The mafia's got a way of referring to itself called "this thing of ours." Chefs are the same, not a mob, but a network of bosses, underbosses, and soldiers who put in work to bring home the fattest envelopes and be recognized for their accomplishments. It's no secret society, the restaurant industry is one that anyone can join and move up the ranks through hard work, natural ability, and willingness to learn. But it's not so often that the best of the best all get together for a sitdown. Thanks to Chefs Club that's all changing.
Chefs Club is a get together that happens about every two months where some of the best in South Florida get together over food and drink and a meal prepared by one of their own. The man who makes it happen is local PR boss Larry Carrino.
Carrino (top image, shirt with white stripes) says, "Chefs Club started about 3 years ago. Adam Votaw, from a restaurant called Chispa, who was a client of mine, felt when he moved here that there were a lot of amazing chefs, but no community. He had worked in Paris and New York and said that chefs in Miami know who each other are, but don't know each other. We got to talking about how to fix that and this is what we came up with. Chefs Club started with 6 or 8 of us, tonight we had over 30 of the best chefs in town, the rising stars, and the old vanguard like Robin Haas. A different chef hosts it every time and we send out invitations to a core list of chefs and it's growing from there every single time. The exciting thing is that this is the first event with our new underwriter Whole Foods, we've got a lot of plans with them. This is just the tip of the iceberg. We're going to be creating more opportunities for the public to access the chefs and breed curiosity about fine dining and just cooking in general."
Most recently the Chefs Club was hosted by Chef Bernardo Espinel of the Ritz Carlton South Beach's Bistro One LR. He says "The memory of flavor is strong.I like to cook light, with seasonal vegetables and fruits, and I love fish. We're gonna be serving some locally caught kingfish tonight along with everything else."
Chef Sean Bernal from the Oceanaire Seafood Room Miami with girlfriend and Whole Foods marketing specialist Natalie White says, "This is a good attempt at bringing people together. I'm bout it."
Club Med Corporate Chef Erik Peters says "This is awesome. What better way to hang out with other chefs."
Cindy Hutson of Ortanique says "I been holding down this fort for a long time, one of the first chefs to be a part of it. It's awesome. We really do enjoy each other's company."
Larry Carrino says "A good deal of business gets done at Chefs Club. I think it's gonna be one part of the puzzle in terms of helping the chefs in the community network and interact.It's better for the industry which in turn is better for the diner. Creativity breeds creativity. The chefs drive, challenge and inspire each other. Miami's food culture is only going on its third decade, this is going to be very beneficial in the long term."
Here's a list of everybody who was invited to the most recent Chefs Club dinner:
1. Andriola, Tim Timo
2. Bernal, Sean Oceanaire
3. Cabrera, Alberto Speakeasy
4. Carrino, Larry Brustman Carrino PR
5. DaSilva, Paula 3030 Ocean
6. Espinel, Malka Johnny V/Smith & Jones
7. Galiano, Chad Neomi's at Trump
8. Gilligan, Michael Solea at W SoBe
9. Greenspan, Jenni Ritz Carlton, South Beach
10. Haas, Robin
11. Hutson, Cindy Ortanique
12. Jackson, Nicole 3030 Ocean
13. Jantz, Kurtis Neomi's at Trump
14. Jeffries, Ali Brustman Carrino PR
15. Karetnick, Jen Miami magazine
16. Katel, Jacob Miami New Times
17. Martin, Nate
18. Max, Dean James 3030 Ocean
19. Maybury, Gordon Loews Miami Beach
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20. Peters, Erik Club Med
21. Randazzo, Frank&Andrea Talula
22. Romano, Jessica DiLido Beach Club
23. Vinczencz, Johnny Johnny V/Smith & Jones
24. Wahler, Joshua The Blue steakhouse
25. White, Natalie Whole Foods Market