Three months into opening his South Beach restaurant, Pink Teacup Villa, Lawrence Page decided to move here. "Miami opened a different chapter in my life," he says. "Geographically, it's beautiful, and I feel like there's less pressure here." The Brooklyn native also found a new hobby. "I catch my own fish to use at the restaurant. I just caught a 40-pound grouper."
The chef is best known as the star of the WE TV reality series Hustle and Soul, which follows his life at his restaurants in New York City and Miami Beach. The drama you see on the screen, Page says, is 95 percent real. "It's another world besides just looking down at my cutting board."
The chef, who was homeless and slept in his car for several months after a failed restaurant operation drained his finances, also makes it a point to employ people who need a second chance. "We do hire men and women who have felony records. They're trying to change their lives, and that's what makes the show."
The show, which is currently filming around Miami, spotlights the chef's struggles and achievements. Says Page: "It's all about Brooklyn versus Miami Beach. My fiancée [and show costar Anastasia "Ana" Lavender] has been telling me that people come to South Beach to
Page says his aim is to also create outstanding cuisine. "As a chef, I still have responsibilities to make sure the food is on point. That's my goal."
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Is there a difference between Brooklyn and SoBe diners that Page has noticed? "I never thought in a million years people would be ordering bottles of champagne to pair with their chicken and waffles. That doesn't happen in New York."
Still, the chef says his main goal is to make great food and memorable experiences. "I'm the best at soul food, and people want that. People like to see that chef they saw on TV and taste his food."
Page, who says he often takes more than a thousand photos with fans during Sunday brunch service, is delighted to make his audience happy. "I'm a fan of certain people in life. I like Jimi Hendrix. If he were alive, you bet I'd want to get a picture with him."