not a chef what would you be?

Anderer: "A surfer. A competitive surfer."

Anthony: "A journalist."

Quagliata: "I would be the senator of Kansas."

Garutti: "A college basketball coach. And I feel like I'm still young enough to squeeze that in."

Meyer: "I’d like to write more. And then occasionally I have fantasies of being in private equity. I really like betting on people and ideas and they don’t always have to be mine."

Arthur Bovino is The Daily Meal's executive editor. Read more articles by Arthur, reach him by email, or click here to follow Arthur on Twitter.


A Movable Feast: Danny Meyer on a Roll

Danny Meyer scaled the subway stairs two at a time, emerged on Lexington and 77th, lengthened his stride and called over his shoulder: “Have I told you about the Meyer Street-Crossing Method? Meyscrom.” He scanned traffic. “Cut off every possible angle without being killed.”

A car whipped by. Another stopped. He sliced off the last 10 feet of 75th Street (“That was a baby jay”) and reached the Whitney museum, home of his newest restaurant, in two minutes.

Meyer — 53, trim, salt-and-pepper hair — greeted me an hour earlier in his Union Square office. It was March, and the branches outside his windows were just beginning to blur green. He stood up from behind a desk, backed by a wall of books (sample title: “The Power of Nice”), took my hand and applied the ideal amount of pressure for the ideal amount of time: a better handshake than any I could recall.

It was 9 a.m., and he was reviewing final edits for “Eleven Madison Park: The Cookbook,” a collection of recipes from his four-star restaurant. In the hall, his assistant, Haley Carroll, examined lunch reservations on a computer.

“I’m looking for notable people,” she said. Meyer would spend from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. visiting their tables. A prominent book publisher would be eating at Union Square Cafe. “He’s made 878 reservations and always sits at Table 38.” Onscreen a note said to give him 38 unless someone named Peggy wanted it.

“Does Danny do dinner visits?” I asked.

“He will depending on where.” She called out, “Danny, how often do you do dinner drop-ins?”

“Three times a week for Maialino” — the Roman-style trattoria across from his apartment — “two times a week somewhere else.”

Carroll told me: “If there’s a school play at 7:30” — Meyer is the father of four — “he can stop by the bar at 6:45 and say hello. It’s all about schedule.” To Meyer: “Adam Moss is at Maialino tonight . . . Angie is in the Modern’s Bar Room dining with Judy. They get together a couple times a year. Gramercy Tavern, Sy Sternberg is there . . . Vincent Ottomanelli, Jason Epstein for dinner. Jamie Niven.”

Carroll handed a printout to Meyer. He pointed to a name and asked, “Doesn’t she write us notes?”

“Danny caught one that I missed.”

After going over the cookbook manuscript (“They’re trying to get me out of the present. . . . I don’t want to be in the conditional”), Meyer made his way to the Whitney for a 10 a.m. meeting with his staff. The scheduled opening of the restaurant, named Untitled, was a week away. Meyer devotes unlimited time to his new ventures, tasting every item on the menu multiple times, suggesting alterations to such minutiae as the size of a sous chef’s dice and constantly consulting with the manager. I heard him instruct Untitled’s chef to alter a B.L.T. so the bacon would stick out on either side. “That’s called turning up the ‘home’ dial,” he explained.

In the museum’s basement, Untitled’s chef, manager and three dozen waiters, waitresses, busboys, runners and line cooks sat on uncomfortable chairs. Meyer greeted them and went into a speech — one of three he would give that day — calibrated to inspire. (His mother, Roxanne Frank, told me of his public persona: “That’s something that has evolved as he matured. He was a little bit shy growing up.”) “When an artist can’t decide a name it’s untitled,” he told the group. “When the name is Untitled, it’s underlined. We are underlining it. . . . I thought it would be refreshing — make of it what you want. Put it on yourself. ‘I’m Untitled.’ Put it on a coffee. Every coffee has a big brand on it. Wouldn’t it be great if you could just serve really good food and make people happy?” He segued into the decline of the Upper East Side coffee shop, the ascent of boutiques, the economics behind corporate entities that can afford to pay almost any rent for exposure at a particular location. “We thought, Let’s do a New York farm-to-table coffee shop. Why is it that coffee shops aren’t that good with coffee? . . . When was the last time you went to a coffee shop that cured and smoked its own bacon? Right here at Untitled. We’re here for you and what you want to be.”

We left and walked up to the Upper East Side branch of Shake Shack, one of his five hamburger stands in Manhattan. On Park Avenue he was recognized by a pedestrian, and briefly stopped to talk. “Occasionally they’ll see me up here, and I’m like that doorman they can’t place,” he told me.

When we reached 86th Street, Meyer asked, “Smell it?” I did. Shake Shack makes its first impressions olfactorily. He breathed deeply, stepped inside, stood atop a flight of stairs leading to the cash registers and slowly scanned the scene. “My favorite thing is watching people enjoy our food,” he told me earlier. “I get sort of an insane amount of pleasure out of that.”

After a quick walk-through — Meyer spotted and comped a woman he referred to as “New York’s first celebrity woman chef” — we stepped back outside to ponder logistics. Could we hit the Upper West Side Shake Shack, and then the Modern, his restaurant at the Museum of Modern Art, and still make Eleven Madison Park, where he was expected to address a private party, by 2 p.m.? It was 11:50 a.m. Into a cab. Through the park. Out in front of the Shack, on 77th and Columbus, where Meyer was recognized by a slender woman pushing a stroller. He greeted her without breaking eye contact, then, as she walked off, turned to me and pointed out a damaged chair through the Shack’s window (“See that slat?”) that he somehow noticed without looking away from the stroller pusher. He went inside, had a brief word with the manager and descended a staircase to “the scrum” — a basement dining room with a flat-screen TV, packed full of kids and nannies.

Meyer told me: “One of my greatest moments was right here. A bunch of sixth or seventh graders were carrying their trays down. One said, ‘Yeah, I guess I’m glad we’re here — I couldn’t bear one more day of Chipotle.’ ”

He decided to add the theater-district Shack to our itinerary. After grabbing another cab, we stopped at 44th and Eighth Avenue. “Former Chipotle manager here,” Meyer said with satisfaction. We entered into the Smell. Now that Meyer had pointed it out, I was struck by its tactile qualities — the presence of more airborne grease than even the most advanced exhaust systems can dissipate. In the manager’s office, pictures of a multibranch Shack outing on a booze cruise covered a bulletin board. Meyer smiled and said, “That’s what I want to see — people goofing around and having fun.” As we exited, the staff waved, and Meyer told me, “This is management by walking around.”

To make it to MoMA he opted against a cab — we’d Meyscrom through parking lots and breezeways, cheating the Manhattan grid. Midblock in a hotel atrium, he stopped, shook his head and said: “If you can get joy out of this, life isn’t so bad.”

At the Modern, Meyer pulled a silk tie out of his jacket pocket, knotted it on and made for a grand cru Chablis tasting in the private dining room. He approached a young man in a thick-napped brown suit: Romain Collet, of the Jean Collet wine dynasty. Meyer introduced himself, in French, and began detailing the long relationship between his restaurants and the family’s vineyard.

Next, dining room visits: with a former neighbor from his home town, St. Louis the chairman of the Sotheby’s board (which Meyer had just joined) and a gray-blond, very attractive businesswoman who, refusing the half-hug Meyer offered while she was seated, exclaimed, “That’s not enough I need a full-body hug,” stood up and got it.

We took a cab to 26th and Madison, Meyer on a call all the way downtown. Then he hopped out and skirted the park, still talking into his phone while pointing out the first flowers of spring (yellow), crossed the avenue and stepped through the revolving doors of Eleven Madison Park. We walked to the back of the restaurant, passed through an upstairs kitchen where penny-size petit fours were being arranged, then into a room where a group of Tammanyesque men, the Country Club Chefs of Connecticut, had just pushed back their chairs. One stood and introduced Meyer: “He’s a man with a lot of ambition.”

Meyer delivered an effortless postprandial speech, insidery for the industry crowd, dropping the surprise that he was planning a Shake Shack for Connecticut. Huge applause.

After jaywalking across 23rd Street and making Union Square in six minutes, Meyer told me: “This is what I do. I couldn’t sit in a chair in an office all day.”

New York is a city of rooms. Most of them are tiny, dark, lonely and the wrong temperature. Meyer makes rooms that are exquisite — overlooking, in the case of the Modern, the greatest sculptures of the 20th century — and intimate. You feel at home. His goal, he told me, is for customers to make his restaurants their clubhouses.

Meyer’s track record is near perfect: one closing (Tabla, a 283-seat Indian place that lasted for 12 years), 25 openings and counting. And for most of his career he has expanded without repeating himself. He has created new restaurants as though they were each his first and only — the singularity of a place always as important as the food. His looseness and precision are qualities more reminiscent of an athlete or an artist. Whatever Meyer is engaged in — jaywalking, French-speaking, grease-inhaling — receives his complete attention.

Some of this is hereditary. Meyer’s father, Morton, owned hotels and had a gift for hospitality. As Meyer told me, “My dad gave me the gene to enjoy cooking, and to enjoy consuming good food and wine.”

After college, Meyer apprenticed in European kitchens, worked as a successful salesman (of plastic shoplifting-prevention tags) in New York, became an assistant manager at a Manhattan seafood restaurant, got to know chefs and critics and one of his future partners, and met the woman who would become his wife, Audrey Heffernan, who was working as a waitress. In 1985, he withdrew his savings and opened Union Square Cafe. Anticipating that The New York Times was going to review the place, he came down with Bell’s palsy. The left half of his face was paralyzed, and the left half of his tongue lost its sense of taste. Symptoms abated after two weeks. The review was a rave. And Union Square Cafe went on to critical and popular acclaim. The natural next step was to try to repeat his success at another restaurant. But Meyer had seen his father overextend and fail. Morton Meyer was in the travel-tour business before jumping into owning two hotels — in Rome and Milan — and spending much of his life on an airplane. Unable to balance ambition and finances, the elder Meyer went bankrupt at 42, destroyed his marriage, went bankrupt again and died at 59, when Danny was 32. Meyer told me his father’s notions of hospitality were always “right on the money,” but his weakness was “business disciplines” and “team-building.”

The son has managed every aspect of his career to avoid repeating the mistakes of the father. It would be nine years before his second restaurant, Gramercy Tavern, opened. Other restaurants followed, approximately one every four years, each requiring vast investments of time to meet his standards. It has taken Meyer 26 years to go from the owner-manager of a single place to C.E.O. of a company — Union Square Hospitality Group — that employs 2,200 people and oversees the operations of all his restaurants. His mother calls the company “his business family.” Its core is a tight-knit group of five general partners whom Meyer has known for an aggregate of 102 years. Together they oversee three places that are in the Zagat Guide’s Top 5 (Gramercy Tavern, Eleven Madison Park, Union Square Cafe), plus the Modern, Maialino, Blue Smoke, the two cafes at the Museum of Modern Art, the newly opened restaurant at the Whitney, a jazz club, a handful of seasonal stands including one at Citi Field and a catering and events company. Meyer is on the board of Open Table, the Internet restaurant reservations service that not only allows him to materialize midlunch for a full-body hug but also tracks the eating habits of his 3,500 or so fine-dining customers each day. (Shake Shack feeds more than 12,000 daily.) This has all taken decades. And Meyer might have remained an incrementalist were it not for Shake Shack, which began as a hot-dog cart that he told the staff of Eleven Madison to set up in the park across the street in 2001. The cart was such a sensation that he expanded the menu to include burgers and milkshakes and opened an actual 400-square-foot shack in the park in 2004. Eleven Madison owned Shake Shack from 2004 to 2009, when it became its own company — but the mobbed burger stand provided the capital required to hire the Swiss chef Daniel Humm away from a restaurant in San Francisco, reduce the seats in his new dining room, double his staff and establish a venue so elevated in its pursuits that it’s less a restaurant than a graduate program in taste. Four stars from The Times ultimately followed.

Shake Shack began spreading throughout Manhattan in 2008, along the Eastern Seaboard in 2010 and 2011 (Miami and Washington) and now overseas, with branches newly opened in Dubai and Kuwait City. The total number of Shake Shacks now stands at 13 — in three years, Meyer has doubled his restaurant holdings.

In “Setting the Table,” his memoir cum manifesto on hospitality, published just after Shake Shack opened, Meyer describes his mood upon opening restaurant No. 2, Gramercy Tavern: “I had the sense of being close to a dangerous outcome. Was I now treading down the same path my father had taken — expansion to bankruptcy?”

These fears have been definitively put to rest, and Meyer has embraced what he described to me as “the profitability edge” of Shake Shack — an edge that is sharpened by volume and expansion, in contrast to the world of white tablecloths. According to the National Restaurant Association, profit margins in “full service” restaurants, with an average check of $25 or more per person, range from -2 percent to 6.8 percent, with a median of 1.8 percent. Meyer, having perfected fine dining, may only just be beating 30-year Treasurys. Shake Shack changes that, with margins in its category, “limited service,” as high as 13 percent. Of course, odds are that Meyer is beating all these markers. But for the first time in his career, Meyer finds it impossible to visit all his restaurants in a single day. Ubiquity and hands-on attention — essential to his success — are incompatible with expansion.

Union Square Hospitality Group has begun to produce some Shake Shack ingredients in a Louisiana factory (instead of in an auxiliary kitchen at Eleven Madison Park). In the walk-in fridge of one branch, I handled a gigantic plastic pillow of cheese sauce: designed to travel. A day earlier I wondered about a sticker on a bag Meyer was carrying: MSY, the New Orleans airport code. I imagined him flying in, sniffing the cheese vat, recalibrating machinery. It was a reassuring vision. But I had to wonder if Meyer — without being present to indulge customers, tweak recipes and notice every broken chair — can perpetuate the dining experience that is expected of him. Later I walked past Union Square Cafe and saw that it had been given a Health Department grade of “B,” indicating 14 to 27 sanitary violation points. (It now has an “A.”) In a non-Meyer place this would barely be worth noting. But how can Union Square Cafe and his other inimitable restaurants preserve their essence without constant infusions of Meyerness?

This past winter, in Miami, Meyer participated in a mass grill-off called Burger Bash. Shake Shack, past winner of the event’s People’s Choice award, was a returning champion. Meyer opened a Miami Shack in 2010, and he wanted to use this trip to scout for a second location — with a management group in place, he needed to give it more to do.

In South Beach, under a huge oceanside tent, American celebrity chefery was prepping to sear hecatombs of flesh. There for the weekend were Bobby Flay, Rachael Ray, Emeril Lagasse, Martha Stewart, Anthony Bourdain, Giada De Laurentiis — the gods and demigods of an industry that generates an estimated $1.7 trillion.

Shake Shack would produce a few thousand burgers and chorizo cheese fries. As we dodged front-end loaders and harried interns, Meyer took a call and said, “I’m walking the grounds of Burger Bash the way they take a racehorse to the paddock before the race.”

Shake Shack competes with “better burger” chains — Five Guys, In-N-Out, etc. But the scale and execution are different. Those chains have hundreds of locations and exponential expansion plans. In-N-Out operates two meat-processing plants. Meyer told me the vast majority of Shake Shack’s management “began their careers with us in our fine-dining restaurants,” and the meat comes from Pat LaFrieda, a third-generation butcher who produces a blend of sirloin, chuck and brisket designed by Richard Coraine, former general manager of Wolfgang Puck’s Postrio in San Francisco and now one of Meyer’s partners. As Meyer put it: “There are a zillion variables to a hamburger. What part of the animal went into it. What coarseness. What temperature.” Coraine spent months “tasting and modifying the blend to hit the right chord.” Coraine explained the details in an e-mail: “You can also factor a few other elements . . . the amount of butter brushed on the bun before griddling it (there is fat in butter, so the brisket was taken down a level) the composition and amount of ‘Shack Sauce’ (flavor in there as well) and the type and ‘slice width’ of the American cheese.”

The critic Oliver Strand told me — hyperbole be damned — that the meat was “every bit as excellent as what you’ll find in Peter Luger’s or Keens’s.” Beyond the exalted flesh, the Shake Shack aesthetic is unintimidatingly midcentury, the marketing is cheeky (if you want cucumber, tomato and relish on your hot dog, the kitchen will “drag it through the garden”) and each branch supports a local charity.

At the Shake Shack booth I was introduced to one of Meyer’s partners in Union Square Hospitality, David Swinghamer, a straw-haired Wisconsinite so tall he stooped. Swinghamer fed me a Shack burger: cooked-through, barely a suggestion of pink at the center, as they are in every Shack. Then I sneaked off to Umami Burger, a five-unit Southern California chain coming to Miami in 2012. The competition. Umami’s meat was capped with a mushroom, but it was raw on the inside. I got a sample for Meyer. He and Swinghamer devoured it, communally — ripping it apart with their hands.

Meyer, mouth full, declared, “It’s not cooked, but the beef is mighty good.”

Swinghamer: “I like the shiitake.”

Me: “Maybe I should tell them the meat’s not cooked.”

Meyer, solemnly: “If they asked, I would tell them. But as Napoleon said, ‘Part of brilliance is winning and part is leaving your opponent alone when he’s losing.’ ”

A line formed for Shake Shack burgers. A Frenchman jostled up to say: “Hi, Danny. You look great.”

Meyer said: “Laurent. You left Chicago. You got your Michelin stars and — ” He pantomimed a goodbye wave then handed him a burger.

The Frenchman devoured it.

After he’d gone, Meyer said: “Laurent Gras. Incredible chef. Three Michelin stars.”

An 11-person band started cranking out covers. A man hollered at Meyer: “I e-mailed you! We met a couple years ago!” Then he was swallowed up by the crowd.

I took a walk and came upon Bobby Flay, standing in a cloud of smoke surrounded by young women in “Get Crunchified” T-shirts, all screaming to INXS’s “What You Need,” while fans’ camera flashes lighted up billowing explosions from the grill. I got a burger and brought it back to Shake Shack.

Meyer grabbed Swinghamer, and we all withdrew to a stainless prep table.

Regarding the offering, Meyer said, “This is Bobby Flay.”

A dissection ensued. He removed the top bun. Something white jiggled to the bass line.

“Is that an egg?” Swinghamer asked.

He broke it up and began to eat.

Then, with a vulnerable gleam in his eye, Meyer asked, “How long is their line compared to ours?”

At the end of the night, Meyer left the tent and sat down, wearily, on the boardwalk. “There were some slimy people there,” he said. “Just picking at me. Pick, pick, pick! . . . ‘I e-mailed you.’ What kind of greeting is that?” He continued: “I can’t believe how many people tried to get me to sign a lease in Las Vegas. We’re the only ones who haven’t gone into Vegas yet.”

Most of these people want to recreate one of Meyer’s marquee restaurants in a casino. In an e-mail later, Meyer provided three reasons that this won’t happen:

1) “I . . . cannot imagine spending my life in an airplane for the purpose of visiting a fine-dining restaurant. . . . Saw my dad try that . . . and saw a very unhappy family outcome.”

2) The impossibility of bonding with customers in a city “built upon so much transiency.”

3) Chemical sensitivity: “I actually have a bad reaction to . . . the synthetic deodorizers they pump through to eliminate smoke. Really, those smells almost sicken me.”

But he’ll leave the door open for Shake Shack: “We never know who’s eating there day-to-day anyway,” Meyer wrote in an e-mail. “There’s no reservation sheet to scour no dining room to host.” In an interview with Business Insider, he said: “Think about a business where each one does not have a chef, or a pastry chef, or a dining-room manager, or a maître d’, or a florist, or a linen company, and you start to notice that a lot of the cost structure that goes into a fine-dining restaurant is missing. . . . From a cost-structure standpoint, it’s a good way to go.”

Swinghamer found Meyer on the boardwalk and invited us to join Dan Tavan, general manager of the Miami Shake Shack, for drinks at a Japanese gastropub.

Over sake, Meyer asked Tavan, “What was tonight, six in sales?”

A $9,000 dinner rush. Everyone drank to that.

The next morning, Meyer, Swinghamer and I drove to Shake Shack, which is in a Herzog and de Meuron-designed building, just off a pedestrian mall (Meyer sniffed and said, sadly, “It smells different before it opens”), then on to south Miami to scout for a new location. As we crossed Biscayne Bay, Meyer admired the palm-covered islands, with their 1920s architecture. But as the traffic got thicker and the buildings blander, he said: “This strip is so antiseptic. Needs to be cool. ” Then, “This whole area just gets me nervous.”

Of the 13 Shake Shacks, a majority are in parks or areas with lots of pedestrian traffic. Such locations create a boutique quality Meyer calls “Shackness.”

Credit here goes to Swinghamer, who Meyer told me has a “sixth sense” for real estate. “The ideal doesn’t just come up for rent,” Swinghamer said. “You need to have inside knowledge. People on the ground.” He explained that they had “inside information about the place we’re going.” He added, “It’s not on the market yet, so nobody else really knows about it.”

We were following a commuter rail line, boxed in by strip malls. As we passed a corner Chipotle, Swinghamer said, “Reliable sources say they do $2.7 million there.” Pause. “We do a lot more business than a typical Chipotle.” He looked hard at the corner. “Gotta do a lot . . . and be in a place that expresses Shackness.”

Meyer was only getting more nervous. Financial upsides aside, he seemed unable to tune out the surroundings. “It’s a sea of dreck,” he said, and began reading the names of businesses: “Puritan Cleaners. Hookah Lounge.”

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“Meyer Mortgage,” I pointed out.

“Saw that — I’m looking for signs.”

We arrived at the place they’d been tipped to: a barbecue joint with good parking, straddling the highway and a bland residential district, within walking distance of the University of Miami.

“Can this be a Shack?’ Meyer asked.

“I see something looking back real far to the iconic hamburger/hot-dog stands,” Swinghamer said. “We’ll put our modern twist to it.”

They began refining a concept. Every Shake Shack is nominally tailored to its presumptive clientele: the TV room for kids and nannies on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, communal seating for tourists in the theater district, site-specific “concretes” (frozen custards with various mix-ins), like the vanilla, fudge sauce, peanut and shattered-sugar-cone “Nut-Thing but Amazin’ ” for Mets fans at Citi Field.

Here the clientele would be undergrads. “Should have a lot of TVs, and ultra-cool music so the students come over,” Swinghamer said. “This is an alternative to going to a bar.”

“You’d want some neon that said something about ice-cold beer,” Meyer said.

“Yeah,” Swinghamer said. “A touch of a roadhouse. That would work for college.”

“I like the tree,” said Meyer, indicating a banyan up against the building. We pulled alongside, and Swinghamer lowered the windows.

Meyer mused, “We could name a concrete after it.”

For years the question of how to expand has been something Meyer struggled with. Then he met Susan Reilly Salgado, a doctoral candidate in business at New York University. She’d been eating at the bar at Union Square Cafe, getting to know the staff, listening to waiters say things like, “When I found this job, I felt like I’d come home.” In 1998 she saw Meyer “working the room” on the opening night at Tabla, introduced herself and said she wanted to do her dissertation on his restaurants. He agreed, provided she work as a hostess for six months.

Five years later she informed Meyer that his company was too dependent on him. “There’s no system for opening restaurants without you,” she said, “and the more you open, the more diluted your impact becomes.” Salgado proposed forming a curriculum “to make explicit everything that Danny . . . intuitively knew.” Practically speaking, this would allow for succession (part of avoiding his father’s mistakes is ensuring the business can continue without him) and, in the shorter term, for the company to open new restaurants not just in Miami but anywhere in the world.

Meyer has often been approached with the idea of franchising Shake Shack in the United States, which he has never wanted to do — “How can you franchise hospitality?” But in 2008, after Shake Shack opened its second branch, an international franchiser, Alshaya, approached him. They operated Starbucks, Estée Lauder, Dean & DeLuca, Pinkberry and H&M outlets in the Middle East. Meyer, flattered by the interest, went to Dubai, noted that Alshaya’s Starbucks were “as well run if not better than the ones on Union Square” he told Business Insider he decided to “get a master’s degree in replication . . . but so far away that our audience wouldn’t watch us doing it, and at the same time give us a chance to grow.” Shake Shacks in Dubai and Kuwait are the first phase.

Salgado now leads a new company, incorporated last year under the name Hospitality Quotient (H.Q.), that franchises not food but Meyer’s style — franchises, in effect, his eye contact, handshaking, infectious capacity for pleasure. As Meyer put it, hospitality is “the degree to which it makes you feel good to make other people feel good.”

Salgado told me of Meyer’s feelgood style, “We decided the model was sustainable, the concepts transferable.” And many were the companies that could benefit.

The abbreviation comes from Meyer. As he put it, an I.Q. is native and can’t be taught so, too, is an H.Q. “But it can be identified. . . . Someone with a high H.Q. is at their best when providing happiness to someone else.” And with H.Q., “we’re working with companies that . . . want to be the best in the world at how people feel.” To this end they’ve trained staff at Beth Israel (“A hospital should be hospitable,” the head of orthopedics told Meyer), a Broadway theater company and a supermarket chain.

Alshaya’s management teams for Dubai and Kuwait came to New York for a sort of kindness boot camp, months before opening. Then Meyer sent a group of his high-H.Q. staff members to Dubai and Kuwait for on-site training.

The businesses that Alshaya franchises are the exact sorts H.Q. hopes to work with. Should all proceed as planned, the profitability edge will be unbluntable.

Floyd Cardoz, the chef of Tabla, which closed last year, was waiting in Meyer’s office on a clear March afternoon. The decision to shutter Tabla was, Meyer told me, “excruciatingly hard.” He resisted for years, losing money, laying people off for the first time in his career.

“I always genuinely believed we could turn Tabla’s fortunes around,” he told me in an e-mail. “I was hanging on to the false pride of being able to say we had never closed a restaurant in our first quarter-century of doing business.” He continued, “But I was ultimately convinced by my partners that — counterintuitively — the cruelest thing we could do for people’s careers was to keep it going.”

Now Meyer and Cardoz embraced. A new tenant had just taken over the Tabla lease, and the chef said, slowly, “I have a lump in my throat. . . . I handed my keys over today.” Tears were in his eyes. Meyer’s too. “It was a very good 12 years,” Cardoz said. “I learned a lot about myself. I don’t know what the outcome was.”

“It was good, Floyd,” Meyer said. “You’d like to think that a restaurant will go on forever, like you think your life will go on forever.”

Soon they began to leaf through a stack of menus from the ’20s and ’30s (Meyer has a collection), looking for ideas for a new Battery Park City restaurant that U.S.H.G had just announced. It would serve seafood and grow its own vegetables. Cardoz would be in the kitchen.

Meyer mentioned that the shrimp at Blue Hill, where he ate for his birthday the night before, were cooked on hibachis, with charcoal made from the bones of animals raised on an upstate farm affiliated with the restaurant.

“That’s a gimmick kind of thing — it’s not going to flavor the food,” Cardoz said.

Meyer countered that it was smart recycling and good marketing.

Cardoz: “Lot of carbon emissions making charcoal. Not that green.”

Meyer ended the argument by pointing out that the farm used the emissions to heat its greenhouse. (He turned out to be wrong the farm used the heat generated by composting.)

They started debating what they’d serve at the new place. Cardoz had been to the Oyster Bar at Grand Central: “Bad food for high prices, paper cups for sauce and full of people.”

Meyer leafed through his menus.

Cardoz: “A whole section on eggs.”

Meyer: “Anchovies on toast. How long ago was this? Broiled lobster, $2.50.” He pointed — 1939.

“Vegetables are an important part of this restaurant,” Meyer continued. “What if vegetables were the main course? Not just to keep vegetarians happy, but to make the restaurant a destination.”

Cardoz was jotting down menu categories. “Lose ‘sides’ and call it ‘vegetables,’ ” he said.

Meyer said: “It’s become totally cliché to have a big platter of raw stuff. . . . At the Oyster Bar, how many oysters were there, 20?”

“And the waiter didn’t even know what they were,” Cardoz said.

“I want to have the best oyster you can have in New York today, opened perfectly.”


33 Best Beach Cocktails for An Awesome Vacation

A year later, the coronavirus pandemic has left us all with a pretty severe case of cabin fever. With vaccines available and more states opening up, an increasing number of Americans are itching to get their wanderlust on--especially at outdoor (and easily socially-distanced) locations like the beach. Let loose this spring and summer by planning a long-overdue trip to the beach with your family or best girlfriends, but be sure that the ingredients for one (or more) of these tropical-inspired cocktails are on your grocery list. We've included classic cocktails, such as hurricanes, mai tais, and margaritas, plus plenty of exciting new drinks, from a Meyer Lemon Drop and Cherry-Basil Fizz to a Snowcone Cocktail and Boozy Root Beer Float. Drink up, friends!


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The South Beach Wine and Food Festival (name-sponsored by The Food Network since 2007) has been a popular Miami event for ten years. To celebrate this milestone, festival founder and organizer Lee Brian Schrager co-authored this cookbook with the help of food writer Julie Mautner, and what a book it is! More than a mere collection of recipes, Mr. Schrager's book captures the carnival-like atmosphere of this celebration of chefs and the food that they prepare.

The Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival Cookbook contains the following:

* A rather self-involved foreword by Anthony Bourdain in which he uses the entire second paragraph to recount the riches of his first "swag bag" of freebies which are given to celebrity participants.

* Introductions to the book and each chapter by Mr. Schrager which includes some charming stories about the founding of the festival as well as it's highlights and lowlights (including the sudden, unexpected rainstorm that ruined the 2006 Barbeque and Champange event known as the BubbleQ.)

* Short interviews with chefs and other luminaries such as Francis Ford Coppola, Rocco DiSpirito, Charlie Trotter and Alain Ducasse entitled "Grilled for One Minute" where they are asked questions such as "What do you eat or drink when no one is watching?"

* One page listings of wine-pairings such as "The Best Wines for Burgers" and "The Best Wines for Barbecue".

* Candid photographs taken at past SoBe Festivals.

All of this really gives the reader a feel for this "Summer Camp for Chefs". Then there are the recipes by famous television chefs such as Bobby Flay, Tyler Florence, Mario Batali, Guy Fieri, Cat Cora, Jamie Oliver, Martha Stewart, Ted Allen, Rachael Ray, Emeril LaGasse, Paula Dean, Masaharu Morimoto and more plus a host of equally talented restaurant chefs from across the nation.

The chapters mirror some of the events held at the festival itself:

* Chapter 1 Drinks
Since the first year of the festival wine has played an important part in the celebration, however cocktails are also a valued component. This chapter includes recipes for potent potables such as: Satsuma Margarita with Basil by Susan Spicer Vermillion by Allen Katz and Sandra Lee's Lemon-Cucumber Cocktail.

* Chapter 2 Starters and Small Plates
Most of the food offered at the various festival venues are served in small portions. This chapter features recipes for tapas, nibbles, hors d'oeuvres, first courses, starters, little bits, finger food. whatever you call them they are tasty little bites, including: Melon Salad with Lemon Grass Shrimp by Daniel Boulud Wild Florida Shrimp Mojito by Allen Susser and Chilled Scallop and Lychee Martini by Marc Ehler

* Chapter 3 Barbecue
The BubbleQ, a champagne and barbecue extravaganza, has become SoBe's signature event. Here you will find culinary creations including: Sambal Shrimp by Emeril LaGasse Texas Hill Country Brisket by Elizabeth A. Karmel and Swordfish-Bacon Kebabs with Cilantro Gremolata by Ming Tsai

* Chapter 4 Burgers
The Burger Bash, hosted each year by Rachael Ray, is the most popular event at the festival. Top Chefs participate with a zeal usually reserved for more prestigious fare, such as restaurant-style main courses. I have already made several of these recipes and they are outstanding. They include: Bobby Flay's Bobby Blue Burger Crunchified Spike Mendelsohn's Colletti's Smokehouse Burger and Michael Symon's Fat Doug Burger (Yummy!)

* Chapter 5 Comfort and Casual Food
Even professional chefs and the foodies that follow them will drop what they are doing for a well-prepared BLT, a great Grilled Cheese Sandwich or Mac 'n Chess done right. Here are some great, informal dishes, like: Shrimp and Grits by Howie Kleinberg A Lobster Roll Sandwich by none other than Martha Stewart and Cat Cora's Crab and Avocado Sandwiches with Mango Coulis.

* Chapter 6 Main Courses
This chapter includes dishes that you will find at some of the finest restaurants in the nation. Here is what's for dinner: Jean-Georges Vongerichten's Rack of Lamb with Green Chile, Mint, and Sweet Pea Puree (I made this and it was awesome!) Alan Ducasse's Foie Gras Tapioca Ravioli with Sunchoke Emulsion and Chef Morimoto's Braised Black Cod

* Chapter 7 Desserts
Top pastry chefs and bakers round out SoBe's offerings with desserts such as: Claude Troisgros' Crepe Passion Malka Espinel's Drunken Mojito Rum Cake and Paula Deen's Double Chocolate Gooey Butter Cake.

In addition to the candid photos there are plenty of studio quality photos of the featured dishes by New York photographer Quentin Bacon. Although the photographs are very professional I found Mr. Bacon's lighting and set design to be tedious. He used the "very-shallow depth-of-field technique" to such a degree that I often had to really search for the one small point that WAS in focus. Also, I felt that there was too much "white-on-white" compositions, such as the Cubano Burger on page 122 and the Braised Black Cod on page 200, to name but a few. By the time I reached the end of the book I felt that I should have worn sunglasses.

I have prepared close to a dozen of the recipes here and have not been disappointed at all. Since this is really a "Foodie's Cookbook" it might have limited appeal to those that are looking for quick and easy recipes. However, for those that love not only good meals but also the community of people that prepare them, this is indeed a wonderful celebration of the world of food.

If I was able to award half stars I would give this book 4 1/2 but since I can't I will round it up to five. The recipes are really great and I will keep it on the top shelf of my bookcase!


What Can You Drink During Phase 1?

If you’re used to drinking soda or fruity drinks, it’s going to be time to ditch those if you really want to lose weight and get healthier. The South Beach Diet is water-focused, and you’ll be drinking a lot of it.

They suggest drinking at least 8 cups of water per day. That’s because drinking water helps fill you up, and even though this may sound weird, it also helps to reduce your water retention.


South Beach Food & Wine Trade Talk with Danny Meyer - Recipes

Oro Blanco, Salty Sea Feta & Calamansi Vinaigrette

CHILLED WHITE ASPARAGUS

Baby Lettuces, Mussel Broth & Calabrese Chili

FOIE GRAS TERRINE

BUCATINI

Butter, Chili, Mussel Broth & Bottarga

CHAWANMUSHI

Mushrooms, Jalapeño, Radish & Scallions

MATZAH BALL SOUP

Poached Matzah Ball, Chicken Broth & Winter Vegetable

POACHED COD

Root Spinach, Bonji & Shellfish Beurre Blanc

BROWN BUTTER BASTED TURBOT

Terrine of Winter Carrots & Cardamom, Carrot Citrus Emulsion

SQUAB EN CROUTE

Braised Shallots, Wild Mushrooms & Foie Gras

CRESCENT FARM DUCK

Confit Leg, Satsuma & Red Peshori Pistachio

SNAKE RIVER WAGYU COULOTTE

Turnips, Beets, Horseradish & Borscht Sauce

MILLBROOK VENISON SADDLE

Beluga Lentils, Braised Cabbage & Mushroom Cacciatore

OLIVE OIL CAKE

Satsuma & Riesling Sabayon

APPLE TARTE TATIN

SWEET POTATO CRÈME CARAMEL

Brown Butter Ice Cream & Pecans

BROOKLYN BLACKOUT

Stout Ice Cream & Buckwheat

WARM DATE CAKE

Hazelnut Whiskey Sauce & Crème Fraîche Ice Cream

FOUR FAT FOWL (NY)

Cow's Milk, Pumpkin Seed Butter & Rhubarb

CITRUS SALAD

Oro Blanco, Mandarins, Feta & Calamansi Vinaigrette

BABY LETTUCES

Tahini, Mimolette Cheese & Radishes

CHILLED WHITE ASPARAGUS

Baby Lettuces, Mussel Broth & Calabrese Chili

FOIE GRAS TERRINE

MATZAH BALL SOUP

Poached Matzah Ball, Chicken Broth & Winter Vegetables

SOFT SCRAMBLED EGG

Roasted Sweetbreads & Shallot Jus

LOUP DE MER

Wilted Spinach, Trout Roe & Beurre Blanc

FOUR STORY HILL FARM CHICKEN

Celery Root, Mushrooms & Wild Rice

WAGYU COULOTTE

Turnips, Beets, Horseradish & Borsch Sauce

CRESCENT FARM DUCK

Confit Leg, Satsuma & Red Peshori Pistachios

BUCATINI

Butter, Chili, Mussel Broth & Bottarga

POACHED COD

Market Carrots, Finger Lime Emulsion & Yellowfoot Mushrooms

BROOKLYN BLACKOUT

Stout Ice Cream & Buckwheat

WARM DATE CAKE

Hazelnut Whiskey Sauce & Crème Fraîche Ice Cream

SATSUMA SORBET

Olive Oil Cake, Thyme & Riesling

APPLE TARTE TATIN

FOUR FAT FOWL

Cow's Milk, Pumpkin Seed Butter & Rhubarb

Snacks

FALAFEL

REUBEN

Pastrami, Gruyére & Russian Dressing

WAGYU KEBAB

Jerk Marinade & Cabbage Slaw

FRIED CHICKEN

OYSTERS ROCKEFELLER

Watercress, Cabot Clothbound, Pernod & Bread Crumbs

CITRUS SALAD

Oro Blanco, Mandarins, Salty Sea Feta & Calamansi Vinaigrette

BUCATINI

Butter, Chili, Mussel Broth & Bottarga

MATZAH BALL SOUP

Poached Matzah Ball, Chicken Broth & Winter Vegetables

CRESCENT DUCK

Confit Leg, Satsuma & Red Peshori Pistachio

POACHED COD

Root Spinach, Bonji & Shellfish Buerre Blanc

FRENCH ONION BURGER

Tubby Cheese, Pork Belly & Caramelized Onion Jus

Desserts

OLIVE OIL CAKE

Satsuma & Riesling Sabayon

FOUR FAT FOWL

Cow's Milk, Pumpkin Seed Butter & Rhubarb

ROASTED BEET SALAD

Stracciatella, Sweet Potato & Apple

BABY LETTUCES

Tahini, Mimolette Cheese & Radish

SCOTCH SNAILS

Pork Sausage, Parsley & Garlic Butter

CHICKEN LIVER PATE

Pickled Vegetables, Black Pepper & Brioche

POTATO LEEK CHOWDER

Crème Fraîche, Chive & Bacon

OYSTERS ROCKEFELLER

Watercress, Cabot Clothbound, Pernod & Bread Crumbs

FOUR STORY HILL FARM CHICKEN

Sunchoke, Potato & Bagna Cauda

HALIBUT STEAK

Cauliflower, Brown Butter & Almonds

WAGYU BOLOGNESE

COLORADO LAMB RACK

FRENCH ONION BURGER

Tubby Cheese, Pork Belly & Caramelized Onion Jus

MUSHROOM RISOTTO

Maitake, Sherry & Parmesan Crème

BROOKLYN BLACKOUT

Chocolate Stout Ice Cream & Buckwheat

SATSUMA SORBET

Olive Oil Cake, Thyme & Cava

CHEESCAKE

Candied Pineapple & Carrot Crumble

HOMEMADE COOKIES

Double Chocolate Pretzel or Apple Walnut

Happy Hour is every weekday from 4-6pm
$17 glasses of Champagne

Cocktails

The Manhatta

New York Distilling Ragtime Rye, Punt e Mes, Lustau East India Sherry, Bitters

Entre Nous

Vodka, Pimms, Sage, Lemon, Sparkling

Castle Garden

Beefeater Gin, Benedictine, Honey, Lime, Angostura

5th & 41

Siete Leguas Blanco Tequila, Amargo-Vallet Angostura, Chamomile, Lime

Governor Smith

Irish Whiskey, Calvados, Ginger, Mint, Lemon

Windmill

Xoriguer Mahón Gin, El Gobernador Pisco, Lime, Orgeat, Celery Bitters

Common Ground

Bertoux Brandy, Mr. Black Coffee, House Picon, Cream, Egg White

Marquis de Lafayette

Michel Huard Calvados, Rhum JM VSOP, Pineau des Charentes, Boal Madeira, Braulio

Little Manila

Plantation 5yrs, Neisson Rhum Blanc , Clement Mahina Coco, Calamansi, Gen Mai, Cucumber, Lime, Sesame

Dilja

Reyka Vodka, Génépy des Alpes, Giffard Pamplemousse, La Gitana Manzanilla

Sparkling Wines

Domaine Collin

Cuvée Tradition
Crémant de Limoux

Pierre Gimonnet

Blanc de Blancs
Cuis, Champagne

Guy Larmandier

Dom Pérignon

White Wine

Grüner Veltliner

F.X. Pichler, 'Loibnerberg'
Wachau, Austria 2017

Sauvignon Blanc

Château La Rabotine
Sancerre, Loire, France 2018

Riesling

J.B. Becker, 'Wallufer Walkenberg'
Rheingau, Germany 2017

Friulano

Massican, 'Annia'
Napa Valley, California 2018

Gutedel

Wasenhaus
Baden, Germany 2018

Chardonnay

Domaine Nicolas Maillet
Mâcon-Verzé, Burgundy, France 2018

Marsanne

Julien Cécillon, 'Cornilhac'
Collines Rhodaniennes, France 2017

Red Wine

Pinot Noir

Chapter 24, 'The Union'
Willamette Valley, Oregon 2018

Morescone/Carcagholu

Antoine-Marie Arena, 'San Giovanni'
Corsica, France 2016

Tempranillo

Dominio del Águila, 'Pícaro Tinto'
Ribera del Duero, Spain 2016

Nerello Mascalese

Girolamo Russo 'a Rina'
Etna, Italy 2017

Grenache

Domaine de Beaurenard
Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Rhône, France 2016

Cabernet Sauvignon

Château Micalet
Haut-Médoc, Bordeaux, France 2015


Calling all Miami-Dade residents to join us for this all-star dinner celebrating the 305’s finest culinary talent - and curated by none other than Zak Stern!

Baking all-star and local culinary super-personality Stern – otherwise known as Zak the Baker – has gathered some of Miami’s hottest chefs for an intimate dinner experience that is guaranteed to bring the heat! Stern, whose flagship namesake eclectic bakery is located in the heart of Wynwood, is known for his unwavering commitment to producing top-quality, fresh and delectable bites.

Joining Stern will be Chefs Luciana Giangrandi and Alex Meyer, fellow 2020 James Beard Award semifinalists (Best Chef: South), and the masterminds behind Boia De, one of Miami’s most buzzed about restaurants. Giangrandi, having cooked at world-renown Carbone and award-winning Scarpetta, brings her own unique, Miami-influenced flavor to her culinary ventures, and Meyer has a resume that boasts stints at big-name eateries like Animal Restaurant in Los Angeles, CA to The Nomad in New York, NY where he served as sous chef.

Cooking alongside this talented trio, will be Festival first-timer, Carey Hynes, the chef behind Jaguar Sun in Downtown Miami. Hynes, known for upping the bar-food game, is often praised for curating a soulful and satisfying menu at the much-loved dining locale. Together, this hyper-local quartet will serve up an incandescent dinner reminiscent of the Magic City, under the starlit eaves of Lot 6 (the pop up dining location from the founders of Jaguar Sun) and perfectly paired with wine pairings from the Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits portfolio.

To offer the safest experience and adhere to each restaurant’s unique seating capabilities, tickets will be sold in the specific table configurations listed at checkout. Interested in buying out an intimate dinner experience at SOBEWFF® 2021? Please email [email protected] to learn more about our dinner buy-out opportunities.

EAT. DRINK. EDUCATE.

All proceeds from the Festival benefit the students of the Florida International University Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management who assist Festival organizers in all aspects, including Festival planning, logistics and overall execution.

COVID-19 Health & Safety Measures

Honoring our commitment to ensuring the health and safety of our staff, talent, attendees, sponsors, participants, and community, SOBEWFF® has consulted with the FIU Healthcare Committee on COVID-19 Health & Safety Protocols that follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), State of Florida Department of Health, Miami-Dade County, and the City of Miami Beach. All attendees will be subject to symptom/temperature checks and attestation of either a negative COVID-19 test no more than 72 hours prior to the event or completed vaccination, and presentation of a cleared SymCheck&trade QR Code. Anyone presenting symptoms on arrival will be denied entry. Apart from the Wine Spectator Wine Seminar series, all events will take place outdoors with new additional measures on capacity restrictions, cleaning and sanitization, physical distancing, and mask requirements. Click HERE to read the complete SOBEWFF ® COVID-19 Health & Safety Protocols.


How Phase 1 Works:

“Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start” – Do-Re-Mi, The Sound of Music

There are 3 phases in the South Beach Diet, and it all starts with the all-important Phase 1, aka “The 7-Day Reboot.”

Phase 1 is the foundation of the South Beach Diet, and it does three important things:

  1. Resets your body
  2. Reduces your cravings
  3. Prepares you for a period of gradual and sustainable weight loss

Normally your body burns carbs as its primary fuel source. When you’re on a lower-carb diet, like South Beach, your body turns to it’s second option, which is fat. When you burn fat, you lose weight. Simple, right?

Here’s a nifty infographic showing how cutting carbs and eating more protein helps you lose weight:

Healthy food is the foundation of the South Beach Diet, so let’s look at the Phase 1 meal plan.


Expert on sustainable agriculture and food issues and has written extensively on gender and population, the spread of factory farming in the developing world, and innovations in sustainable agriculture. She is currently the co-founder of FoodTank: The Food Think Tank. Food Tank researches and highlights environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable ways of alleviating hunger, obesity and poverty and create networks of people, organizations, and content to push for food system change.

Danielle spent two years traveling to more than 35 countries across sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, and Latin America meeting with farmers and farmers’ groups, scientists and researchers, policymakers and government leaders, students and academics, and journalists collecting their thoughts on what’s working to help alleviate hunger and poverty, while also protecting the environment. Danielle was also the Director of the Nourishing the Planet project, housed at the Worldwatch Institute.

Her knowledge of global agriculture issues has been cited widely in more than 3,000 major publications includingThe New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, the International Herald Tribune, The Washington Post, BBC, and many others.

Danielle has authored or contributed to several major reports and books, including Happier Meals: Rethinking the Global Meat Industry (2005), State of the World 2011: Innovations that Nourish the Planet (Editor and Project Director, 2011), Eating Planet 2012 (2012), and Food and Agriculture: The Future of Sustainability (2012).


Katie Lee's Logan County Hamburgers

The Burger Bash at the South Beach Food & Wine Festival is one of the biggest events of the weekend with big name chefs vying for burger superiority. In previous years the winners have been Bobby Flay, Shake Shack, and Spike Mendelsohn, but in 2009 there was a bit of an upset when the title went to these Logan County Hamburgers from food personality Katie Lee.

These seasoned patties sandwiched between slices of white bread and American cheese come from a recipe that Lee's West Virginian grandmother created. The thinness of the patties comes from Lee's grandmother's Depression-era mentality but the eggs, garlic powder, and onions give them both bulk and flavor. To see how to make these patty melts the Katie Lee way, check out this video she shot with The New York Times' Frank Bruni. (A burger-patty-melt hybrid? Yes, please!)

Adapted from The Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival Cookbook by Lee Brian Schrager with Julie Mautner. Copyright © 2010. Photographs copyright © 2010 Quentin Bacon. Published by Clarkson Potter. Available wherever books are sold. All Rights Reserved.


Watch the video: South Beach Wine u0026 Food Festival Founder Lee Schrager On Changes To This Years Event (September 2021).