In the last few days, Short Order has published several posts excoriating Miami Dade College's new Tuyo restaurant for not hiring college students. I stand behind those articles.
I want to make clear, though, the place is just getting started. We will review it after it's a little more established. And I strongly support the idea of a culinary school in the City of Miami. So I asked Juan Mendieta, the school's director of communications, to talk about the idea of Tuyo. I have also pasted a press release about the school's opening after the jump.
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In an era of diminishing funding for public colleges and universities, we are compelled to think out of the box. Tuyo creates a new revenue stream for the Miami Culinary Institute (MCI) where it resides. A portion of every dollar spent at Tuyo supports MCI's academic programming as well as scholarships for deserving students. Tuyo also gives our students something to aspire to right there in front of them. Even with new students and a new culinary institute, students do have roles at Tuyo and completely run the Café on the first floor of the MCI.
Fresh thinking and innovation have been the cornerstones of Miami Dade College for half a century. Under Dr. (Eduardo) Padrón's leadership, innovations have led to the creation of affordable bachelor's degrees at MDC that put people to work, a nationally renowned Honors College, a comprehensive completion agenda so that students who start college finish it, the creation of the Miami Culinary Institute and now Tuyo. We are all partners in our community's success. Let's give Tuyo a chance.
Miami, Oct. 26, 2011 - Since its opening last spring, the Miami Culinary Institute (MCI) at Miami Dade College (MDC) has made an immediate impact on the community and beyond with a cornucopia of programs and activities that please the palate whether one is a student, food enthusiast or culinary industry professional. Now, the Institute turns up the heat with the opening of its rooftop restaurant, Tuyo, an exquisite fusion of New World cuisine under the direction of award-winning Chef Norman Van Aken.
"This is a momentous occasion for the College and the Florida culinary scene," said Miami Dade College President Dr. Eduardo J, Padrón "We set out to be revolutionary with the MCI, and Tuyo is a key ingredient in carrying out this vision."
Tuyo is the crown jewel sitting atop the Miami Culinary Institute offering spectacular views of Biscayne Bay and the Miami skyline. Featuring a breakthrough recipe for culinary excellence in the 21st century, Tuyo infuses its trailblazing menu with the Institute's state-of-the-art approach to the culinary arts, setting the table for food culture innovation by focusing on environmentally sound practices and drawing upon the food grown locally and in the Institute's edible organic garden. In fact, a portion of every dollar spent at Tuyo supports MCI's academic programming as well as scholarships for deserving students.
Leading the way at Tuyo is Chef Norman Van Aken, the only Floridian to have also been awarded the James Beard Foundation's Who's Who of Food and Beverage in America, and recipient of dozens of other culinary awards and honors, including having been officially recognized as one of the "Founders of the New American Cuisine" at Spain's Madrid Fusión event in 2006. Author of several books, Chef Van Aken is widely credited for introducing the concept of "fusion cuisine," which he uses to describe his revolutionary blend of exotic flavors and influences that have evolved into New World Cuisine, the gourmet celebration of Latin, Caribbean, Asian, African and American flavors.
"I could not be more excited about Tuyo," said Chef Van Aken. "We are a forward-thinking institution, and this restaurant will reflect that philosophy and keep Miami's food scene in the international spotlight."
The restaurant menu reflects a la carte offerings as well as prix fixe tasting menus, with a sommelier selection option. Guests can expect to enjoy the cuisine that has become a hallmark of Chef Van Aken's career, as well as special events featuring visiting chefs. For example, members of MCI's Chef's Council will visit and prepare special menus for one-night-only events. Members of the distinguished council include renowned chefs Michelle Bernstein, Cindy Hutson, Douglas Rodriguez, Philippe Ruiz, Michael Schwartz, Rudi Sodamin, Allen Susser and José Andrés.
About the Tuyo dining experience, Chef Van Aken says, "My passion has long been and remains to cook in a way that brings you memories and immediacy. I want to take you to a place that you are happy in and fill you with well-being. Our food is about commitment to hand-crafted, artisanal, Florida flavors."
Building upon Miami Dade College's rich history, with the leadership of founding director Chef John Richards, the Miami Culinary Institute blends technology, sustainability and world-class education to set the pulse of Miami's cuisine and food culture innovation. The Institute offers a curriculum steeped in green-sustainable food and energy technologies, the highest quality food and beverage enthusiast programming and customized professional development for corporate and educational partners worldwide.
The eight-story Institute at the College's Wolfson Campus is an architectural and engineering marvel that focuses on exceptional space utilization and generating a limited carbon footprint. It features general kitchen and baking labs, a food and beverage theater with global connectivity capabilities through the latest A/V technology, a first-floor café and bakery, and now, on the top floor, the Institute's exceptional gem: Tuyo.