Castronovo is also a major foodie who frequently talks about South Florida restaurants on his show, with Alba Seaside Italian's chef/owner Ralph Pagano a regular guest. Castronovo has also hosted several South Beach Wine & Food Festival-related events and cooking competitions, the most infamous being one in which Emeril Lagasse said "bullshit" on the air.
Now, Castronovo has started a food blog on his Castronovo Vineyards website, and everywhere in Miami, food writers are chewing on their fingernails and chain smoking. Why? Because we've got major competition.
A journalism major from University of Florida, Castronovo's writing style is breezy and conversational. It is not pretentious. It draws you in.
In the interest of welcoming Castronovo to the food blogging world, we called him up to both congratulate him and keep in his good graces should he get that lucrative Food Network contract and we need to suck up to him.
Castronovo said that part of the decision to start a food blog was to build his brand and generate traffic for his website, but there was really more to it than that. "I like chefs. I'm a chef groupie," the morning talk show host confided.
He said his first blog post was inspired by a recent brunch at Darryl and Oliver's Cafe Maxx in Pompano Beach. "I was talking to Chef Oliver [Saucy] at the restaurant and he started talking about duck eggs. Duck egg! First of all, who cooks with duck eggs? But he was so excited and passionate about these eggs that I said to myself, 'Wow.' I had to interview him, so I came up with a bunch of questions and that became my first post."
The blog will allow Castronovo to share his restaurant experiences. "I want the stories to be about what hits me. Maybe I'll go to Alba Seaside Italian and walk into the kitchen. I'd like to interview Doug Rodriguez. I think De Rodriguez Cuba is doing some great food in South Beach."
Castronovo plans to write about more than chefs. He'll explore other aspects of the restaurant scene. "I'd love to interview the general manager at Joe's Stone Crab. He knows where the bodies are buried."
You would think after so many years of being in the limelight, Castronovo would be cocky -- or at least completely self assured. But before we ended the conversation, the morning drive talk show host asked if we had read his first blog entry. "What did you think?" We replied that it read just like he speaks on the radio."That's good," he said. "That's something I never forgot since school. To write like you're speaking."
Then, he asked how to eat out all the time and not get fat. "You know Adam Richman from Man vs. Food? Season one he was this good looking guy. By season three, he was an Oompa Loompa. [When I saw him,] I didn't even recognize him."
Paul, when you figure out the secret to dining out on all those multiple-course dinners without gaining weight, let us know. We'll be on the treadmill trying to burn off last night's Miami Spice meal.