1. Michael Schwartz: Genuine Culinary Genius

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New Times' Best of Miami 2014 issue is here. To celebrate, Short Order is paying tribute to Miami's culinary all-stars. These people forged our city's food scene into what it is today -- a thriving amalgam of tastes and cultures. Through their insight and talent, they've given the city a unique flavor and paved the way for bright new chefs and restaurateurs to follow their lead and take the Miami food scene into the future.

Michael Schwartz simply and genuinely, earned his number one status on our countdown. The James Beard award-winning chef has put Miami on the culinary map by serving honest food that respects both the source of the produce and proteins and the patrons who come back time and again.

See also: Michael Schwartz Talks Work, Home Brew, and What's Ahead For Miami

Schwartz's early culinary career took him from his native Philadelphia to California, New York, Japan, and Colorado, but it was Miami's Nemo that sealed his fate as one of the top chefs in the country.

In 2007, Schwartz opened Michael's Genuine Food and Drink in the then up-and-coming Design District. The concept was deceptively simple -- hunt for the very best ingredients from tomatoes to beef and allow the ingredients to sing. The restaurant resonated with diners who longed for food that was not only seasonal and local, but genuine.

Schwartz also helped South Florida's local farms gain traction by his sourcing fresh produce, meats, and seafood from neighboring suppliers. Additionally, Schwartz is a supporter of Slow Food, receiving the first Miami "Snail of Approval" award.

Schwartz opened an outpost of Michael's Genuine in Grand Cayman in 2010. Harry's Pizzeria, a casual Design District restaurant, arrived in Fall 2011, and The Cypress Room, Schwartz's foray into fine dining, opened spring 2013. The chef/restaurateur then claimed Miami Beach with the opening of Restaurant Michael Schwartz, also in 2013.

In addition to his growing restaurant empire, Schwartz has his name on a beer (Michael's Genuine Home Brew) and has sea-going ventures with his 150 Central Park on Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas and the first gastropubs at sea on the cruise lines' Quantum-class ships.

The chef also finds time to support many causes like Share our Strength and Alex's Lemonade Stand, proving that his commitment to the Miami community is as genuine as his commitment to making beautiful food.

Tasty Tidbit

Michael Schwartz studied in Japan for six months in the late 1980s.

In His Own Words

"We've got a lot going on down here right now which is a good thing. A lot of good, a lot of bad, and everything in between. Still, all boils down to product. It's nice to see us moving away from Edison Bulbs and pork centric menus. Moving towards fine dining and vegetables, and carefully sourced and thoughtfully prepared ingredients. I'd like to see more local fish and less imports. Golden tilefish, not branzino!"

Miami Food All-Stars

25. Dewey LoSasso

24. Mark Soyka

23. Jason Starkman

22. Lorena Garcia

21. Barton G.

20. Mike Hampton

19. Chef Creole

18. Jeremiah Bullfrog

17. Cindy Hutson

16. Jack Homes

15. Shareef Malnik

14. Bruce Ozga

13. Robert Is Here

12. Julio Cabrera

11. The Garcia Family

10. Norman Van Aken

9. Lee Schrager

8. Bacardi

7. Allen Susser

6. Stephen Sawitz

5. Felipe Valls

4. Douglas Rodriguez

3. Michelle Bernstein

2. Myles Chefetz

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