We've all seen those movies where the teenage mailroom clerk works his way up the ladder to become president of the firm. We've also all seen movies where giant lizards eat Tokyo. Both make for good stories, but neither happens much in real life.
Except, sometimes they do. When 19-year-old Larry Carrino walked into the offices of Susan Brustman and Associates, he was just a kid with no PR experience -- or any experience at all, come to think of it. But Susan Brustman, the public relations executive with a keen eye for talent, saw potential.
Flash forward about two decades later, and Carrino is not only partner and president, he's arguably the most influential PR maven in the city. His client roster reads like a culinary dream team, mostly because he cares about getting solid information out about the people and places he represents.
In a city where the life cycle of a restaurant, or a person, can be shorter than that of a butterfly, Larry Carrino has staying power. And true influence.
The most influential person in my career has been:
Susan Brustman. I started working with her when I was 20 years old. I took a job at her PR firm and had no idea that job would turn into a career and become something I love. Susan mentored me from day one and without her I wouldn't be where I am today. The fact that 18 years later I'm managing the firm still blows my mind.
When I'm alone and in need of comfort, (and no one is there to watch or judge), the one food or drink I turn to is:
Chinese food. And I have to start with wonton soup.
What does Miami need more of?
We could sure use a couple more great, neighborhood sandwich shops; unpretentious spots serving amazing Reubens, meatball Parms and clubs. Never underestimate the pleasing power of a truly great sandwich!
You get to vote one food or beverage trend off the island forever -- what is it?
The obsessive pedigree-ing of ingredients and menu items. I'm not sure the diner needs to know the basil's life story.
You have unlimited funds to open a restaurant or bar -- what's the name and what do you serve?
My mother, Lorraine, is an amazing cook; Italian-American cooking refined over generations in Brooklyn. Not that Miami needs any more Italian restaurants, but I would open a small, 40-seat spot and name it in her honor. And the menu would be based solely on Carrino family recipes.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I'd like to see BCPR with a satellite office in another city, someplace not too big with a really cool food scene that had not yet reached maximum density and has potential to grow.
Dream dinner party for six: Who (living or dead) are you inviting?
Bob Dylan, Martin Scorsese, Oscar Wilde, Aimee Mann, Stephen King, and Ira Glass.
New Times' Best of Miami 2013 issue arrives June 13. To celebrate, Short Order is serving up the top 30 tastemakers in the 305. These people have helped shape the Miami food scene into what it is today. We began with number 30 and will lead up to the county's number one. A Q&A session is included in each post.