Food News

David New of Ability Explosion Seen Eating... Madeleines in the Dark

J.Whitrock/Courtesy of Ability Explosion
David New
David New is an entrepreneur, the chair of the Miami Beach Disability Access Committee, and the main promoter of Ability Explosion. About ten years ago, he lost his sight due to a degenerative eye disease. He created the Ability Explosion event to build awareness about and improve the lives of people with disabilities. Ability Explosion runs October 19 to 24 in South Beach, with events ranging from a tech convention, a regatta, a Crunch 5K run, and an evening of dining in the dark.

On Wednesday, October 20, South Beach restaurants will host Lights Out Miami Beach. Guests and servers at Escopazzo, BLT Steak, Indomania, and other South Beach restaurants will experience relying on their other senses for an evening, either dining completely in the dark or with blindfolds.

After the jump: How cooking has changed for New.

It's because of New's persistence on the Disability Access Committee

that many of the crosswalks in South Beach talk. He's hoping to get

about a dozen more intersections talking. His long-term goal is to

make Miami Beach the most accessible destination in the world, for both

residents and visitors.

New Times: What did you have for breakfast this morning?

David New: This morning, I had some rye toast with strawberry preserves.

What are some of your favorite places to eat?


love BLT Steak at the Betsy. That's a new place I just found. They

have these really great sautéed mushrooms, and of course the steak is

amazing. They also have these madeleines with lemon zest in

them -- they're awesome.

An all-time favorite is Books & Books on Lincoln Road. I love the curried chicken salad.

Do you enjoy cooking?


do like to cook. I'm not as good at it as I would like to be. Before I

lost my sight, I never really cooked anything. Now that I'm home more,

I do enjoy that, so I'm always trying to learn new ways of preparing


I think some people assume that if you have limited vision, cooking is not an option.

I think a lot of people assume that, and it's a false assumption.

Did you have to make any technical changes to the kitchen?


lot has to do with the new technology that's available now.

Everything's flat-screen and digital now, so I actually designed my

kitchen when I moved into my new home so that it would be as accessible

as possible.

So I have flat cooktop, but I have knobs to turn it

on and off. You have to orient yourself with where the burners are

since it's a glass top. The dishwasher and microwave are digital also,  so I use Braille labels on the flat panel so I know where to push the

buttons. You can make things adaptable and accessible. That's what

Ability Explosion is about -- to create accessibility for people of all


What are some of your favorite dishes to cook?

I like fresh fish with sautéed mushrooms and onions. I love mushrooms, onions, and garlic. I do a lot of chicken too.

How would you say cooking is different for you now?

It's definitely more about aroma and the taste. Food is more enticing and more appetizing when it's aromatic.

What's in your fridge?

A million things. It's so full I

have to weed it out. I have pickles, artichoke hearts, salami, caviar,

sardines, and some cran-grape juice.

Do you have any regular food rituals you can't live without?


I get into food routines, I do them for a while, but then I get into a

rut and I need to switch it up completely. I started changing around

what I ate for breakfast and dinner. I was like, "Why do I have to eat

breakfast food every day at breakfast, and dinner food at dinner?" I

started making turkey and sandwiches and stuff for breakfast and

switched everything up. It gets boring if you always do the same

thing. You have to stay creative.

Do you have any favorite fast foods or comfort food?

I'll go to Pizza Rustica and get a slice.