Five Miami restaurants will turn into "Bravolebrities" come nest week when Best New Restaurant premieres on Wednesday, January 21, at 10 p.m.
The series spotlights 16 restaurants in four major cities (New York, Los Angeles, Austin and Miami) each vying for a feature in Bon Appetit magazine, a $100,000 spot at a Las Vegas food festival, and the title of Best New Restaurant.
Top Chef's Tom Colicchio serves as host, judge, and executive producer, with Maggie Nemser (BlackboardEats) and Jeffrey Zurofsky (Colicchio's partner and cofounder of 'Wichcraft) rounding out the judging table. Gordon Ramsay is producer of the show.
Rather than compete in challenges and quickfires like Bravo's other cooking shows, the majority of the series takes place in the actual restaurants. According to a Bravo rep, the show is about the restaurateurs' talents and merits, with food, decor, hospitality, and overall concept being scored in the mix.
Though our local Miami chefs are tight-lipped about the project and how far they went in the competition (and if anyone won), several of them did admit filming was intense.
The Miami restaurants competing for the moniker Best New Restaurant include Buns & Buns in South Miami; Wynwood's R House; Dolce Italian and Tongue in Cheek, both in South Beach; and The Federal Food Drink and Provisions.
Bravo released a promo videos, introducing each restaurant. Watch our favorite Miami chefs to get a taste for what's in store for them -- and us -- as the drama plays out each Wednesday evening for the next few months.
Which restaurant will ultimately take the prize? As long as top honors come home to Miami, we're happy.
Watch the introduction, with a lot of face time for the Federal:
Tongue & Cheek's Jamie DeRosa explains that his restaurant is all about serving good, honest food and cocktails.
Watch Cesar Zapata and Aniece Meinhold admit that their relationship wasn't exactly love at first sight and find out who's the real boss at the Federal.
Dolce Italian's general manager, Dean Tsakanikas, talks about the restaurant's most talked about dish -- the octopus, saying, "there's no such thing as a sure thing, but this is the closest thing to it for us."
The leaders of R House's team, Rocco Carulli and Owen Bale are a married couple who work side by side to build up the Wynwood restaurant and art space. As chef Rocco, the "R" in R House, says, "We have such a strong love for each other, that it goes into everything we do at this restaurant."
Buns & Buns in South Miami is the only fast-casual concept restaurant on this list. But don't call it that. Call it "gastrofast", a new word invented by executive chef Reuven Sugarman to describe his bread-centric restaurant.
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Finally, want to know what Tom Colicchio does when he's not thrilled with a dish? He sends it back -- and prefers you do that too. The celebrity chef explains that if you wait to complain about what you ordered at 11 p.m., after the restaurant is closed, he lost the opportunity to make you satisfied. So, rather than grouse on Yelp about your meal, communicate with your server about if you're not "feeling" your food.