What Happens at Chef's Club Stays at Chef's Club
Christina Ward, Matt Livers, and Aaron Brooks enjoy some wine at Chef's Club.
All photos by Laine Doss
Chef's Club, an informal gathering of some of Miami's hottest talent, has been meeting about every other month since about 2006. This invitation-only gathering of chefs and industry-insiders has a pretty simple goal -- to build and nurture a sense of community among South Florida restaurant professionals.
PR guru Larry Carrino co-founded Chef's Club with chef Adam Votaw, who was then with Chispa in Coral Gables. Votaw, a client of Carrino's, noticed a lack of friendship and camaraderie in Miami, something he said he missed from his days in Paris and New York. Hence, Chef's club was born. Votaw has since moved out west, but the gathering lives on.
The faces and the menus change, but the structure remains the same.
Chefs take turns "hosting" at their restaurant. Whole Foods
Market underwrites the food portion, giving the host chef a gift card to
fund the meal. Each chef shows up with an appetite...and a bottle that
goes into the "drink kitty". Sometimes the meals are sit down affairs.
Sometimes they're buffet-style. There was a clam bake. A costume party. A cocktail
smack-down. Chefs rotate in and out of the club.
Matt Livers (The Capital Grille);
Michael Jacobs (Strategic Hospitality Group and Miami Heat);
Tom Azar (formerly of City Hall);
Sean Bernal (The Delano);
Russell Karath (Gotham Steak and Hakkasan).
there were stories of vacation getaways, pictures of babies, and even
an Elvis story thrown into the mix. But the main topic of conversation is...was....will always be....food. Specifically:
what state has the best bagels (New Jersey -- even over New York),
where can you get good freshly-baked bread in Miami (maybe La Provence..but boy would someone make a killing if they opened a really great bakery in Miami); and if Brother Jimmy's Barbeque is really giving away free booze (not since they got their liquor license late last week).
There was some industry gossip, too. But, you know the first rule: what happens at Chef's Club stays at Chef's Club.
Russel Karath and Josh Becker at Chef's Club.
Tom Azar and Mike Jacobs pal around.