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Michael's Genuine Food & Drink's Pastry Chef Amy Kalinowski Dishes About Her New Gig

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It's only been two months since Amy Kalinoswki returned to the Genuine kitchen, and the newly-minted pastry chef is working non-stop.

When Hedy Goldsmith announced her imminent departure as pastry chef at Michael's Genuine Food & Drink (MGFD), it was headline news. A collective groan was heard from Miami's culinary community, which wondered who would take the spot. After all, Goldsmith's desserts and Sunday brunch "sweet" offerings oftentimes shared equal billing with chef/restaurateur Michael Schwartz's savory entrees.

Last week, a successor to the flour-encrusted throne was announced. Amy Kalinowski, who worked at the Design District restaurant with Goldsmith for five years and helped fashion the restaurant's brunch menu, has returned to take her place back in the MGFD kitchen. 

Kalinowski first stint at MGFD started in October 2008, where she worked her way up to pastry sous chef after about a year. The young chef's accomplishments include helping develop the sweets section for Michael's popular brunch menu. "Brunch was something new and different to play around with. I remember getting really excited because Hedy and Michael [Schwartz] wanted brunch to be really fun with classics like pop tarts, red velvet cupcakes and Hedy's childhood treats. Brunch was the most fun for me because it was always something different, and we got to change it every week. It was always a collaboration of the pastry department, brainstorming all together."

She left the restaurant almost exactly five years later to work at The Curious Grape in Virginia, but returned to Miami a few months ago. "I've been back at Michael's as of March." 

Kalinowski says her Michael's homecoming has been easy, "It's like I never left".  She  says that having Goldsmith as mentor prepared her for the position she has today. "Hedy has taught me so much in and out of the kitchen. I will take it all with me. It's all the years I've spent with Hedy and Michael that have shaped me into the pastry chef I am today.

"Hedy always told me that happy people make happy food, and it couldn't be more true. And stepping into the shoes of one of Miami's most beloved and talented culinary figures? "It feels amazing to be Hedy's successor. It's almost surreal. I know I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be. I love Hedy and wish her all the best in Los Angeles."

The young chef has already made her mark on the pastry and dessert sections of the menu, introducing new items, while keeping some favorites. "I was Hedy's sous chef for quite a while so, of course, we have similar styles. I tend to like the classics with a twist. Hedy is really good at thinking outside of the box. I guess you could say my style is a little more simple than Hedy's.

"Of course, there are some beloved staples like the cremoso, which is classic Michael Schwartz. Also MGFD has always had a cookie, candy, and confections board and that's where I started to get creative and find my voice in the kitchen when I first started at Michael's. It's forever evolving, and that will always be on the menu. As of this passing Saturday, the rest of the dessert menu has officially changed. We've been getting great feed back from the staff and guests."

In the end, the chef 's goal is to go forward with Goldsmith's tradition of excellence and enthusiasm. "I want people to be as excited as I am about the desserts that are coming out of our kitchen."

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